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Paddle with confidence: how to stay on your SUP board

Updated: May 14, 2020

“What happens if I fall?” It’s one of the questions I get asked the most when people find out I teach SUP (Stand Up Paddle board) Yoga. “Well,” I tell them with a friendly smile, “you get wet.” Only here’s the deal, you don’t have to fall. Here are some things you can do to make your chances of falling in less likely.

Stay in the center. The handle of the board is, roughly, the board’s center of gravity. In other words, that’s where the board is most stable. Keep your weight balanced around that area, with feet or knees on either side of the handle.

Get Low. No, not the Lil’ John song from the 2000’s… it’s how you position your body. The lower you are, the more stable you will be. In order from most stable to least stable: sitting, kneeling, standing, standing with one foot.

Tip: if you do paddle sitting or kneeling, hold the paddle lower along the handle, closer to the blade.

Take a wide stance. This allows your weight to be disbursed more evenly. Think of how much easier it is to walk normally with feet hip distance apart compared to walking on a tightrope.

Look ahead. The body tends to go where the gaze and head move. Keep your head upright and gaze towards the horizon.

Bend your knees. Have you ever locked your knees and then had a friend or sibling come behind you and press the back of your legs? Your knees buckle and you lose your balance. Same thing on the paddle board, except your friend is any bump in the water. Having your knees slightly bent helps absorb any shock from waves or boat wake.

Relax. Much like keeping your knees bent, relaxing the rest of your body lets movement flow through you. Try to relax the mind too. Think of how awesome it feels to be outside, how brave you are for trying something new, or how lucky you are for getting the opportunity to paddle.

Now that you know all these tips, get on the water, try it out, and have fun. Share what was most helpful to you in the comments below.

Want to get out on the water with us?

If you're in the Fort Collins, CO area, you have two options:

  • Join us in a SUP Yoga class. By combining the practices of paddleboarding and yoga, you'll get a whole new respect for balance and a greater awareness of the body.

  • Join us in The Mindful Movement Community. We're all about building connection, community, and ease through mindful movement. Think yoga, hiking, paddling, etc. Feel good while you're living life and spending it with awesome people.

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