Common newbie paddle boarding mistakes – and how to avoid them.

With seriously good weather inbound there’ll most likely be plenty of paddlers – newbie and seasoned – hitting the water. From a newbie paddle boarding point of view, there are a couple of problems that always rear their heads. This is no criticism of anyone,, If you don’t know then you don’t know. Hopefully, this article will help steer me in the right direction. And if you’re an experienced paddle boarder, who sees something not quite right, then guide gently down the correct path.

Valve pin up for inflation!

There’s nothing quite as frustrating as ramming all that essential air pressure into your iSUP, removing the pump line and having the air rush back out at full speed, and full decibel!. It’s enough to make anyone in close proximity jump out of their skin. Having to then redo the manual labour – as that’s what it can feel like – is groan-inducing. And time again we see paddlers spent from that first bout of manual inflation that they don’t get the required amount of PSI inside.

So valve pin up for inflation, BEFORE attaching the pump hose.

iSUP valve up for inflation.

Paddle board fin rake towards the tail.

This is most common with US box centre fins on paddle boards. Attaching the wrong way round will do nobody any favours. So first off understand which is the back of your SUP. Your middle fin should then sit in the box with its angle leaning towards the tail.

Think of it like a dolphin’s dorsal fin and how it points towards the mammal’s tail. That way you shouldn’t go wrong.

stand up paddle board fins
Fin rake towards the board’s tail.

Not wearing a leash.

In all the excitement to get afloat, leashes are often missed. and whilst for 99% of paddlers this won’t be an issue there’s always a chance when you fall off (which does happen) your paddle board floats off leaving you swimming. Potentially quite a way depending on how far you’ve paddled.

Best practice is to wear a quick release belt (and know how to use it) with a coiled SUP leash attached to your board and to the belt. This way you’ll be securely tethered to your main source of floatation. But also – in the event of an emergency – be able to pull the quick release.

Paddling a back to front paddle.

SUP paddles are designed to be used one way round. The blade rake – the way the paddle angles – should be facing forwards. All too often newbie paddlers will have the blade’s rake angled towards the rear. Paddling with their paddle back to front.

Stand up paddle board basic SUP stroke
Your paddle’s blade should always angle forwards.

It’s a common mistake and one we get. But with a paddle the wrong way round you won’t be efficient on the water and could injure yourself.

There are many more paddle boarding faux pars we’ve seen. But as with everything knowledge is power. Hopefully, this article will give some guidance for those starting out. Enjoy the sunny SUP weather and your time afloat.

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