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How to get started with Standup Paddle Boarding (SUP)

How to get started with Standup Paddle Boarding (SUP)

These constructions have different shaft shapes, handles, and blades. All in all, choose a paddle that is 6-10 inches above your height. 

SUP Leash
This helps you attach the paddle board to your calf or strap using the Velcro strap. The general rule when it comes to SUP leash is to make sure it isn’t longer than your board. This can help you a lot in case of a fall.

PFD (Personal Floatation Device)
Wearing a paddle board life vest that’s USCG approved is very important if you plan to use your SUP beyond the set limits for paddling, surfing, or any other recreational use. Also, take your time to learn more about the Life Vest Safety Laws’ before setting out on your adventure.

SUP Board Bags
In order to properly enjoy your watersport, you need to properly store and transport your SUP board and this’s where a SUP board bag comes in handy. Storing your board in this bag can also greatly add to your SUP board’s life.

What are the types of SUPs?
Generally, SUPs come in different shapes and sizes with the most common type being the hard paddle board or epoxy paddle board. With this type, the EPS foam core is wrapped using a fiberglass and the board has fins for easy movement on the water. 

All said and done, a beginner should go for a longer, wider, and thicker board which offers the greatest stability. As you gain experience, progresses to a smaller SUP. That said, here are the different types of paddle boards you can consider.

1. All round SUPs
This’s the most common of all the paddle board types and is perfect for beginners. They can be used to paddle on all conditions ranging from ocean waves to calm lakes. Also, they’re the most versatile, since they’re good for different SUP activities such as surfing, yoga, fishing, and touring.

2. Inflatable SUPs
These boards are the hottest thing on the SUP market right now. They’re also perfect for beginners. This aside, they’re very easy to store and travel around with since they can be easily rolled up to a sleeping bag’s size and fit inside any car. In addition, they’re also very durable.

3. Yoga SUPs
As a beginner, you can use this board for recreational purposes although it should mainly be used by yoga enthusiasts. Its expansive deck allows you more room to comfortably practice yoga. They’re also more stable compared to most SUPs.

4. Fishing SUPs
Just like the yoga SUPs, it also has a wider deck for your fishing gear and is a perfect fit for beginners. Some might include Scott Mount accessories like bait trays, fishing rod holders, etc.

5. Racing SUPs
Just as their name suggests, this stand up paddle boards are tailor-made for water racing enthusiasts. In fact, they are the longest type of boards which helps in glide efficiency and generating speed. However, they’re a bit challenging for beginners to use.

6. Surf SUPs
Finally, there’s the surf SUPs which are perfect for surfing ocean waves because they’re very maneuverable and responsive. However, they’re the least stable, hence challenging for beginners to use. 
There you have it! These are the main types of SUPs that you should know about before purchasing or renting one that suits your needs.

So how do you get started?
It’s always advisable to start your stand up paddle boarding adventure in calm and flat water along with a nice, wide board. If you can get a 30-inch board, you’re good to go. Make sure it’s comfortable and stable when you stand up. Just follow these steps to start out:

• After getting the board out on the water, ensure that the fin isn’t hitting the ocean/lake/river’s bottom
• Use the kneeling position as your starting point and then take a few strokes while on your knees
• Now you should slowly stand up using one foot at a go while staying on the board’s middle. Also, the stringer and your feet should be parallel to each other
• Keep your knees slightly bent forward and the core should be centered over the board
• Always remember that falling off isn’t uncommon, therefore just hop back up and keep on trying. For most beginners, wearing a thin wetsuit is highly recommended to avoid getting cold easily.

SUP Strokes

Now this is when the real fun starts. For a beginner, you should learn these 3 basic strokes:

Forward stroke: choose your favorite side to paddle the shaft and propel your board forward. Plant the paddle forward (at least 2 feet) in the water and them steadily move it back through the water.
Reverse stroke: slow down, and then completely stop before turning your board’s direction. Alternatively, plant your paddle in the water close to the board’s tail behind you and move it just like with the forward stroke. 

Sweep stroke: sweep stroke is very essential when turning your paddle board while moving or standing still. Whatever side (left/right) you’re paddling on, rotate your shoulders until the shoulder on that side comes forward. Keep in mind that sweep stroke done on the right will turn your board on the left.

All in all, before heading out to paddle for the first time, always choose a small, calm water body such as a lake or pond. This is because they’re free of many obstacles like buoys and boats. Other things to consider when paddle boarding are such as a sandy beach for easy SUP launching, sunny day with no wind, and if possible go with a friend to watch over each other. Before you realize it, you’ll be a SUP pro.

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