SUP beginners do make mistakes. This is to be expected. And as beginners ourselves we also made our fair share of faux pars also. There’s nothing wrong with this – it’s how we learn. Picking ourselves back up and doing things correctly the next time round will see big advances made within SUP. Here are some classic SUP beginner mistakes so you can avoid them.
Buying the wrong inflatable SUP board.
At the risk of being labelled elitist, there’s no doubt the wrong type of inflatable stand up paddle board (which most newbies opt for) will hamper your progress. Too short, too narrow and too thin with poor manufacturing materials and techniques won’t make for the best experience.
We appreciate that budget plays a part when choosing your first inflatable SUP set up. But don’t be sucked in with too cheap a board! Beginners will need something at least 10’6 x 31” inches wide and 6” thick. Make life easy for yourself and get a decent set up to begin with.
Settling for a cheap SUP paddle.
Cheap SUP packages often come with cheap paddles that’ll do you no favours. Your paddle is your engine and this needs to be a good as can be. Bendy alloy paddle shafts with plastic SUP paddle blades are just rubbish.
If you have any cash left to upgrade your SUP paddle (and this option’s available) then we’d highly recommend doing this. The better your paddle the better your experience.
Going it alone.
Learning on your lonesome is perfectly applicable. Yet those choosing some form of instruction from a qualified coach will see their progression and enjoyment quickly elevated. Your instructor will help you avoid many of the pitfalls mentioned here and get you riding upright more than falling.
Having had a few lessons it’s then more fulfilling to be off paddling individually. Although we’d also suggest coming back to revisit SUP coaching further down the line when you fancy improving some more.
Taking on the wrong conditions.
Too much wind (as one example) won’t do you any favours. Likewise, choppy or swelly water states – anything other than flat really – aren’t that great.
In some cases, conditions can be downright dangerous and put your overall safety at risk. Coming back to the point above about SUP coaching; he/she will take you to the best spot on the day in question and make sure your experience is enjoyable. So definitely worth considering.
Having your paddle the wrong way round.
An absolute classic mistake newbie paddlers often think the paddle’s blade should face with the rake pointing backwards. Yet it’s this blade rake that helps riders ‘reach’ further and develop an efficient paddle stroke.
We see it so often paddlers using their ‘engine’ the wrong way round. Yet only when it’s pointed out do they sort the issue. Much to their own embarrassment. But like we say we’ve all been there!
Attaching fins the wrong way round.
As with paddles above attaching fins the wrong way round is another classic newbie mistake. Which is easy to understand. When slotting fins into your SUP board the dolphin shape of the fin should face backwards to the tail. Just as you see with fish.
A large proportion of iSUPs these days come with fin fixings that don’t allow the fin to be attached incorrectly. Which is a good thing. But there are still somewhere you can get it wrong!
There are plenty more newbie SUP mistakes that happen. What have you done or seen? Let us know.