How to get on a paddle step by step
You have your new stand-up paddleboard, and you have arrived at your favorite spot. I assume you are on a dock or on the shore. But you are a little intimidated by the idea of climbing on it for the first time. Well, don’t worry. I will explain to you how to get on a paddle from a beach or a dock. As a bonus, I will also show you how to get back on a paddle after falling in the water.
Whichever way you choose to get on your paddle, there are two universal tips.
- You have to stay low, it is easier to keep your balance when your center of gravity is low.
- Apply equal pressure to each side of the paddle, if you are pressing on one side of the board, be sure to push on the other side as well. Distribute your weight evenly on each side.
Now I will explain in detail how to get on your paddle from the shore, dock, or in the water.
Table of Contents
Steps to get on a paddle board from the shore
So now we know to stay low and in the center. Now you have to choose the right place on the shore to enter the water.
Since you are just getting started, choose a location with calm water with few waves and little to no boat traffic.
Once you’ve found a suitable range to get started, follow these steps:
1. Place your paddle in water deep enough so that the fin does not touch the bottom.
I usually go up to my knees. It is better not to have the fin touch the bottom as you risk damaging it or even breaking it under your weight.
2. On the side, place your paddle on the paddle and keep everything stable.
Your paddle should be perpendicular to the paddle at the level of the carrying handle, and your hands should be placed in the middle of it, with a gap equal to your shoulders.
3. Kneel on the paddle, starting with the knee crossing the opposite side of the board.
Make sure that when you put your knees on the board, you stay low and apply even pressure. Counterbalance with your arms on the paddle.
Once you’re on your knees, you’re almost there. It may be a good idea to take the time to adjust to this new position before taking the next step to stand up.
Just stay on your knees and paddle for a few minutes, getting used to the way the paddle turns and the balance as you shift your weight.
Once you feel comfortable and ready to stand, here’s how.
4. Shift your weight onto your hands, which hold your paddle in the center, and step onto your toes.
Now the goal is to get yourself into a squatting position. To do this, first of all, you must move your center of gravity so that it is vertical with your hands. So push on your feet and toes to position your bust above your hands, arms outstretched.
5. Keeping your hands on the paddle, slowly slide one foot, then the other under your torso, near the carrying handle.
At this point, you should be squatting with your feet flat on either side of the carrying handle. Use your hands to stabilize yourself.
6. Now shift your weight back, remove your hands from the board and stand up.
Don’t try to do too much at this point. Feel the paddle under your feet. Feel how it moves when you move slightly. Keep your head up, look straight ahead.
It’s time to give your first paddle strokes
Get on a paddle board from a dock
Again, the key is to stay low and apply even pressure as you step onto your paddle, this is also true when you do so from a dock or jetty.
1. Choose a location with little or no marine traffic.
The first time you paddleboard from a dock, move away from other boats that can form waves and eddies as they pass. If there are boats around, wait for the water to calm down before trying to get your paddle boarding.
2. Put your paddle in the water, then place it against the dock and parallel.
It is important to glue the paddle to the dock parallel. If you try to position it perpendicularly, you will never be able to stabilize it and it will pull away as soon as you step on it. So keep it parallel to the dock.
3. Place your paddle along the midline of your paddle.
Unlike a climb in the water, the paddle must be placed in the middle of the paddle but lengthwise.
4. Sit on the edge of the dock and hold the paddle with your feet.
You can sit on the dock, level with the center of the paddle board. Put your feet on it with a good shoulder width between the 2. You can press down gently to see how the paddle behaves under pressure. It is also a way to gain confidence.
5. Slide your knees on either side of the carry handle, holding onto the dock.
As you glide on your board, keep your center of gravity low and support yourself by holding onto the dock until you are balanced. Release one hand, then the second, to put them in front of you on the paddle. Once you are stabilized and confident, you can push off the dock to walk away.
Wait until you are a few feet away from the dock before trying to stand. It would be dangerous to fall and hit the platform, you could seriously injure yourself.
Take the paddle and place it perpendicular to the paddle, and start the steps to stand up as we saw in part one.
Finally, to get back to the dock, reverse the process. Make sure to approach the dock on your knees and use it as a support while sitting on the dock.
Get back on a paddleboard from the water
If you fall into the water, or just jump into the water to cool off, you’ll have to get back on your paddle at one point or another.
There are two basic ways to get back on your paddle from the water
From the side of your paddle, grab the carrying handle and pull yourself up so you can reach and grab the opposite edge.
Once you have a grip on the other side of the paddle, all you need to do is kick your feet while pulling with your arms. Just put your torso on the paddle and rotate until you are finally lying on it.
Don’t worry about your paddle until you are lying on your paddle. If it has strayed away, you can stay on your stomach and use your arms to paddle and retrieve it.
