You have a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) and want to hit the water as soon as possible, but you also don’t want to be pegged as a rookie. Better yet, you don’t want to annoy anyone else on the water by doing the wrong thing. So if you want to avoid the most common rookie mistakes, this post details what you need to know before you hit the water for the first time.
Biggest SUP Rookie Mistakes to Avoid
While you’re eager to get out on the water, it helps to know a few things first to help keep you safe and keep you paddling for a long time. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have a few insider tips that make you look like you’ve been using a SUP for a while. Before you start paddling, follow these tips:
- Don’t go out too far at first. You know that using your stand-up board offers a great total body workout, and whether you’re already in great shape or looking to shed a few pounds, you need to know your limits. When you head out for the water, avoid going out too far. Remember that however far you paddle out, you have to paddle back that same distance.
You may be eager to keep going, especially if you’re getting the technique down or feel like you’re holding back more experienced people who want to venture out farther on their boards, but you can tire quickly and unexpectedly while new to paddleboarding. So pick a point or time before you begin that you plan to turn around and head back. Of course, you can always turn back sooner if you think it’s necessary. Just have a plan before you hit the water and follow it.
- Use your paddle properly. You can be pegged a rookie pretty quickly if you’re paddling incorrectly. First, be sure you’re holding your blade (paddle) in the right direction. Your Hydrus blade has a logo on it, and the logo should be facing forward.
When you’re actually paddling, you may be focused so much on staying balanced that you stand stick straight and paddle with your blade at an angle to the water. However, keeping your blade perpendicular to the board offers you the best control and the most productive stroke. You save your shoulders and back a lot of stress, too. After all, you don’t want to get injured when you’re just starting out.
- Keep your distance. The SUP community is quite welcoming, but that doesn’t mean that other boarders want you on top of them. Everyone has their own mindset while out on the water on their SUP. Some may want to do yoga or a fierce workout, some may want to quietly explore, and others may be trying to do tricks and hit the waves hard.
Regardless of what your goals are on the water, give other boarders their space. Give everyone the courtesy of having room to move and follow their own paths. Everyone needs room to practice, fall, and do their own thing safely without hitting someone else’s board.
- Understand your location. When start using your SUP, you’re likely eager to try it everywhere, especially if you have an inflatable SUP board that can easily travel with you. However, understand the differences in your location. Paddling on a lake is different than paddling on the ocean, and paddling on a small lake can be different than being on a large lake.
Conditions from surf to current can be different not only in each location but also in different areas of that location. A protected cove off the ocean offers fewer waves, if any, compared to the open ocean, and conditions heading out could be much different than conditions when you return.
- Look forward, not at your feet. Balancing and your fear of falling can force you to look like a beginner and do things that can actually make you fall. So take a deep breath, be confident, and stop looking at your feet. Keep your head up, looking at the horizon, and keep your body weight over your toes. For the sake of stability and balance—and to look like you’ve been doing this for a while—don’t fall into the temptation of staring at your toes. Before you know it, your body weight will rock back and you may end up in the water before you intended.
- Fall the right way. Just like riding a bike, learning to fall properly helps you fall safely—because you inevitably will fall—and reduce your risk of injury. Although an inflatable SUP board may not hurt as badly as a solid one if you hit it when you fall, hitting your board may throw you off and cause you to fall in an odd way into the water. So when you fall, fall away from your board. As long as you’re leashed to your board, you don’t have to worry about your board running away from you.
Staying Loose on Your SUP
When you think of safety, you don’t necessarily equate that with fun, but staying safe on your SUP ensures you keep riding it for a long time, and staying loose is your first defense. Your fear of falling in or going off balance often keeps you stiff and unstable. Staying loose, looking forward, and paddling properly help you to use the right muscles while you’re on your board, and being comfortable with the fact that you will fall in at some point can help you relax.
If you’re looking for the best inflatable SUP and accessories, Hydrus offers a popular array of paddleboards and accessories for the beginner to the advanced. You can find all you need to make your paddleboarding adventure a success by checking out what Hydrus has to offer.