The Basics of Stand-Up Paddleboarding: Tips to Get You Started

12 tips to help you ace stand-up paddleboarding on your first try

Stand-up paddleboarding, or SUP as it's often called, has taken the world of outdoor recreation by storm. The sport that was totally obscure just a few short years ago has exploded into the fastest growing water sport in the country.

Today, the sport rules canals, lakes and oceans and if you haven’t tried it yet, chances are you’ve heard about it. Now, in the height of summer, it seems there’s no better time to try it for yourself. Stand-up paddling is actually fairly easy to learn, making it accessible to just about anyone and enjoyable for most people too. Many surf and water sports shops now rent boards, paddles and life jackets, in addition to teaching classes and guiding trips.

It’s not hard to find a place to rent gear and get out on the water—many places rent gear right on the beach—it’s just a matter of deciding to try it. While you may want to take a quick lesson, SUP is one of the few sports you can usually learn through trial and error, as long as you’re in a safe environment.

If you’re ready to get going take a look at our 12 tips, rent some gear and start enjoying a whole new way to get on the water.

Know Your Gear

For your first time out on the water you’ll need a stand-up paddleboard, a paddle, a PFD (personal flotation device) and a leash. There’s plenty of gear you can add, like lights, dry bags and so on, but those items are the must-haves. If you’re trying stand-up paddling for the first time, you’ll probably want to rent the gear.

Choose a Stable Board

The rising popularity of this sport has prompted companies to design boards in lots of different shapes and sizes. The most important thing to remember as a beginner, though, is that wider boards will be more stable in the water. For your first SUP adventure, pick a long and wide board—look for boards that are more than 11 feet tall and more than 30 inches wide.

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