Paddle boarding is an excellent warm-weather activity. It gives you a chance to spend time in the sun, enjoy the water, and get some exercise. However, you shouldn’t go out on the water without any preparation. Like with all new hobbies, it’s important to do some research first. Here are four tips for beginner paddle boarders:
1. Use the right equipment.
For your first-time paddle boarding, you should choose a wide board, which will offer more stability than a narrower one. The paddle should be tall enough to reach your wrist when you stand in front of it and raise your arm over your head. All paddle boarders need a leash, too. If you fall off, the leash will keep the board attached to you, which is vital in windy weather conditions.
You should always have a personal flotation device with you, especially if you’re a beginner. Since you’ll be out in the sun, sunscreen and protective clothing are essential.
2. Learn the proper technique.
You might feel nervous or unstable your first-time paddle boarding, but you’ll adjust to it quickly. The best way to get comfortable with stand-up paddle boarding is to practice the right technique from the very beginning. To stay balanced, place your feet parallel to each other at hip-width distance, and bend your knees slightly. It can be tempting to stare down at your feet or at the water, but your gaze should be on the horizon.
The blade should slope away from you and toward the nose of the paddle board. When you paddle on the left side of the board, your right hand should be on top of the T-grip, and your left hand should be on top when you paddle on the right. With each stroke, the entire blade should be submerged in the water. Twist from your torso, keep your arms straight, and push down on the paddle with your top hand.
3. Wait for the right conditions.
The first time you try paddle boarding, you should not go out on the river on a windy day. Even the most experienced paddle boarders can lose their balance in the waves, so you should wait for a calm day. It’s usually better for first-timers to try paddle boarding on a lake or river instead of the ocean, too. You should always look up the weather conditions before you go, and you should reschedule rather than risking your safety if the weather looks unfavorable.
4. Prepare to fall.
At some point, you’ll probably fall in the water. Everyone falls occasionally while paddle boarding, and it’s nothing to worry about if you do it safely. When you feel that you’re losing your balance, aim to the side. This way, you’ll fall in the water and not onto your board. To get back onto your board, grab the handle with one hand, and let your legs float up behind you. Then, pull on the handle while kicking your legs to slide onto the board.
After a little practice, you’ll start to feel much more comfortable. Paddle boarding may even become a favorite summertime hobby. As long as you stay safe, use the right equipment, and paddle with the proper technique, you should have a great experience.