How Do You Stand Up on a Paddleboard (SUP)?
There are lots of new paddle boarders out on the waters around Hong Kong this summer! Here are a few tips to get you started.
Choose a Wider Board
There’s a huge variety of SUP boards on the market. But as a beginner and new paddler we suggest that you stick to a simple all round board with plenty of volume. This is a bigger and wider board, which will give you lots of buoyancy and a stable platform to learn basic techniques. Just like a starter car, it won’t be the fastest or sexiest on the block. But it is the best choice to learn on. We also recommend that your board comes with a leg leash. This keeps the board attached to you when you fall in the water, so you can climb back onto your board quickly and safely.
Stand in the Centre of the Board
Everyone knows that a stable building starts with strong foundations. And it’s the same with SUP. If your feet are in the wrong place, you are going to struggle with your balance. As a beginner, stand with your feet hip width apart and aligned with the centre of the board. There is almost always a carrying handle, strap or cutout in the centre of beginner boards, so use this as your reference point. Align the carrying handle in the middle of your feet and you should have a stable base to stand from.
The first piece of advice we give to all our students when they first start balancing on their board is to look up at the horizon. While it can be tempting to look down at your feet when you first learn, it’s much easier to balance when you are looking forward into the distance. This means that as soon as you push yourself onto your feet, switch your gaze forward and out rather than down.
Bend Your Knees and Hinge at the Hips
The second piece of advice we give to students when they stand is to keep their knees slightly bent. Your knees act as natural shock absorbers and help you ride out the little bumps and waves on top of the water. Hinging at the hips will help bring you into a more stable stance with a slightly lower centre of gravity and your weight slightly forward. It’s much easier to catch yourself from falling in this stance than when standing bolt upright.
Look Out for Wind and Waves
Choose a calm day to learn to SUP, especially when you are new to the sport. This is because wind and waves can rock your board up and down and side to side, and make it hard to balance and control. But if you’re out on the water and you see some big waves coming towards you, turning the nose of your board into them can help you ride them out.
These are just a couple of tips to help you enjoy your time out on the water. As qualified SUP instructors, we have a ton of other advice, drills, and techniques that we can share to get you out on the water. At Island Paddle HK, we’ve coached tons of people new to the sport, and we run SUP classes and SUP yoga classes based out of our studio in Stanley, Hong Kong. Please feel free to get in touch with us at [email protected] or +852 6689 6270 to learn more.