You may have seen standup paddleboarders paddling by on the beach, under a bridge, or just while driving by a local body of water. Chances are you thought it was pretty cool and wondered if it was an activity you should take up. But how would you know? Well, these paddling tips will help you get a really good idea of whether or not you'll enjoy standup paddleboarding.
As in all watersports, there are a couple of primary ways to learn how to standup paddle board. Not included in these is to just buy some SUP equipment and give it a go by yourself. In order to adhere to standard water safety guidelines, this is never advised. Fear not, none of these three options are expensive and they will give you a great introduction to figuring out if standup paddle boarding is for you.
Learn How to Standup Paddle Board from Friends
The first and best way to learn how to SUP is to find out if any of your friends already do it. No sport is any fun when done alone. By finding out if anyone of your existing relationships already standup paddleboards you will in effect be recruiting people to go with you. So how do you find those people? Do you simply ask everyone you see? Enter social networking. Facebook, Twitter, and your own personal blog are the quickest ways to find out if someone you know already standup paddle boards or equally important, if anyone else you know wants to learn with you. If you do indeed come across an existing friend who SUPs you just found a free and non-threatening way to see if you will like the sport.
Demo Equipment and Take Lessons from an Outfitter
The next and perhaps safer way is to go to your local standup paddleboard outfitter. Any shop that sells SUP boards and equipment is likely to also demo gear as well as offer lessons. If they are located on a body of water demoing equipment might even be free. Also, it is quite common for these shops to apply the rental fees that you spend trying out their SUP paddles and boards toward the purchase of your own. This is basically a win-win for both you and the shop. You get to learn on different boards and try out different paddles for what ends up being free and the shop locks you in to buying from them. Renting and demoing SUP gear from a shop is often done in conjunction with training classes, group paddles, and private lessons. There really is no downside to this option.
Hook Up with a SUP Club or Festival to Learn How to Standup Paddleboard
A third way that is becoming more and more possible is to check your local area for a SUP Club. Virtually every area where standup paddleboarding is done there are clubs where local paddlers get together to do their sport together. These clubs are often organized out of SUP shops and they have monthly events for beginners, intermediates, and advanced paddleboarders. This option is obviously related to the option above of taking lessons and demoing equipment from a SUP store. And while the club might in some way be affiliated with the shop, it is a little different as the club itself might offer free lessons and demos of equipment. You can find out if there are any clubs or meetups in your area either on the internet or by going to a SUP shop and asking. Then you can check out their upcoming events which might be a beginner paddling session, a demo day at a shop, or even a paddling festival for standup paddleboarding.
The basic thrust of my point is that as is the case with any sport, getting started in paddleboarding is best done with others and in community. All three of the above options are cheap if not free. They will help you to understand if you’ll like the sport of SUP as well as what type of equipment you should be using. In the end you’ll have a great introduction to paddleboarding while having people to enjoy the sport with.