One of the big reasons stand up paddling has been exploding in popularity, is that on a very basic level, you can hop on board and start paddling without any special instructions. With that being said, this video offers five valuable tips that will help you stay safe and get the most out of your time on the water.
The first tip is the most important safety tip, which is always wear a life jacket, and an appropriate leash for the venue you'll be paddling in. People who aren't strong swimmers, or if you can't swim, it's definitely a great idea to wear an inherently buoyant life jacket. There's plenty of great paddling specific models on the market that are comfortable to wear, and won't restrict your movements.
If you can swim, you can consider an inflatable life jacket. The most popular inflatable life jackets for stand up paddling are belt packs, which are worn around your waist, but they're also available as vests. If you use a belt pack, they're best worn in front so they can be easily and quickly inflated if needed.
The leash is also a key piece of safety equipment, because the leash is what keeps you attached to your board. The reason this is so important is because if you do fall off, it's amazing how quickly wind or current can separate you from your board. Keep in mind that there are different styles of leashes, and to make sure you're wearing appropriate style of leash for the environment you'll be paddling in. For example, in flat water a coil leash is a great choice which you can attach around your calf, or your ankle. In the surf zone, a straight leash is what you're going to want to use, because it has less of an elastic effect which means the board won't pop back towards you as quickly, and also a coil leash in the surf zone has a tendancy to get wrapped around your paddle.
Tip number two is to grip your paddle so that your elbows are bent at a 90 degree angle when you place the paddle on your head. This puts your hands in the most effective and efficient paddling position.
The third tip is launch and land on your knees. One of the best ways to take a hard fall from your board is to inadvertantly catch your fin on something, and so you're best off to kneel down when you're in shallow water.
Tip number four is about using a canted paddle properly. The majority of SUP paddles are canted, which means that the blade is bent at a different angle to the shaft. The correct way to use the canted paddle is with the blade canted forwards.
The fifth and final top tip for stand up paddlers is to choose an appropriate spot to paddle. An ideal place to stand up paddle is a calm body of water that offers protection from wind and waves, and has minimal motorized boat traffic. So there you have it, your top five stand up paddling tips.
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