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News / Sports / Outdoors

6 tips for a successful day of paddleboarding

By Piper Russell, The Gazette
Published: June 29, 2024, 5:05am

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Paddleboarding has become all the rage over recent years, offering a relaxing opportunity to enjoy water destinations around the state and elsewhere. As with any outdoor recreation adventure, however, proper preparation and gear is crucial to safety.

Here are six tips that will help you have a good day while stand-up paddleboarding:

1. Choose a good starting place

Start out your paddleboarding experience on an small and calm lake or pond, rather than fast-moving river. And if possible, choose to go on a sunny day with little to no wind.

2. Have the proper gear

As always, make sure you’re prepared with the proper gear. For paddleboarding, this includes the paddle, a personal flotation device (PFD) and a leash. It’s also important to make sure you’ve got the right type of paddleboard for your paddleboarding style — wider boards tend to be more stable but can be less agile. The type of board you get is up to you.

3. Practice your technique

To first stand up on the paddleboard, hold the board by the edges and climb onto the board so you’re in a kneeling position, just behind the center of the board. Keep holding onto the sides of the board while you move your feet (one at a time) to where your knees were. Then slowly stand up. It’s also worth noting that a perk of paddleboarding is that sitting down on the board is perfectly acceptable. Don’t feel the need to always be standing up.

4. Maintain your balance

Paddleboards can be tricky to balance on, but there are ways to avoid falling off. Keep your feet parallel, hip-width distance apart, and centered between the edges of the board. You should also keep your toes pointed forward, knees slightly bent, and your back straight. Also look ahead, not at your feet.

5. Hold the paddle correctly

According to REI, the paddle’s blade should angle forward from the shaft toward the nose of the board. You should also keep a light grip with one hand on the T-grip and the other on the shaft. Don’t keep your hands too close together.

6. Learn your strokes

For a basic forward stroke, plant the paddle in the water about two feet forward and push the blade under surface. Then move the paddle back to your ankle and out of the water. The reverse stroke is basically the opposite of the forward, and will allow you to slow down, stop and turn. It also helps to think about it as pulling the board past your paddle. To go in a straight line, alternate paddling on each side of the board.

The sweep stroke is also useful for turning. To do the sweep stroke, you’ll move the paddle away from the board to make an arcing motion from the nose of the board to the tail.