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Start out by standing up on the stand up paddle board and holding the paddle with one of your hands about one-third of the way down the shaft of the paddle and one hand on the handle of the paddle.
When you paddle on the left side of the board you hold the paddle with your right hand, and then switch hands for the other side.
Put the blade about one and one-half feet in front of you on the side of the board in the water and then smoothly pull the blade of the paddle through the water.
When the blade reaches a point that is about one foot behind your body then lift it up from the water and put it to the front again and repeat.
You may wish to paddle several times on one side before alternating hands and sides. This will vary depending upon wind conditions, currents, and if you are attempting to turn the stand up paddle board.
An Introduction to Stand Up Paddle Boarding
and some Questions and Answers about Stand Up Paddling
How To Stand Up Paddle Board - An Introduction to the Evolving Sport
The new craze in Stand Up Paddle Boarding began just a few years ago when they started showing up in the water - first just a solo paddler would be seen here and there, paddling along the shore or just dallying in the rivermouth.
Then there were groups of two or three, and a few gung-ho paddlers who would try to paddle over to the next bay, or down the coast. Soon they were at the surf breaks catching waves, and women started appearing often in twos or threes, about ten in the morning when they would normally be at an aerobics or Pilates class.
Soon the kids were doing it with their parents on mini-stand up boards. It became a family activity, and now there were always Stand Up Paddle Boarders at the surfing breaks.
Suddenly there were Stand Up Paddle Boarders entering the outrigger canoe long distance races, and they got their own division.
Meanwhile the gung ho types had moved on to crossing the channels between the Hawaiian Islands, circling whole islands, and riding the biggest waves.
Now the places that used to offer just surfing lessons and surfboard rentals were offering Stand Up Paddle Board rentals and lessons on how to Stand Up Paddle Board.
The tourists were paddling them the length of the shorelines in the bays and then showing up at the surf breaks, often unaware that the big set every half hour would turn the break into victory at sea and they would be washed out of the lineup - boards and paddles bobbing in the surf as they scrambled in the froth to try to find their equipment.
Now it was becoming a full fledged sport, and meanwhile the old time surfers were grumbling and there were even community meetings about making some of the surf breaks off limits to stand up paddle boarders and stand up paddle surfers - this didn’t sit well with the renown surfers who had taken up stand up paddling and usually one or two words by the big kahunas put the kabosh on any sort of Stand Up Paddler banishment.
Certainly the tourists who were showing up at the main point surf breaks were getting some serious grief from the crusty longboarders in the line-up who weren’t shy about sharing their feelings.
It usually went something like, “Get out of here!” and then perhaps a few expletives added at the beginning or end. Sometimes they would even grab their paddle and pull it from their hands.
Usually calm prevailed and things sorted themselves out when the newcomers got the message, but then three more would show up in place of the one who was headed back to shore.
As all of this was happening in the Hawaiian Islands the sport was quickly spreading in California and then across the country and world.
In lakes and rivers of the south, midwest, and northeast the stand up paddle boarders were appearing.
And every time they did three people would see them and think to themselves, hey, that looks like fun, and so the craze continued to grow.
Today Stand Up Paddle Boarding is continuing its rapid rise to prominence as new contests are held, new students learn the sport, and the top Stand Up Paddle Boarders and Stand Up Padddle Surfers continue to push the limits and explore new areas and surf areas and attempt to surf the giant surf breaks of the world on their Stand Up Paddle Boards.
New websites appear, new magazines are devoted the sport, races are held, champions emerge, and the sport fleshes itself out into many areas including the long distance Stand Up Paddlers, the short distance Stand Up Paddle sprinters, the recreational Stand Up Paddling with backpacks and fishing poles, and the Stand Up Paddle Surfers concerned only with catching waves.
Stay tuned as the sport continues its evolution, and meanwhile:
Here are a few questions and answers about How To Stand Up Paddle Board and more about this growing sport.
What is Stand Up Paddling?
Stand Up Paddling, or SUP, is a sport that involves standing up on a large surfboard and propelling it forward using a one-bladed paddle.
What is the difference between Stand Up Paddling and Surfing?
