I’ve had a couple of emails from guys n girls asking for advice on how to get started with SUP, so I decided to list my 5cents (or 8cents…) worth of tips:
1. The Right Board
Foremost is getting the right board for you. Will you be SUP surfing or flat water / open ocean paddling? Each discipline has its own type of board and within those types a whole host of different variations. Also consider the board volume and rider weight. Ask the guys at your local SUP store or do the search online. Get a board that matches your skill level, there is no point and getting a top of the range board but then you can’t master it.
2. Flat Water 1st
If you’ve never touched a SUP before, try flat water 1st. Go to a calm piece of water i.e lake, dam, harbour and try it there. Gain confidence, get the feel of the board and experience the sensation of being on the water.
Practice, practice, practice – do I need to say more. That is the only way to do it. Practice getting up, paddling,moving around on the board, turning and steering. Get comfortable.
4. Be Prepared
Chances are you’ll get wet, wear a bathing suit, wet suit or anything suitable. There will be enough things to concentrate on, you won’t want to be distracted by worrying about getting your clothes wet. Wear sunscreen.
5. Safety 1st.
Always wear a leash. Nature is unpredictable, if the winds pick up unexpectedly the last thing you want to do is get separated from your board (if you fall off) and watch it being blown away downwind from you. Believe me this happens so quickly and then you could be in for a long swim.
6. Use firm Paddle strokes.
SUP is about paddling, so right form the start get into a habit of perfecting your paddle stroke. A good paddle stroke will help you to paddle in any condition or any wind direction. Extended your arms and engage your core to pull you along the rail of the board. End the stroke at out at your feet i.e make sure not to pull the paddle all the way to the tail of the board – that will actually slow you down.
7. Look Up.
As with everything else in life – keep your head up… Look at the horizon, this helps with balance and stability.
8. Have Fun.
This is why we do this, right! No matter what the conditions, the aim is to have fun. So just DO IT.