paddle tips

Getting Started
  • Choose a calm piece of water with no tidal current and a day with little or no wind.
  • Get on the board by placing the paddle blade flat on the deck, and climb onto your knees in the centre of the board. 
  • You may want to stay on your knees for a while before you get to your feet, to get your confidence and balance. 
  • Once you feel confident, slowly stand up, making sure your  toes are facing forwards, and feet parallel and approx shoulder width apart.
  • Keep your knees slightly bent, back straight, and your head up and looking forward.
  • Start paddling as soon as possible because once you are moving forward the board will feel more stable and you're less likely to get wet!
Paddling / Steering
  • Hold the paddle with one hand on the T bar grip at the top of the paddle, and the other hand part of the way down the shaft (when paddling on your left hand side your right hand should be on the T bar grip, and when you are paddling on your right hand side your left hand should be on the T bar grip.)
  • Reach forward with your arms and place the paddle in the water.
  • Your aim should be to pull yourself towards the paddle rather than pull the paddle towards you.
  • As the paddle moves past your body, lift it out of the water and rotate the blade, bringing the paddle through the air and back to the starting position.
  • Keeping the paddle close to the side of the board during your stroke will give you more stability and help you paddle straight.
  • Repeat the stroke to keep moving forwards.
  • To stay in a straight line, swap paddling sides (more paddling on the right side will turn the board to the left, and more paddling on the left side will turn the board to the right.)
  • If you don't feel confident enough to stand up, remain on your knees and use the paddle by holding onto the paddle shaft with 2 hands.
Pro tip; Try doing a J-stroke to help steer the board and maintain a straight course without having to constantly swap sides. Imagine that as the paddle comes down the side of the board this is the vertical part of the J. As you reach the end of the stroke, twist the paddle and draw the curly part of the J out away from the board. It takes a bit of practice but is worth doing!

Turning around
  • The easiest, most stable and yet slowest way to turn around, is to paddle long forward or backward stokes, on one side of the board. This type of turn works best when the board is stationary. 
  • The harder, less stable, but quicker way to turn around involves taking a couple of steps backwards on the board so the tail sinks. This type of turn works best when the board is moving forwards. At the same time, put in a strong backward paddle stroke on one side. As the board spins around, put in a strong forward paddle stroke on the other side, and step swiftly forward to stop the turn. Give yourself a bit more stability by resting the paddle blade on the surface of the water before starting to paddle forwards again.
Practise the above basics and you'll be flat water paddleboarding with confidence in no time, and ready to try out the waves!

Paddling out over waves
  • If the wave is small and unbroken, stay in your parallel forward facing stance, and give a strong paddle stroke before you head up and over the wave. Use your bent knees and ankles to absorb the rise and fall of the wave, to help maintain your balance.
  • If the wave is bigger/steeper and unbroken you may want to step back with one foot into the surfing stance and use the paddle as a brace when you pass over the back of the wave. This will give you more board control and stability.
  • If the wave is broken, paddle as fast as you can straight towards the wave and then step back into the surfing stance just as you reach the wave. Just before the wave comes into contact with the nose of the board put in a good powerful stroke on the opposite side to your stance (i.e. if you have your left foot forward paddle on your right, and if you have your right foot forward paddle on your left). Lean back slightly to allow the nose of the board to rise up over the wave, and then lean forward again to counteract the push of the wave as the wave moves under the board. Use the back of the paddle in the flat, brace position to help stabilise you and the board. Start paddling again and return to the parallel paddling stance as soon as you can, to regain your paddling speed and balance.
Bailing out! (when you're not going to make it over a wave)
  • Watch out for other surfers...the board is big!
  • If you are close to other surfers then try and paddle into the wave, by bending down, grabbing the rail and keeping hold of the board if possible.
  • If you have the space throw the paddle over the back of an approaching wave, jump in the water and then grab the leash as close to the back of the board as possible (to stop it flying off and hitting other surfers)
  • Get up and paddling again as soon as you can to prevent being washed into others!
Catching a wave
  • Start small to get your confidence in the waves.
  • Turn the board in the direction of the beach. 
  • With your feet in the parallel forward facing stance, start paddling to increase board speed.
  • As you feel the board catch the swell and pick up speed, step into your surfing stance and step towards the back of the board slightly.
  • Use the paddle to help steer you along the wave and to give you tighter turns on the wave.
  • Try moving around on the board to create your own style on the wave. There's no right or wrong!
And most of all...HAVE FUN!

Latest Blog Post:

FOR SALE - ex rental Red Paddle Co equipment (2014/2015/2016)

27th October, 2016
It's that time of year again when we are selling off our ex-rental SUP kit ready to get new kit for next season. All kit in good, used condition. Grab yourself a Christmas bargain! Red Paddle C ... Read More