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The Quickest Way to Learn to SUP

With Stand Up Paddle Boarding taking off so rapidly many people are buying SUP boards hoping to ride waves immediately.
While stand up paddlesurfing is undoubtedly easier than other forms of surfing it still has a steep learning curve as the rider has to learn to balance on what seems like an unstable board while also mastering the new technique of paddling while standing up.
At first this can seem daunting and the easiest way seems to be to kneel down on the board rather than standing on it.
In reality this doesn't do much to help with the longer term aim of standing up and paddling as the motions learnt are completely different to standing.
As any experienced paddler will tell you it's all about "time on the board".
With experience on the board comes an an instinctive ability of your body to react quickly to changes in balance.
What this means is that your body automatically learns what the easiest way of dealing with oncoming wave chop is by practicing standing up and paddling in the same conditions.
For an absolute beginner though the first few sessions can be off putting if they keep falling off of the board into the water.
What we have found is that there are certain ways to speed up this learning process without getting put off by the apparent difficulties involved in stand up paddling.
1) Make sure the wind is not too strong.
Anything 10mph or under is preferable otherwise there will probably be too much chop and you will get blown off course.
2) Ideally learn on a flat lake.
You will be pleased to not have to battle any waves when you are trying to practice just balancing on your board.
3) Learn on as wide a stand up paddleboard as possible.
30 inches is recommended.
If you can find anything even wider it will generally be even easier.
You'll be surprised how much just a single inch off the width can make balancing.
4) Watch videos of paddlers and stand on a low wall, milk crate or box and practice mimicking the same paddle stroke so that your body can perfect it before you have the instability of the board to deal with.
Practice changing the paddle from side to side as well.
5) If you have got a friend who is a good swimmer get them to swim along behind you holding the back of the board steady as if they were holding a swimming float.
This will help stabilize the board and stop it rocking from side to side as you find your balance.
They will need a strong grip for this.
At first you can have them hold the board while you just stand on it before even attempting to paddle.
6) When you get more comfortable on the board and you're able to paddle remember to keep the paddle in the water as much as possible when the conditions become choppy.
Picture the strength of a tripod through all three contact points and realise you get a similar effect when the paddle is in the water propelling you forwards helping you balance With these six great tips you should be able to enjoy stand up paddling a lot quicker than it could otherwise take.

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