The sport of standup paddling has exploded in popularity in recent years. A great core workout and an awesome way to sightsee, standup paddling can be done by just about anyone.

beginner standup paddlers

Standup paddling can be done by just about anyone and anywhere. Photo: Courtesy of EpicStockMedia/Shutterstock

After your first couple of sessions you’re going to be sore and maybe a little beat up. But fret not. SUPing is a great low-impact workout that can be done on just about any body of water.

Here are 10 tips for beginner standup paddlers.

Find the right board

beginner standup paddlers

A good entry-level board should be nice and wide to provide stability for beginner standup paddlers. Photo: Courtesy of

You don’t want to be struggling to find your balance as you learn, so look for something about 30 inches wide.

As a rule of thumb — the wider the board, the more stable it is. Soft SUPs are also popular for those new to the sport.

Hold your paddle properly

beginner standup paddlers

She may look good, but the model above needs to spin her paddle so that the cant is facing the other way. Photo: Courtesy of Ahturner/Shutterstock

It’s common for newcomers to hold the paddle the wrong way. It may not seem right at first, but you want the blade bending away from your body.

Look at the photo above for an example of how NOT to hold your paddle.

Start on flat water

beginner standup paddlers

Coves, bays, and other protected areas make for great spots to SUP (although this spot looks a little shallow!), especially for beginner standup paddlers. Photo: Courtesy of Shutterstock

Bays and lagoons are excellent places to learn to SUP. With no waves smashing you around, you’re much less likely to hurt yourself or someone else.

If you don’t live near a bay or lagoon, look for somewhere protected from the surf.

Go when it’s glassy

The smoother the water texture, the less adjusting and balancing you’ll need to do. Try to SUP early before the wind comes up; it’s a much more pleasant experience when it’s glassy.

Bend at the knees, not the waist

It’s common for beginners to bend at the waist, straining their back to paddle. Don’t do that.

Keep your upper body upright, feet at about shoulder width and knees bent.

Use your core muscles

beginner standup paddlers

Standup paddling is a great way to see ocean, rivers, and lakes from a whole new perspective. Photo: Courtesy of BlueOrange Studio/Shutterstock

As much as you may be tempted, don’t solely use your arm muscles to paddle. Instead, engage your core and paddle from there.

Look at the horizon

Instead of staring down at your feet, focus on the horizon and notice how much better your balance is.

It’s also a lot easier to balance when you’re moving, so don’t stop paddling.

Fall away from the board

SUP boards are big and you will fall as you learn. Instead of crumpling on to your board, try to fall away from it. Your body will thank you.

Take short, quick strokes

Resist the temptation to take long, deep paddles. Short, quick strokes will propel you through the water faster.

Rinse your gear with fresh water

Standup paddleboards and paddles are expensive, and saltwater is a corrosive. To make them last longer, make sure to rinse them off with fresh water after every use.

For more Standup paddling tips, news, photos, gear reviews and videos, head over to

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