Here at Bluefin, we sure know our stuff when it comes to SUP. And while we think it’s one of the easiest & best watersports in the world (not biased at all…), it can feel a little intimidating if you’ve never tried it before.
But with so many how-to guides out there, it’s difficult to know where to start. This is why we’ve put together our ultimate top 5 tips and techniques to keep things simple – so you can learn how to SUP without the confusion.
Let’s get started!
1. Get the right board
Many newcomers underestimate how important choosing the right SUP is. It can literally make or break your entire experience. If you choose the wrong shape or size, you’ll make things incredibly difficult for yourself.
Height and weight are two things you need to take into account, as well as your paddle boarding ability. If you’ve never set foot on a SUP before and are feeling a little nervous, we’d recommend a model like the Voyage. At 20% wider than most standard iSUPs, it’s perfect for extra balance and stability.
But our ultimate all-rounder is without doubt the Cruise. Available in three lengths to suit virtually all heights (although kids and adults under 5’3 will best suit the Cruise Junior!), the Cruise is a super versatile SUP you won’t outgrow. So even when you’ve perfected your skills and want to be more adventurous, this board will still be your go-to.
2. Always use a leash
While a bit of a no-brainer, we just had to put this in here. Safety should be your no.1 priority no matter your ability, and getting into the habit of using a leash could be life-saving if you get into a sticky situation out on the water.
A leash will ensure you’re always connected to your board. Even if you fall off, your leash keeps you together and prevents your SUP being carried away. Not only will this prevent you from losing your board, but will also stop it from suddenly smashing into you (or other paddlers) in rough waters.
So it’s simple. Always use a leash! And as all our boards (including our most popular Cruise) come with a leash included, there’s no excuse not to be safe.
3. Paddle with your core
It makes total sense to assume you should paddle using your arms. But this isn’t actually the best way. Solely using your arms will cause you to get tired fast, and you won’t be able to paddle with much power.
Instead, you should engage and use your core. Might sound weird but hear us out! Your core muscles are a lot more powerful, and you’ll find it easier to maintain balance. And you’ll also achieve a solid workout too, with this paddle action helping tone and build your abdominal muscles.
But don’t worry – it’s super simple once you get the hang of it. Make sure your hands are shoulder width apart on your paddle shaft, and keep your arms straight with each stroke. This automatically engages your core and allows you to paddle stronger through the water.
4. Learn how to fall the right way
Every paddler falls off their SUP from time to time. Even the pros! So if you’re a beginner and find yourself falling pretty often, don’t beat yourself up. It’s totally normal.
But to make falling as safe as possible, it’s important you learn how to fall off your board correctly. Otherwise you could cause yourself serious injury. You need to fall away from your board instead of onto it. Falling directly on top of a stiff, heavy iSUP is guaranteed to hurt. A lot.
Instead, aim to fall as far away from your board as possible directly into the water. Yes you’ll get soaked, but that’ll cause much less damage than smacking your board. And provided you’re using a leash as you should, you don’t have to worry about losing your SUP to waves and currents.
5. Keep looking ahead
Our last tip is something many beginners struggle with. And we totally get it! It’s almost impossible not to look down at your feet when just starting out.
But doing this will automatically reduce your ability to paddle straight and stay balanced. Not to mention being unable to see where you’re going. Try your best to keep your back straight, legs slightly bent, with your head fully up looking straight ahead.
It might feel unnatural to begin with, but it’ll soon become a habit the more you do it.
They were our top 5 SUP tips and techniques to paddle at your very best. And once you’ve mastered the basics and are feeling a lot more comfortable on your board, you’ll be able to take on more challenging waters and explore to the full!
While these tips are pretty simple to grasp the more you practice, teaching children how to SUP is a little more challenging. For advice on how to paddle with your kids, check out this post for some top tips.