Once you get your paddle back you can get down on your knees and then, once stable, get back on your feet.
To get on a paddle from the back, first, position yourself at the back. From there, firmly grip the edges with both hands.
Pull while maintaining pressure on the paddle, and give powerful kicks until you can put your chest on the board.
Once you’ve put your chest on the board, all you need to do is work your way up until you can place your knees under your bust near the center of the board.
Some people prefer to go up from the back because if you press down well on the paddle, the back will penetrate into the water and thus facilitate the ascent. The nose of the board will lift up, but this is normal.
Getting on a stand-up paddleboard can be intimidating the first time around, but it is well worth it. On your first outing, give yourself a few minutes to climb up and down several times before heading further out to sea. If you have the chance, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to practice getting in the water and getting back on your paddle.
How to paddle in the waves:
One of the most difficult aspects of paddleboarding is paddling the waves or recovering from getting caught in the broth.
I assume that you have already developed a solid base of know-how in paddleboarding, especially at sea. Do not measure yourself against breaking waves if you are new to paddleboarding, your safety is at stake. And check out this article to get started on the ocean.
When you start paddleboarding in the waves, first be aware of your surroundings. Do not go to areas where there are already people surfing or doing more. First, get to know and master your equipment.
3 options are available to you for paddleboarding in the waves. You can first surf lying on your stomach. You then have the option of kneeling down to a higher position. Finally, you can stand up and help yourself with the paddle to steer properly.
Put on your leash!
The leash is this kind of leash that you place around your ankle and that connects you to your paddle to avoid losing it when you fall in the water.
Securing your leash securely is arguably one of the most important guidelines to follow when paddling in the waves.
Imagine the length of the paddle, the more the length of the taut leash, the more your length, and you easily get 10 meters if you ever get hit by a wave.
So consider that 10 meters are a minimum safe distance. But I insist, go even further away from other bathers. It would be a shame if you didn’t put on your leash and hit your paddle board with a child or surfer, and keep in mind that this can happen even with your leash in place. So stay away, really.
Option 1: Take the waves on your stomach
To test yourself against the waves on a paddle, the first option, and perhaps the easiest at the start, is to lie down on your paddle and paddle with your hands, your paddle being wedged under your chest.
It’s a good way to start on small waves to acquire the necessary coordination and take the wave at the right time, It’s all about timing and anticipation. You’ll do it a few times before you find the right time to start paddling and catching the wave when you need to and finally riding it.
But you will have to pass some waves to get a little further out to sea and not risk ending up with your nose in the sand if a wave knocks you down. I do not advise you to stay lying down to go for bigger waves because you risk getting completely into the broth and being disoriented.
The best way to handle big waves while lying down is to get off your paddle, press down on the tail, and push the board as the wave comes in to jump it, while keeping your paddle under you.
Option 2: Kneel
The second option for going into the waves with your paddleboard is to paddle in a kneeling position and ride the wave by leaning back and paddling firmly to keep you on the wave and not get knocked over. Again, this technique will work in smaller waves, but it won’t be very effective when the waves are over about 1 meter.
Pass the first waves, and patiently wait for the right moment to take the right one. When you feel the time is right, paddle hard to either side to speed up enough and catch the wave.
Option3: Stand up
The third option, and the best (otherwise this sport wouldn’t be called stand-up paddle boarding) to ride the waves is to get up and paddle. But first, you have to learn how to hit the broth with your paddle.
When standing up and paddling through waves, adopt a hybrid stance with your front foot pointed forward and your rear foot pointed more laterally.
It is also important to maintain a good gap between your 2 feet, about a shoulder-width apart, one foot towards the nose and one slightly towards the tail. Basically, you end up at an angle on the paddle, neither perpendicular nor parallel to it.
When you take larger waves, also place yourself more on the back of the paddle to prevent its nose from getting caught in the water which then exerts too much pressure. And it is you who will find your nose in the sand.
Once your position is optimal and you feel the right wave coming, it’s up to them to paddle the first time to accelerate in the direction of the wave.
You must absolutely anticipate the arrival of the wave and acquire an already significant speed before it arrives, otherwise, you will be destabilized.
Bend your knees to keep your center of gravity as low as possible and thus maintain your balance when the wave tries to throw you off balance.
Also, put more pressure on your backrest to raise your nose. Don’t lean back but actually put pressure on your back foot keeping your center of gravity above your board. You absolutely have to take your nose off the water and the broth.
If you feel the strong wave, you can move your back foot further back. If all goes according to plan, your paddle board will pick up the wave in motion and you will start to slide at the same speed. Paddle well if you feel the wave catching up with you.
It may happen that you are a little unbalanced but nothing is lost. If this happens to you, try to drop on one knee to stabilize yourself again. It is a gesture to be made quickly so as not to end up in the water. But you will have to get up just as quickly to continue surfing.