How to Stand Up Paddle board: A Beginner’s Guide of SUP

So, you’ve seen those serene images of people gliding across the water on a stand up paddle board (SUP) and thought, “I want to try that!” Well, you’re in luck because learning how to stand up paddle board is not only exhilarating but also surprisingly accessible for all skill levels. Whether you’re seeking a leisurely cruise along calm waters or a full-body workout, SUP offers it all. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into everything you need to know to get started and master the art of stand-up paddle boarding.

Understanding the Basics of Stand Up Paddle Board

Before we dive into the practicalities, let’s familiarize ourselves with the fundamentals of stand up paddle board. Essentially, SUP involves standing upright on a large board while using a paddle to propel yourself through the water. Sounds simple, right? Well, it is, but like any new activity, there are some basic learning techniques to grasp before you can glide across the water effortlessly.

Carrying Your Paddle board

  1. Lift with Your Legs: Bend your knees and lift the board by its center handle.
  2. Balance the Weight: Keep the board balanced as you carry it to the water.

Launching Your Paddle board

  1. Start in Shallow Water: Begin in knee-deep water to prevent damage to your fin.
  2. Climb On: Kneel in the center of the board, with your hands on either side for stability.

Standing Up

  1. Find Your Balance: Start on your knees, then place one foot at a time where your knees were.
  2. Slowly Stand Up: Keep your knees slightly bent and your core engaged for balance.

Paddling Techniques

Forward Stroke

  1. Grip the Paddle: One hand on the top handle and the other about halfway down the shaft.
  2. Engage Your Core: Use your core muscles to power the stroke, not just your arms.
  3. Reach Forward: Plant the paddle in the water ahead of you and pull it back alongside the board.

Turning the Board

  1. Sweep Stroke: Extend the paddle out to the side and make a wide, sweeping motion.
  2. Back Paddle: Place the paddle behind you and push forward to turn the board in the opposite direction.


To stop, perform a back paddle on both sides of the board.

Choosing the Right Stand Up Paddle Board

First things first, you’ll need the right equipment. When it comes to selecting a stand up paddle board, there are a few key factors to consider:

  • Board Type: SUP boards come in various shapes and sizes, each designed for different purposes. For beginners, a wider, more stable board is recommended.
  • Board Length: Longer boards are typically faster and more stable, making them ideal for beginners.
  • Board Material: SUP boards are commonly made from epoxy or inflatable materials. Inflatable boards are convenient for storage and transportation.

Essential Gear for Stand Up Paddle Boarding

In addition to your board, there are a few essential pieces of gear you’ll need before hitting the water:

  • Paddle: Choose a paddle that is the right length for your height, with a comfortable grip and lightweight design.
  • Personal Flotation Device (PFD): Safety first! Always wear a PFD when stand-up paddle boarding, especially in open water.
  • Proper Attire: Dress appropriately for the weather conditions, opting for quick-drying clothing and sun protection.

Mastering the Stand Up Paddle Boarding Techniques

Now that you’re equipped with the necessary gear, it’s time to hit the water and master some basic techniques:

  • Paddling Stance: Start by kneeling on the board, then slowly stand up, placing your feet shoulder-width apart for stability.
  • Grip and Stroke: Hold the paddle with one hand on the top handle and the other hand on the shaft. Use your core muscles to power your strokes and maintain balance.
  • Turning: To turn your board, use a sweeping motion with your paddle on the opposite side of the direction you want to go.

Safety Tips for Stand Up Paddle Boarding

While stand-up paddle boarding is a relatively safe activity, it’s essential to prioritize safety at all times:

  • Check the Weather: Avoid paddling in strong winds or adverse weather conditions.
  • Stay Hydrated: Bring plenty of water with you, especially on hot days.
  • Be Mindful of Your Surroundings: Keep an eye out for other watercraft, swimmers, and obstacles in the water.
  • Know Your Limits: Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of your paddling sessions as your skill and confidence grow.


Stand Up Paddle boarding is an accessible and enjoyable sport that offers countless benefits. By choosing the right equipment, learning basic techniques, and practicing safety, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a confident paddleboarder. So grab your board, hit the water, and enjoy the ride!

For more information, explore our other Paddleboarding Blogs, including our Paddleboarding 101 guide, best touring paddle board packing list, and the health benefits of paddleboarding. Discover the beauty of Espíritu Santo Island and Balandra Beach, feel the rhythm of the waves beneath you, and let paddleboarding take you on an unforgettable journey of adventure and exploration. We hope they are useful and we meet out on the water soon!