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A Beginners’ Guide to Stand Up Paddle Boarding

What is SUP?

Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is a relatively new competitor sport with deep roots in Hawaiian culture. It involves using a board, fairly similar to a surfboard, as a platform to stand on and an oar to propel yourself through the water.

The sport was made popular by Laird Hamilton in 2004 and is suitable for people who have little to no experience with water sports – however, users should be strong and confident swimmers.

Beginners should try before they buy to make sure that SUP is right for them. If you’re interested in the sport but not 100% convinced, be sure to go to your nearest surf shop to take a lesson and figure out if you enjoy it.

There are many ways to paddleboard, so deciding on the right paddleboard is crucial. Some boards are better for cruising, some are built for yoga or fishing, and some are wide enough that you can paddle with your child or dog on the board (but remember to use life jackets!). Others are smaller or sleeker in design and are meant to ensure that you can surf back in to shore with ease. Use this blog to find the best stand up paddle board for beginners.

Choosing the best inflatable SUP

Inflatable stand up paddleboards are just as strong as other paddleboards and have the convenience of being a lot easier to transport. Take them on holidays or other long journeys easily – they’ll fold up to the size of a large overnight bag. Otherwise, the shape and size of the SUP that is right for you will depend on your experience level, budget and what you’d like to use it for.

Best SUP for beginners

HydroForce Aqua Journey Stand Up Paddle Board

The Aqua Journey SUP is light to use and easy to manoeuvre, meaning that it’s ideal for beginners. Use the board on lakes and reservoirs as well as on calm seas. This is a great all-round SUP that will help you to gain confidence quickly thanks to its good stability. When inflated, it will stand at 9 feet tall, and it comes with an adjustable oar that is just over 2 metres long.

HydroForce Oceana Stand Up Paddle Board

This is also a fantastic SUP for beginners, as its size ensures that it is ideal for speed, manoeuvrability and stability on lakes, rivers and seas. The Oceana SUP also includes a storage compartment at the front of the board which is perfect for keeping a water bottle or sun cream when out on the water. Flip up the seat to make the most of the inbuilt backrest – making it safe and comfortable to paddle whilst sitting down.

Tips and tricks for SUP beginners

  1. Start off with the basics – learn on calm waters, with an instructor. This will also help you to work out whether you love paddle boarding enough to invest in your own SUP. Crucially, you’ll learn how to stand, how to paddle and how to fall.
  2. Choose the right equipment – your board should be as wide and as thick as possible for complete beginners, your paddle should be 10 inches taller than you are, the leash should be as long as (or a bit shorter) than your board – remember to always use it! It’s also worth investing in a life jacket.
  3. Maintain the perfect stance with your feet shoulder width apart. This will help you to put traction behind your steering. To turn right, paddle on the left side and turn your upper body to the right.
  4. When you feel confident, try new things and remember to have fun!

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