A Stand Up Paddler can catch waves just like a surfer but has the added advantage of already being standing up up on the board. In addition, a paddle allows you to generate speed quicker than a surfer, who can only use his or her own arms to generate speed over the water to catch a wave and ride the wave.
Once you learn how to stand up paddle board you will be able to turn your board around quickly if, for example, you suddenly see an ocean wave and want to catch it and ride it.
What is another advantage of Stand Up Paddle Surfing over regular surfing?
Another advantage of Stand Up Paddling is that you have a higher viewpoint from which to view the oncoming waves and thus can make better decisions on which waves are best to catch.
As you learn how to stand up paddle board you will gain a greater appreciation of the subtleties of the ocean and you will be able to judge the conditions better, particularly when you are near breaking waves and there are open ocean swells.
Can I use a surfboard for Stand Up Paddling?
While a regular surfboard, particularly a longboard, may be used to participate in the sport of Stand Up Paddling, a better option is to use a specially made Stand Up Paddling board that is somewhat bigger and has more flotation and stability. Once you learn how to stand up paddleboard you may be able to use a surfing longboard to stand up paddle.
Do beginners need a special Stand Up Paddling Board?
Beginners may need some time to get used to standing up on a Stand Up Paddle Board, particularly when the water is anything but perfectly calm, or if the conditions are windy. For this reason, beginners may want to use a board that is longer, wider, and thus more stable than a shorter Stand Up Paddle Board.
When can I use a shorter more high performance Stand Up Paddle Board?
Once you learn how to stand up paddle board and gain some experience you can begin to use a shorter Stand Up Paddle Board which will be better if you want to try to ride waves and navigate the Stand Up Board in the breaking waves (surf).
How did the sport of Stand Up Paddling begin?
The popularity of the modern sport of SUP has its origination in the Hawaiian Islands. In the early 1960s, the Beach Boys of Waikiki would stand on their long surfboards and paddle out using the paddles that they normally used with their outrigger canoes that were also common at the time.
This would allow them to keep an eye on their surfing students and also take better pictures of the surfers. At the time this was called “Beach Boy Surfing,” and now it is known as Stand Up Paddle Surfing.”
Is Stand Up Paddling a good form of exercise?
Yes, Stand Up Paddling is considered a very good “core” workout providing exercise to the midsection as well as all throughout the body, and much more than regular surfing when most of the body is laying on the board for most of the time. Stand Up Paddleboarding is also very popular as a cross-training activity for many types of athletes. Learning how to stand up paddle board is an excellent form of exercise and will improve your overall fitness in many ways.
Where is Stand Up Paddling practiced?
All over the world, from the coastlines of California and Hawaii, anywhere that people surf, the lakes in the midwest, and in many other countries. People are learning how to stand up paddle board all over the world.
Who was the first person to bring Stand Up Paddle Surfing to the mainland?
Rich Thomas is generally credited with this when he rode his 11 foot long surfboard in California in the year 2000. Since that time many surfers have began to participate in the sport of Stand Up Paddle Surfing.
How much does a Stand Up Paddle Surfing Board cost?
Used Stand Up Paddle Surfing Boards can sometimes be found for as little as $400, but a new board will likely be at least $650, and as much as $2000 for the high end boards. You will also need to purchase a paddle which may cost at least $100, with some higher end paddles selling for more than $300. Once you learn how to stand up paddle board then you will want to improve your equipment and get a better paddle and also a smaller board, especially if you will be using it to ride waves.
How are Stand Up Paddle Boards made?
Many Stand Up Paddle Boards are made using epoxy resin over a polystyrene foam core. Surfboard style fins in the back help with steering. Once you learn how to stand up paddleboard you may want to get your own custom stand up paddle board made.
How long are Stand Up Paddle Boards?
Most Stand Up Paddle Boards are at least nine feet long, though some are longer than twelve feet. For open ocean paddling the boards tend to be a bit longer while for surfing the waves tend to be shorter. Once you learn how to stand up paddle board you will naturally decide which type of activity you like best and then you can choose your optimal board accordingly.
What are some features of high tech Stand Up Paddle Surfing Boards?
Some of the better boards have concave hulls. Some Stand Up Paddle Boards also have padded decks.
If I learn to how to Stand Up Paddle Board can I paddle into the lineup at surfing breaks and try to surf waves with all the surfers?
