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Home > How To, SUP > SUP Tips and Tricks for All Skill Levels

SUP Tips and Tricks for All Skill Levels

Stand-Up Paddle Boarding – or SUP – has exploded in recent years with water sport enthusiasts always looking for new and innovative ways to enjoy the water. Whether it is whitewater surfing or a clear day on a still lake there are many tricks associated with this ever-growing sport. It is hard to say when the movement really became popular since it’s a combination of surfing, just with a paddle in order to control movement efficiently. Regardless, it’s a great full body workout and a whole new way to experience the water in the outdoors. Here are some tips, tricks and ideas on how to get started!

1) Back to the Basics

Paddle boards come in all shapes and sizes with ever-growing ways to use your board! A stand-up paddle board is much thicker than your average surfboard. If you’re just starting out, the best thing to do is select a wider, longer and thicker board for more stability. This will allow you to learn the basics on a flat body of water with more control. Try starting out on a still lake or calm river. Popular tourist beach destinations now have paddle board rentals pop-ups, but be warned, your first time out on the board may not be too successful on the crashing tides of the ocean – who knows though, maybe you’re a natural! Rent a board out for a day and have some fun on some still water before moving on to these next tips and tricks.

2) Paddle 101

Okay now you have your board and you’re out on the water, what about that paddle they handed you? After learning to steadily stand up, grip your paddle with one hand on the top of the paddle and the other on the center of the shaft. Hold the paddle in front of you, with your elbows bent at 90 degrees giving you a comfortable amount of space for paddling. Taking a dip in the water may happen but don’t worry – the paddle floats!

Man on a stand up paddle-board surfing down some whitewater rapids

3) Catch some Waves

Ready to move on up? Catch some waves and fully enjoy what this sport is all about! If you plan to take items with you such as your phone, camera or first-aid kit be sure to place them in a dry bag, such as the Chattooga Drybag,  as you are guaranteed to get wet! Before you go bounding off into the water, it’s a good idea to scout the waves so you know where to paddle out. If it’s your first time SUP surfing, avoid crowded areas to protect yourself and others. The boards may not look dangerous but those things are pretty heavy, especially when spiraling towards your head!! The key to surfing is to paddle hard into the whitewash putting weight on your back foot to pop the board over the foam, and then use your momentum to punch through. You’ll find leaning back on the board will actually help you mount and then overcome the whitewater. Mainly, just keep trudging forward, and don’t forget your helmet…

4) SUP Yoga

It just makes sense! SUP requires so much balance and is a full body sport while yoga requires the same! Don’t worry, this is done on flat water!  Yoga on a SUP enhances your yoga practice by strengthening alignment, core awareness and balance.  In addition to a full body experience what is better than yoga in the outdoors on the beautiful water! Classes are available as well if you want to try this out in a group setting – and of course a ton of fun! Namaste!

A post shared by Barry Kennon (@nattyshred) on


5) Tricks

Soon enough you’ll grow tired of paddling still water and want to up your game. In comes the splat. One of the best things to come out of the 80’s, the splat is traditionally a kayak trick where the paddler stands their boat on end and uses the current flowing past a rock to ‘splat’ the rock face. Check out Watershed friend, Barry Kennon, stylin’ out above!

What are your favorite SUP tricks? Tell us below!

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