When learning to Stand-up Paddleboard, losing your balance is sometimes inevitable.  Learning how to properly fall (yes, there’s a correct way to fall!) is as important as learning to stand up on the board.  Here are some tips to keep you safe:

  • If possible, always start out in flat, calm water and before you stand up, make sure there’s plenty of depth.
  • If you lose your balance, be sure to aim to either side of your paddleboard so that you fall into the water and not onto the board. Falling onto the board is more likely to cause bumps and bruises.
  • Paddles float, so if you fall, let it go – it won’t sink.  If you hold onto the paddle, it can cause injury to your arm. 
  • Don’t get separated from your board (wearing a SUP leash is recommended).  Once you’re in the water, swim to your board first, then retrieve your paddle. 
  • Always (ALWAYS) wear a PFD.  Even some of the strongest swimmers have found themselves in situations where a life jacket saved their lives.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST, HAVE FUN!  I always say that falling in is half the fun.  So, if you’re gonna fall in, why not make a splash?!  After all, falling is just another way to fly. 

Tip: How to hold your paddle

It was a hot day in August and I was gliding along with a group of SUP 101 students, when the faint echo of a couple yelling something from shore caught my attention.  When I was close enough to hear, they repeated themselves, “Turn your paddles the other way!!”  Since correct blade position is one of the first things I teach in my beginner class, I didn’t want my students to get confused.  I turned back toward my group and with a smile I reassured them, “Don't worry.  We’re doing it correctly.”

It’s a common enough mistake. If you’re picking up a SUP paddle for the first time, or watching someone from afar like our spectators, it may appear more natural to hold the paddle so that the angle of the blade is pointing toward you to “scoop” the water.  When used this way, however, it pushes water up rather than behind you, creates drag and slows you down.  Always hold the paddle so the blade is angled away from you (toward the nose of the board).  In this position, the angle is designed to improve the "catch" – the entry of the paddle into the water at the very beginning of the stroke – grab the water, and provide lift and speed to the SUP as you paddle through the stroke.  Also, most handles are designed to feel more comfortable when the blade is positioned correctly.  Give it a try!

Want to know more?  Join our popular SUP 101 classes and learn how to SUP properly the first time! 

Always hold the paddle so the blade is angled away from you (toward the nose of the board). 

Always hold the paddle so the blade is angled away from you (toward the nose of the board).