How to Get on a Paddleboard: The Basics

How to Get on a Paddleboard

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Paddleboarding is one of the newest and healthiest sports fads today. A pleasing combination of kayaking and surfing, this new sport is fast becoming a worldwide favorite for people of all ages. Offering an incredible full body workout while embracing the peace and serenity of your surrounding waters, whether ocean, lakes, rivers, or ponds, makes paddleboarding one of the most effective workout routines today. The sport can be enjoyed by people of all ages, and is easily mastered in just a few simple sessions.

That being said, we want to focus on one of the most crucial parts of paddleboarding: how to get on a paddleboard! But first, let’s discuss the gear.

Choose the Perfect Paddle Board, Paddle, and Leash

Paddlesboards are available in all shapes and sizes, and can accommodate people of all heights and weights. For the first time user, it is best to start out with a paddleboard that is wide, long, and thick, which will afford you the stability needed while in your learning stages. Once you have become comfortable with the technique, and even master the sport, you can then move on to smaller more challenging paddleboards.

In addition to the proper paddleboard, individuals must be careful to select the right paddle for their specific size that is also fashioned toward the body of water you will be paddling on during your learning stages. Finally, it is every bit as important to choose the correct leash, typically one that is near to the same size as your paddleboard, to keep yourself attached to your board at all times.

As is the case anytime you are on large bodies of water, you want to either wear, or have close by, a personal floatation device should an emergency present itself, and don yourself in a wet suit for safety, since the odds are you will probably fall more than once.

Bonus Video: SUP Basics!

How to Get On A Paddleboard

Once you have all your gear in place, and have selected the body of water you will be paddling on, preferably calm flat waters if you are a beginner, the time is now to grab onto your paddle and mount that paddleboard. Mounting your paddleboard involves a rather simple and practical technique. The steps to take for mounting your board are as follows:

1. Walk out into your body of water until you are about knee deep. Maneuver your board out into the body of water until the fin is not touching the water’s floor;

2. Place your paddle across your board, toward the nose of the board.

3. Face forward and begin in the kneeling position atop the board. Keeping your knees comfortably spread apart, engage in a series of quick strokes on each side of the board until you feel balanced;

4. Once you are feeling comfortable with this, place both hands on the shaft of your paddle, with your hands directly in front of your knees. Press your fingers with one hand onto the deck, and bring the other foot up slowly, replacing it where your knee originally was located. Repeat this very procedure on the other side, slowly raising your body from the kneeling, to the squatting, to the standing position, bringing your paddle up with you to the full upright position.

5. When you are in the full upright position, and feeling “confident,” you can then utilize your toes to place and grip your feet in an appropriate and comfortable position. Be sure that your feet are about shoulder width apart from one another.

6. Once you have situated your hands, feet and toes, bend your knees slightly, and confirm that your body core is centered over the board.

7. Now place your paddle into the water with the bent part of your paddle facing forward, and begin paddling slowly from side to side. With the paddle in the water, and engaging in small slow strokes to start, you will feel a sense of balance and stability. Slowly increase your strokes as you increase your own comfort level, until you find yourself immersed in one of the most enjoyable, yet healthy workout routines ever. Continue with these steady, forward strokes keeping your body aligned properly and your mind focused.

A Full Rundown!

Our friends at Tower Paddleboards put together a great, comprehensive infograpic. Let’s check it out!

how to get on a paddleboard.
Courtesy of Tower Paddleboards


Like any sport, practice makes perfect. It is important to purchase the appropriate style and size of paddleboard gear in your efforts to learn and master this exciting new sport. Practice will indeed help you to perfect your skills, keeping in mind that it is important to practice falling off and remounting your paddleboard as well, since the odds are that you will find yourself in need of these special skills from time to time.

Always remember that being patient, attentive, and focused, is every bit as important as being balanced and physically capable of paddle stroking. Once you have acquainted yourself with these simple paddleboarding techniques, you are sure to find yourself engaged in the delightful and healthy new sport of paddleboarding, and are sure to be the envy of all your family and friends!



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