Standup Zone Forum

General Category => Technique => Topic started by: blueplanetsurf on April 12, 2012, 01:13:10 AM

Title: Tips for Beginners
Post by: blueplanetsurf on April 12, 2012, 01:13:10 AM
Most of us here on the Zone are not beginners, but some of us may still remember what it was like.
Share what you learned here and give some helpful tips to the first timers looking online for help.

I'll get it started:

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

Introduction to Stand Up Paddling (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vI3-T_0lpp4&list=UUYCuaaPcB6-aJmci9dup4AQ&index=2&feature=plcp#ws)

http://zenwaterman.blogspot.com/2012/04/introduction-to-stand-up-paddling-for.html (http://zenwaterman.blogspot.com/2012/04/introduction-to-stand-up-paddling-for.html)
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: SUPsurferFL on April 12, 2012, 08:44:50 AM
Find the "sweet spot" on the board and place your feet about shoulder width apart making sure to stand relaxed and not stiff, usually on each side of the hole where the handle of the board is, sometimes a little forward or a little backward from the hole depending on the board and conditions, but the goal is to get it to plane smoothly across the water with as little drag as possible, this also will increase stability
Title: Re: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: kneecap on April 12, 2012, 10:51:24 AM
Get in the water as often as possible, even if the conditions are horrible, as long as it's not dangerous. Paddling more often, especially when it's tough will make you better more quickly. Plus, it's more fun to paddle than to not, even when it's difficult.

Sent from my PC36100 using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: Ucycle on April 12, 2012, 12:58:56 PM
relax and breath (very important).  At the beginning when i was going out on rough condition, i was so tense, i forgot to breath which makes it worse.  So everytime my legs are wobbling/shaking the board, i tell myself to take a couple good breathe.
Whenever you stated paddle surfing, use your paddle to turn, lean on it.  seen too many beginner use it as a holding stick once they are on the wave.  My paddle save my ass couple times on late take off, i was able to brace myself without pearl my nose.
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: Bulky on April 12, 2012, 01:14:01 PM
1.  Look at the horizon, not the nose of your board.  Look around as much as you can--this helps develop water sense and instinctive feel of what the board/water are doing.
2.  As soon as possible, move your feet--even if it's just stepping up and down.  Breaking the habit of having your feet glued down is among the hardest to break.
3.  Practice 180 pivot turns in flatwater (stepping to the back of the board) until they're 2nd nature--it will make your foray into the surf zone much easier.
4.  Laugh when you fall off and get back on again--you're much less visible from shore than you think you are.
5.  Time on water!  Time on water!  Time on water!
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: adios pantalones on April 12, 2012, 01:24:44 PM
Don't lock your ankles, knees, or hips. Let the board "swim" under you. Especially in even small waves.

Eyes up!

Keep your hands and paddle in front of your hips, most beginners don't fall off the side, they fall on their bum and then over. Keeping your hands forward helps prevent that.

Relax, smile, have fun!
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: Old School 213 on April 12, 2012, 01:35:50 PM
1) Have fun, relax
2) Have fun, no need to be hyper critical, you're doing this to have fun
3) Have fun, look around - but not down! Look down, go down!
4) Wider is not better - You may find it easier to balance with your feet *closer* together rather than wider apart.
5) Don't get in over your head. Don't go into crowded areas if you doubt your ability to control your board.
6) The paddle goes the other way!
7) Have fun!
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: pdxmike on April 12, 2012, 01:42:23 PM
Read standupzone.

Don't be afraid to post questions.  Also, use the "search" button at the top of the page.  There is now several years of accumulated knowledge on just about every topic imaginable. It's the best SUP advice available anywhere.  Just type in your topic in the search box.  You'll also find all sorts of answers to questions you hadn't even thought of asking. 
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: blueplanetsurf on April 13, 2012, 12:32:14 AM
If you want to buy your first board:

Try a bunch of boards before you buy one.

Don't buy just on price.  It's better to get a used beginner board than a cheap new board that's not right for you.  Get a good paddle.  Do some research, like pdx said, use that search function.

I see too many beginners wanting to buy a board to fit inside their car/ elevator/ room, not because it is the right board for them.   
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: stoneaxe on April 13, 2012, 07:52:49 AM
You want to get better? Once you have the basics down go out in anything (that you can safely handle). In fact, look for days that are wind blown and choppy to advance your board handling skills and balance faster.
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: tahitijack on April 13, 2012, 09:44:39 AM
Three thing to gotta know:

1.  Paddle into boat wakes at a 90 degree angle, don't look at the wake look beyond it and relax you leggs, let them be shock absorbers.

2.  The faster you paddle the smoother/more stable the ride

3.  When you launch, push off as fast as you can, so when you go from hands and knees to crouch to stand up the board is moving quickly as you stand up (see #2).  Start to paddle as quick as possible to maintain momentum.

Hope this helps..
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: WaterDog on April 16, 2012, 08:12:25 AM
Lot of great tips!  This should be a sticky thread or at least a must read for new SUP'ers.
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: headmount on April 16, 2012, 11:27:09 AM
BulkyBiker... I have troubles with "4.  Laugh when you fall off and get back on again--you're much less visible from shore than you think you are."

No one can see me where I go but I hate falling and swear vehemently when I do because no one (except for maybe PBill) can hear me.  I just pissed at myself but I also enjoy swearing loud.

In this politically correct world I can use all those wonderful swear words that have so much nostalgia attached to them.  
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: Bulky on April 16, 2012, 03:55:36 PM
Point taken, headmount.  Good boy that I am, I forgot about the visceral satisfaction that comes from screaming expletives on the high seas.

