BlogJuly 2023

Paddle Boarding for Beginners: Simple Tips to Get Started

Paddle Boarding for Beginners: Simple Tips to Get Started

By Debbie Hanson

Jul 24, 2023

Basic tips, guidance on paddle boarding for beginners. Where to learn SUP, paddle boarding gear you need to get started, what to know about safety, and more

If you haven’t tried paddle boarding yet, summer is the ideal time to “test the waters” with this fun watersport that benefits your cardiovascular health and overall emotional well-being. Check out these simple tips that cover paddle boarding for beginners.


What is a Paddle Board?

In any beginner’s guide to paddle boarding, you may read or hear paddle boarding also being referred to as SUP (stand up paddle boarding). SUP boards are flat so you can stand, kneel, or sit on them to paddle. The paddle used is like a canoe paddle with a blade on one end and a handle on the other, although it’s longer than a typical canoe or kayak paddle. The longer paddle allows you to stand and paddle comfortably. You can use a SUP for adventuring, surfing, fishing, and yoga.


Take a Paddle Boarding Lesson

If you want to learn beginner-friendly paddle boarding techniques, take a paddle boarding lesson. Many paddle sports outfitters offer lessons that include SUP safety, launching and landing, standing and balance, board and paddle control, and personal preparation. An experienced instructor can walk you through the most effective types of paddle strokes for enhanced maneuverability on the water, give you step by step instruction on how to perform these strokes, and show you other techniques to improve your paddling efficiency.


Paddle Boarding Gear

When getting started with paddle boarding, you may want to rent a board or borrow one from a friend. if you like it and want to do more of it, then consider buying your own. The board you choose should be determined by a combination of paddler weight and skill as well as your use (such as fishing or yoga) and the local conditions. If you’re renting, the staff at a local outfitter can help you select the best board for your intended activity. In addition to the paddle board itself, you’ll need a paddle, PFD (life jacket), safety whistle, safety light (if out before sunrise or after sunset), leash, proper clothing (swimsuit or long-sleeved rash guard), and sun protection.


Start on a Calm Body of Water

One of the key paddle boarding tips for beginners is to find a calm body of water like a small lake or a pond where there are minimal waves, and you won’t need to be concerned about boat traffic or other obstacles. Look for a sandy shoreline or kayak launch area so you can easily wade into the water and get up onto your stand-up paddle board.


Practice Falling Off the Paddleboard

Yes, you read that right. practicing falling off the board and being aware of how to fall safely is one of the essential paddle boarding skills for beginners. Use a paddle board leash to stay connected to your board while learning how to fall away from it. Falling clear of the board will let you fall gracefully into water without bumping into the board or fins. This is particularly important to know if you plan to paddle board in any location with current or waves.


Now that you know the basics of paddle boarding for beginners, find a place to take a paddle boarding lesson or rent a paddle board this summer and get fit while exploring a few new waterways.

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.