Stand Up Paddle Boarding for Beginners
Paddle boarding continues to increase in popularity given its relative easy and suitability for all ages and fitness levels. There are of course some useful considerations to take into account when you first embark on this journey.
Paddle Boarding for Beginners – Consider:
Budget – Depending on whether you decide to take a very modest approach and first consider a second handpaddle board or move straight to a new board, your budget can literally range from only a few dollars through to several thousand for the high tech racing boards for instance. Whilst it’s all very exciting and new, you’re still a beginner after all and its supposed to be affordable and fun so be somewhat modest in your approach unless your really ready to spoil yourself.
Board Selection – Hard (Rigid) or Inflatable – This will in part come down to what you’re looking to achieve from your boarding experience. If you are looking for an all round flat water leisure paddling experience and not necessarily looking to get into serious boarding, then the inflatable SUPs offer many advantages. They are by their very nature portable, lightweight, easily transportable, offer a considerable amount of durability and importantly they also offer greater injury prevention. If you are though looking to get into SUP surfing or racing then the hard or rigid boards do offer greater technical benefits.Still considering what type of board to go for.
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You – (Age, Size, Height, Weight…) – it perhaps goes without saying, but YOU as an individual will also govern the type of board, equipment and nature of boarding experience that will likely best suit you. If you’re of a shorter and morepetite statue then selecting a smaller (length) and lighter board would make obvious sense. If however your at the other end of the spectrum and are much taller and heavier, then its equally important that you make sure that the board can also cater for your dimensions.
There is typically a correlation between the length and width of a board relative to the size of the paddler. A typical board length for general use is 10-11 feet (3.2 metres) with a width of 32-34 inches (82 cm). There are variations in board depths particularly when it comes to the inflatable v hard boards inflatable being deeper (thicker) thus catering for more general flat water use.
Paddle boards can hold on average 200-300 pounds (90-136 kg) although there is an availability of boards that cater for weights up to 500 pounds (227kg) so the range is quite broad. Each board will be rated by the manufacturer by weight or volume of both.
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Paddles – It might sound simple, but having the best board and equipment won’t get you too far unless youhave a paddle. As is the case with most things, paddles vary greatly in terms of quality and price so again please take this into account.
Matching your paddle as much as is possible with your body and paddling style will make for a far better paddling experience. Too long and the paddle becomes difficult and inefficient. Too short and you will be leaning over too far so will struggle with your balance.
Fixed length or non-adjustable paddles tend to be lighter and stiffer making for a smoother stroke. Adjustable paddles by their very nature can be adjusted to suit various lengths making them quite versatile. You can experiment to see what length best suits you depending on what style of paddling you are doing. They can also be shared and used by your family and friends so can cater for various heights.
There is quite a bit of technology and expense that goes into paddle design be it the material (aluminum, fiberglass, wood, carbon fiber) or the blade size, shape and offset for instance so as you grow in experience investing and upgrading your paddle will likely make sense.
Accessories – As a beginner in any water sport, safety is always paramount and should be your first consideration so please please consider the use of a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) particularly for children or those that are not strong swimmers. Accidents do happen of course and the consequences can be devastating. Please use your common sense.
There are a whole host of accessories which will certainly make your paddle boarding experience more enjoyable. These include: carrying or storage slings, waterproof bags and cases (for phones and personal effects), pumps (both rechargeable electric and manual hand pumps), deck bags and nets, safety locks, mini anchors, attachable seats and much more. You can even buy deck traction pads for your 4 legged best friend. Why not!!
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Lessons – Are a great way to get into any new sport even if your just picking up a few tips or skills browsing theinternet or on YouTube. Many of the larger boarding and surf shops will offer lessons for varying skill levels or they can certainly point you in the right direction. Lessons typically include the boards and all equipment so if your not sure if you even want to get into boarding and commit the $, then this might be a great place to start.
Whilst not exhaustive, hopefully you found the above post useful and informative. As one of the fastest growing water sports globally, its really a must try.
As always we would love to hear from you so please feel free to leave your comments or feedback below and we will get back o you.
Until then, stay safe and get wet…