A Beginners Guide to Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Stand up paddle boarding or SUP’ing for short, is a great way of exploring the beautiful blue spaces around us, being active and boosting our wellbeing.

Hiring means you can enjoy a host of new adventures without the commitment of buying.

paddle boarding on river

Read our top tips to make the most of your SUP.

Safety First

Even the most experienced paddler can end up in the water and so it is worthwhile wearing a buoyancy aid.

Always attach one end of the leash to your board and one end to your ankle. This way if you fall, your board will not be far away.

Take your time

Making sure your board is fully pumped up, the fin is in correctly and the paddle is the right length for you will make all the difference.

someone blowing up a SUP

Know your location

On a sunny day, rivers, the sea or a lake can look very inviting but there are risks that are often not always obvious. Take a look at a map of the area to find out where the river goes, are there things like weirs you need to be careful of, which way is the current/tide flowing, are you comfortable you can paddle against the flow of water, what is the weather forecast, will the wind make paddling hard work.

Know your limits

If you are new to paddle boarding, chose somewhere where there are other people around, somewhere which is calm and sheltered and you know how to get help if you need it.

Understand the law around where you can and cannot paddle board. In the UK if you can access a stretch of water by a public footpath then chances are you can probably paddle on it. But check first.

What to wear

In the UK the water can be cold even in summer and so think about what to wear that will keep you warm and allow for good movement of the arms for paddling. Our paddle boards have elastic on the front so you can always store extra layers here.

Some form of soft grippy shoe can help protect your feet while getting your board into the water and help grip the board but bare feet are useful when it comes to ‘feeling’ your balance on the board.

If you want to keep warm with a wetsuit click here 

What to take

A waterproof bag is useful to carry extra layers, your mobile phone, a snack, water etc.


Point the front of the board into the water first and remember to hold onto it so it does not float off.

Getting onto the board

Whether you are getting onto the board from the water or from a pontoon /river bank aim to get on at the middle around about where the carry handle is. Get your knees either side of the handle and look forward. If you are new to paddle boarding, practise paddling in this position before standing up.

Standing up

Taking a few strokes to get moving forward makes the board more stable. Make sure you are kneeling in the centre of the board with your knees apart. One leg after another, put your feet where your knees were, a bit further than hip distance apart. Stand up straight keeping your knees soft and look forward. Get back to paddling to help keep you feeling stale. 


Getting back on the board when you fall off

Swim back to your board and aim for the middle, near the carry handle to haul yourself back out. Get back into a kneeling position and then stand up again.


Hold the paddle with the arm furthest away from the side you are paddling being the top arm. Your other arm holds the paddle further down. Adjust the paddle length to that it is about 15cm higher than your head when put up next to you.

Paddle with confident strokes with the whole of the paddle ‘blade’ in the water and keeping the paddle vertical to help keep you moving forward in a straight line.

Make sure your feet are evenly spaced around the handle and keep your head and shoulders facing forward. As you pull your paddle back, make sure it stays as close to your board as possible

making sure paddle higher than your head

Turning round

To do a basic turn, place the paddle in behind you on one side and slowly bring it forward.

Practice means progress

The more you do, the more your paddle boarding will improve. So instead of trying to be brilliant first time, remember to enjoy the ride.

person carrying SUP on back

To hire a paddle board click here. Hire starts from £35 for 3 days and includes:

  • Quality inflatable stand up paddle board
  • Hand Pump
  • Paddle
  • Backpack Bag 
  • Safety Leash
  • Slide-in Centre Fin

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