6 tips every beginner stand-up paddle boarder needs to know

Do these and before you know it, you'll be paddle boarding like a pro!

Two people paddle boarding
(Image credit: Getty)

May is Outdoor Month, and the weather couldn’t have been timed more perfectly for keen stand-up paddle boarders. But if it’s your first time hitting the water before you grab your beginner paddle board, it’s important you’re aware of a few safety measures, tips and tricks first that will help you on your way to paddle board like a pro — and we’ve got just that.

We’re not surprised SUP is still massively growing in popularity as not only are we aware of the benefits being in the outdoors and blue spaces have on our mental well-being, but it’s also a fun social and solo activity. Not forgetting, it also provides a great, low-impact full-body workout and helps strengthen those core muscles.

#1: Do a weather check prior and on the day

This is important with any water sport, as well as water conditions. If the weather is too windy then the chances are the water will be more choppy and you’ll be battling against the wind and waves to stay upright. Check the wind speed online or via a weather app on your phone. Winds below 10mph are good for beginners, because they’re more like breezes.

#2: Don’t look at your feet

Although this may be tempting to see where your feet are placed and you think it help stabilise you, it will in fact do the complete opposite — you’ll just be wobbling all over the place. You want to keep your head up, like a tightrope walker, as it will help you to stay balanced.

person stand-up paddle boarding

(Image credit: Getty)

#3: Paddle in plenty of space

As a beginner this will just make your overall experience and getting to grips with the paddle boarding technique a lot easier. Plus, you then don’t have to worry about potentially knocking into anyone.

#4: Don’t panic if you fall

It can be completely unavoidable at times and even pro stand-up paddle boarders still fall off of their boards. It doesn’t mean you suck at paddle boarding, it simply means you’re learning. Just laugh it off, get back up on the board and try again.

#5: Try and avoid waves

We know this may seem obvious to beginners, but we also know there will be some thrill-seekers out there who just won’t be able to help themselves. The best way to begin your SUP journey is in calm waters, as it will be easier to stand and get the hang of the technique.

#6: Wear a personal flotation device

You want something like a life jacket or an inflatable belt pack. Plus, all SUPs come with a safety leash that attaches around your ankle, so your board always remains close to you if you fall. Both could save your life if an emergency situation occurs.

If you've already got your paddle board sorted, or you're hiring one for the day, then you may want to invest in a wetsuit and some water shoes, especially if it's something you want to start doing more often, as continuously hiring them can become expensive. If you don't already own a paddle board, then an inflatable paddle board is a good option to consider, as they're very portable, so you can easily take it with you when you go away.

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.