Our Friends over at Fringe Pursuits wrote this great paddle board beginners blog, thought we'd share it with you. Check out this one on the Best Inflatable boards for SUP yoga
7 Mistakes Beginner Paddle Boarders Should Avoid
Did you know that only a quarter of adults over the age of 25 practice sport compared to nearly three out of four kids? Lack of time, little opportunity and bad health are all cited as common reasons why adults give up physical activity, but training can also have a big impact on how long a person sticks with a sport.
Stand up paddle boarding isn’t as easy as it looks. Starting out with a few SUP classes is always a good idea, but there are still some common mistakes made by most beginners.
Let’s start with seven of the most common:
1. Using the wrong equipment
These days, inflatable SUP board manufacturers put time, effort and money into designing boards to suit different sizes, weights and abilities. Choose wisely and you could find yourself cutting through the water in no time. However, buy a board that’s too small and you’ll keep getting wet, or choose equipment that’s to big and you’ll find it too awkward and heavy to manoeuvre in the water.
2. Holding the paddle incorrectly
You’ll notice that the blade of your paddle is slightly angled. The temptation is to use this with the blade angled towards the back of your board, but this is wrong. Instead, you should angle the paddle towards the front of your board. This way, all your power will travel down the length of the paddle to press against the water rather than trying to lift it upwards.
3. Paddling at an angle
Another common mistake comes in with how to place the paddle in the water. Many rookies hold the paddle angled out towards the side, with the blade far out from the edge of the board. If you do this, not only will your paddling seem heavy and ineffective, but you’ll also cause considerable shoulder strain. Try to keep your top arm (the arm holding the grip at the end of the paddle) straight at all times, driving the paddle vertically into the water.
4. Only using the arms
Many newcomers to stand up paddle boarding think that a good technique comes from having strong arms, but actually most of the power comes from the body. Use your torso to pull against the weight of the water, and let your balance come from your core rather than your legs. Use your whole body and you’ll end up with a great set of abs, all while developing strong, efficient strokes.
5. Looking down
Many people who are new to SUPing (good resource for SUP for surf beginners) like to look down at their feet to get a sense of stability, but this has the opposite effect. Look down, and your body will follow suit as your center of gravity changes. Unfortunately, if you lose your balance and fall while stand up paddle boarding, there’s only one possible outcome: landing with a splash.
6. Going to crowded places
While a busy body of water is a great indication that the conditions are perfect for paddle boarding, it’s not an ideal situation for beginners. Too many other people on the water means a high likelihood of bumping into someone else. Be respectful of others by finding yourself some clear space to practice.
7. Paddling against the wind
It might seem like a good idea to start with a tail wind, avoiding any undue exertion while you’re getting used to the SUP technique, but after a day’s paddling you’ll regret making this decision. Start by paddling into a headwind, so if you tire towards the end of the day, you can let the wind float you home again gently.
It’s normal to make mistakes: that’s how you learn and improve. With the right inflatable SUP board, some good training and our handy pointers, you can bypass the most common beginners’ SUP mistakes, resulting in a new-found, long-lasting passion for the sport.