Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Introduction to Stand Up Paddling for beginners

When I first started to stand up paddle, there was not much available in terms of instructional texts or videos etc.
I know I would have learned much faster with some instruction, instead I learned mostly by trial and error and with the help of friends that gave me some tips.  I found that applying some of those simple tips made a big difference.

The paddle technique series on this blog is intended to help those that are already into SUP to advance and improve their technique and efficiency but does not really have the very basic tips first timers need.

So, this post should have really been part one, but since there already is a part one, this one is called:

Paddle Technique Part #0: The Basics for Beginners

We recently made a video with basic safety tips and instructions for beginners that we ask everyone renting a board from us for the first time to watch.  This video is the edited version with just the basic things everyone going out for the first time should know.

Some tips for beginners:
  • If you can, take a lesson or ask someone experienced to help you.
  • Make sure you have a board that is stable enough for your height, weight and conditions and a paddle that is the right length.
  • Find some calm, protected water to learn how to get up, balance, turn the board and basic steering and forward strokes.  
  • Don't attempt to surf waves until you can do these very basic things.
  • Watch this video and have fun.  
  • Warning: SUP is highly addictive

For more tips, visit this thread on (and make use of the search function for specific questions):;topicseen

Also, read the technique series here on

Links to the paddle technique series posts:
Paddle Technique Part 0: Introduction to SUP
Paddle Technique Part 1: Choosing the Right Paddle
Paddle Technique Part 2: The Three Ingredients of a Powerful Stroke
Paddle Technique Part 3: Stacking the Shoulders
Paddle Technique Part 4: Reach and Catch
Paddle Technique Part 5: Recovery, Paddle Length and Grip
Paddle Technique Part 6: Turning the Board
Paddle Technique Part 7: Catching Waves

Click here to watch all the Zen Waterman technique videos on YouTube

Aloha, Robert Stehlik

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