How To Stand Up On A Paddle Board

Standing up on a paddle board
Photo by by Maridav from Shutterstock

Share the Love


Are you ready to embark on a thrilling adventure and explore the beauty of the water like never before? Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is the perfect way to do just that!

This exciting water sport allows you to glide across the surface of lakes, rivers, and the ocean while standing on a large, buoyant board. Not only is it a fun and unique way to experience the great outdoors, but also provides a great full-body workout. In this guide, we will take you through the steps of mastering the art of stand-up paddleboarding. From understanding the equipment and safety measures to mastering the proper positioning and paddling techniques, we’ve got you covered.

By the end of this guide, you’ll be able to confidently stand up on your paddle board and explore the water like a pro! So, grab your board and let’s get started on this exciting journey!

Equipment and Safety

Before starting stand-up paddle boarding, it is important to make sure you have the proper equipment and understand the safety guidelines. The main piece of equipment you will need is a paddle board, which can be either inflatable or solid. It’s important to choose a board that’s the right size and shape for your body type and skill level.

In addition to a board, you will also need a paddle, which should be the right length for your height and the type of paddling you will be doing. It is also recommended to wear a personal flotation device (PFD) and a leash that attaches to your ankle or calf to keep you connected to the board in case of a fall.

Additionally, you should always check the weather and water conditions before heading out, and make sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and a means of communication. Remember to always be aware of your surroundings and other boats or swimmers in the area.

Positioning on the Board 

Proper positioning on a paddle board is crucial for maintaining balance and stability while out on the water. The best position to start in is to stand with your feet parallel and hip-width apart, with your knees slightly bent. You should place your feet on the centerline of the board, which is typically marked or indented for reference. This will help you maintain a balanced stance and allow for maximum control over the board.

The key is to keep your weight evenly distributed between both feet, and your eyes looking forward at the horizon. It’s important to keep your core engaged and tight, as this will help you stay balanced. o make sure you are comfortable with your position, it’s a good idea to practice on land before going into the water. Once you feel comfortable and confident with your positioning, you’ll be ready to take on the water with ease.

Standing up on a paddle board
Photo by kali9 from iStock

Paddling Techniques

Paddling is the main way to propel yourself and move around on a paddle board. There are several techniques that can be used to paddle effectively, including the basic stroke, the draw stroke, and the sweep stroke.

The basic stroke is the most commonly used and is performed by dipping the paddle into the water on one side of the board, pulling back towards the back of the board and then lifting the paddle out of the water on the other side. The draw stroke is performed by dipping the paddle into the water on one side of the board, pulling back towards the front of the board, and then lifting the paddle out of the water on the other side. The sweep stroke is performed by making a wide arc with the paddle on one side of the board, which helps to turn the board or change direction. These techniques are similar to the ones used in a tandem kayak, but the main difference is that you are standing on a paddle board, which requires more balance and core engagement to keep the board stable while paddling.

To improve your paddling efficiency, it’s important to keep your body facing forward, engage your core and rotate your torso as you paddle. Experiment with different paddling techniques and find the one that works best for you.

Standing Up on the Board 

Once you’ve learned the proper positioning and paddling techniques, it’s time to learn to stand up on the board. The best way to stand up is to start on your knees and then slowly rise to a standing position. You should grip the board with your hands on either side of the centerline to maintain stability. Keep your eyes focused on the horizon and engage your core muscles to maintain balance. Once you’re standing, you can adjust your feet as needed to maintain your balance. It’s important to keep your knees slightly bent and to move slowly and deliberately to avoid falling. If you do fall, don’t panic, just paddle back to the board and try again.

It may take some practice to become comfortable with standing up on the board, but with patience and persistence, you’ll be able to do it with ease.

Balance and Stability 

Maintaining balance and stability on a paddle board is essential for safety and enjoyment. Keep your weight evenly distributed, engage your core, look forward, and choose a board appropriate for your skill level and the type of paddling you’ll be doing. Practice in calm water and keep in mind that your body position and movements can greatly affect your balance and stability.

How to get up after falling off a paddle board
Photo by kali9 from iStock

Falling and Re-entry onto the Board 

Falling off a paddle board is a common occurrence, especially when you’re first learning. The key to falling safely is to fall away from the board, rather than toward it. If you do fall, try to stay calm and paddle back to the board. When re-entering the board, it’s important to do so slowly and deliberately. The best way to re-enter the board is to kneel on the board, facing the front, and then slowly rise to a standing position. Keep your core engaged and your eyes focused on the horizon to maintain balance.

It’s also important to keep in mind that the water conditions, such as strong currents or waves, can make re-entry more difficult and it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and to have proper safety equipment.

Advanced Techniques

Once you’ve mastered the basic techniques of standing up, paddling and maintaining balance, you can start to explore more advanced techniques. Some of these techniques include:

  • Turning: You can make turns by shifting your weight and using the paddle to steer.
  • Carving: You can make sharp turns by leaning into them and using the paddle for added control.
  • Surfing: You can catch waves and ride them by positioning yourself at the right angle and timing your paddle strokes.
  • Yoga: You can practice yoga on a paddle board for an added challenge and to improve balance and core strength.

These advanced techniques can be challenging to master, and it’s important to practice them in safe conditions with proper guidance and equipment. With practice and patience, you’ll be able to master these advanced techniques and enjoy a more dynamic and exciting paddle boarding experience.

Also, if you’re interested in doing something different, you can try tandem paddleboarding, where you can enjoy the activity with a partner and also, you can use the different paddling techniques you learned and apply them in a coordinated way.


In conclusion, paddle boarding is a fun and exciting way to explore the water and enjoy nature. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddler, there’s always something new to learn and explore. By following the tips and techniques outlined in this guide, you’ll be able to stand up, paddle, maintain balance, and even perform advanced maneuvers with confidence.

Remember to always wear proper safety equipment, be aware of your surroundings, and never paddle alone. With a little bit of practice and patience, you’ll be able to master the art of paddle boarding and enjoy all the fun and adventure it has to offer. So, grab your paddle, hit the water, and enjoy the ride!

**Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).

Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.

You Might Also Like

Featured Articles

The Difference Between a Manatee and a Dugong_Canva
The Difference Between a Manatee and a Dugong
Equality Florida
Learn About Equality Florida: History, Mission, Programs and Annual Fundraising Events
Miami LGBTQ+ Owned Restaurants
Savor Miami: A Guide to LGBTQ+ Owned Restaurants
Hidden Disabilities Sunflower at Broward County Convention Center
Broward County Convention Center Adopts Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program
Mari Jean Hotel & The Wet Spot
Discover the Gay, Adults-Only Mari Jean Hotel in St Petersburg’s Grand Central District


june, 2024

Event Type


Event Location

Past and Future Events

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.