Only those who are very experienced should attempt to paddle into a surfing break where there are surfers and to catch waves along with the surfers. In the last few years there have been many Stand Up Paddle Boarders who have begun to paddle into the surfing breaks and catch waves alongside the surfers.
This is known as Stand Up Paddle Surfing and has led to some controversy because surfers have been surfing at these surfing breaks for many years and to suddenly have many Stand Up Paddle Surfers paddling into the waves can cause some consternation to say the least.
To put it bluntly, many surfers are vehemently opposed to having Stand Up PaddleBoarders paddling their boards into the lineup. And some of the these old veteran surfers can be quite vociferous so it is best to use caution and use good judgment.
You should definitely make sure you have gained a great deal of experience at Stand Up Paddling before attempting to go anywhere near surfing waves of any substantial size.
If there are people around there will be an added danger that you will fall off your board when an unexpectedly large wave comes and then your board and your paddle will have the potential to injure other people. Try to find places where there are small waves and no surfers, and practice there until you can improve your skills to the point where you are very confident at Stand Up Paddle Surfing.
Then when you finally do go into the surf breaks stay as far away from the surfers as possible, and make sure you don't endanger anyone. Show respect to those who have spent many years surfing at these spots, and maybe eventually they will accept you since you have gone about it the right way and have improved your skills, and used caution when approaching the surfing waves.
First learn how to stand up paddle board and then practice and practice and some day you will be riding the waves and stand up paddle surfing with the best of them.
Confessions of a Rookie Stand Up Paddle Boarder
When stand up paddle boards started showing up in our local bay everyone was curious.
Of course most of us couldn't afford to go shell out $1000 for a board and there weren't any used ones available at that time. In fact many of the people who did buy one were shelling out well more than $1000 and also paying $200 to $400 for fancy paddles to round out their ensemble.
We were envious to say the least, but in our desperation we were rigging up plumbing PVC onto an old broken outrigger canoe paddle and then trying to go out on our longest longboard which, when determined to be not long enough to keep falling over repeatedly, we descended further into the crawl space to find a beat up half-mildewed old windsurfer board which was summarily hoisted to the beach and given a go. It worked!
Of course to turn it required a large cove and we had to moor the thing in a boat slip! Oh, those were the days! That's how many learned how to stand up paddle board back when.
How To Stand Up Paddle Board
When it comes to learning how to stand up paddle board the most important thing you can do is get out there on the water. It is so very easy that you will be amazed the first time you try stand up paddle boarding.
When you go for the first time make sure that you are on a calm body of water, not in a rough water or a very windy situation as this can make it harder to learn and diminish the overall fun you will have.
Once you learn how to stand up paddle board you will be able to handle these conditions and even enjoy them, but until then find a nice calm area so you can practice your skills.
Another important part of learning to stand up paddle board is to rent or borrow a board that is big enough to balance you without difficulty. A nice long, wide and stable stand up paddle board will make your first SUP paddleboarding experience a pleasant one.
Yet another factor in having a great first experience when learning to stand up paddle board is to make sure that you have paddle that is about five inches taller than you are. By getting the proper sized stand up paddle board paddle you will be able to practice proper SUP paddling techniques and will be able to improve your skills faster than if you have the wrong equipment.
Once you are out on the water take it slow and do not be in a hurry to aggressively hurry across the water. Pace yourself and develop a smooth paddling stroke.
If you start to get tired and feel some muscles twinging, just slow down a bit and relax. These initial discomforts will go away as you settle in for a nice long stand up paddle that will really help you become comfort on the stand up paddle board.
If you need a break, either sit down on the stand up paddle board for a few moments, or even rest on your knees while you continue to paddle. The nice thing about this sport is that you can rest any time you wish, and enjoy the scenery of your environment.
As you begin to develop your stand up paddle boarding skills you can start to practice more difficult maneuvers such as turning the board around quickly or reversing directions.
Once your skills improve you will be ready for a more advance stand up paddle board that will be much easier to turn than a large board, which can be quite unwieldy. As you learn to use a shorter stand up paddle board you will soon be ready to try stand up paddle surfing! Then you can enjoy the experience of stand up paddle boarding and also enjoy riding waves as you become a skilled SUP stand up paddle surfer!