In the spirit of Peter Venkman "Actually, it's more of a guideline than a rule." ;)

Happy f@#king paddling, Pottymouth!
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: adios pantalones on April 16, 2012, 06:58:04 PM
Forgot an old favorite, blow your dough on a decent paddle to start.

Buy a beater for your first board... you WILL ding it! Once you're confident move up to that shiny new board. There's a reason board for sale ads outnumber used paddle ads about 10:1.
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: ObviousSup on April 17, 2012, 12:54:24 AM
Point taken, headmount.  Good boy that I am, I forgot about the visceral satisfaction that comes from screaming expletives on the high seas.

In the spirit of Peter Venkman "Actually, it's more of a guideline than a rule." ;)

Happy f@#king paddling, Pottymouth!

Those of us inland have to remember sound carries across likes pretty well. Every Memorial Day we do a big "camping" trip next to a small lake. A woman in one of the groups that goes up with us has issues with fishing. She really really really needs to catch a big fish. Every time she hooks one and loses it everyone around the lake can hear her cussing and ranting. The first time her husband nearly fell out of the boat because he knew she had no idea that the whole campground could hear her.  I am looking forward to seeing what new phrases she comes up with this year.  ;D
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: blueplanetsurf on April 17, 2012, 02:13:33 AM
I sometimes yell and curse after a stupid move, but I do it underwater, so nobody can hear ;D. 
I find that if I get too upset with myself, I screw up even more.  So, if that happens, I try to breathe, relax and just have fun and everything starts to flow better.
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: headmount on April 17, 2012, 11:45:24 AM
It's so loud where we go, it sounds like you're standing behind a 747 all the time.  PBill says stuff to me when we're 10 feet away and I just nod like I can hear him.  So it's as virtually inaudible  as Blueplanet's underwater yell which I also do. 

But yeah you have to swear without emotional attachment.  It's a beautiful thing.  Gets you to exhale.
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: PonoBill on April 17, 2012, 12:31:59 PM
I have a hard time distinguishing expletives from normal vocabulary. After six fucking years in the fucking navy it's pretty automatic.
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: nepaddlesurf on May 02, 2012, 06:53:44 PM
Here's the link to my SUP Instructional series that's beginning to roll out at SUPTV: http://www.youtube.com/user/StandUpPaddlingTV?feature=watch (http://www.youtube.com/user/StandUpPaddlingTV?feature=watch)
Most of these videos are geared towards beginners.  One new video each week for the next 3-4 months. 
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: Deadbait on May 02, 2012, 07:37:33 PM
That was a nice video, nepaddlesurf, well made, and informational.

I'll be looking out for more.
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: mittenkitten on May 17, 2012, 07:42:24 PM
Speaking of wind blown and choppy days... how do you best keep your board from being turned around when attempting to go into the wind??? I've been using the explicative method but it doesn't seem to get me very far, ha!
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: PonoBill on May 17, 2012, 08:34:41 PM
Speaking of wind blown and choppy days... how do you best keep your board from being turned around when attempting to go into the wind??? I've been using the explicative method but it doesn't seem to get me very far, ha!

Try choking down on the paddle and bending your knees and back a bit. Especially reach down with your lower hand but bring the top hand down as well. Holding the shaft vertically with your upper hand drops your elbow down and catches less wind (it matters). With your lower hand well down on the shaft you have a bit better leverage and you can angle the paddle more effectively to steer.

Change hands often, don't let the board veer too much. Once it start going you have greater and greater area exposed to the wind and it's much harder to bring it back--keep it as straight as you can, even if that means swapping every two strokes.

Shuffle forward on the board as far as you can comfortably stand and balance. The expanse of board behind you is like feathers on an arrow. And pushing the nose down give the wind less area to shove around. Stay low, paddle hard, and keep cursing.

Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: mittenkitten on May 17, 2012, 08:48:57 PM
Thanks PonoBill - it's funny that I actually found myself doing some of the stuff you mentioned (moving forward to push the nose down, constantly switching hands to stay straight). I'll have to try choking down on the paddle and maneuver as you described  - I've found myself going down to my knees a couple of times just to try and "hunker down".  I'm 112 lbs if I'm lucky, so sometimes I just feel as if I'm at the mercy of the wind weather I like it or not!
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: hbsteve on May 18, 2012, 06:38:49 AM
When you choke down, the paddle will want to flutter some.  The way to stop this is to extent the index finger upward somewhat.  Still use the same light grip. 
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: blueplanetsurf on September 20, 2014, 02:49:49 PM
We recently added three more videos with tips for beginners to our youtube channel, please share!

http://blueplanetsurf.com/blogs/news/15446597-introduction-to-sup-tips-for-beginner-stand-up-paddlers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32wnMwnWMXs&index=2&list=PL0SxFTHHwMFXyyMdBpoWGZIK6FvLFwlHX

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okIPrXjAJe4&index=3&list=PL0SxFTHHwMFXyyMdBpoWGZIK6FvLFwlHX

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCpFF94HlaU&list=PL0SxFTHHwMFXyyMdBpoWGZIK6FvLFwlHX&index=4
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: Eagle on October 04, 2014, 10:40:44 AM
Take a lesson or ask someone who you trust and respect go with you for a short paddle.  Generally all you need are a few good tips and you should be fine.

Here is a brief list of oldies but goodies:
1.    Use a stable board
2.    Start in flat water
3.    Stand at the centre balance point of the board
4.    Use a paddle length that is comfortable for your height
5.    Stand relaxed in an balanced stance
6.    Look at the horizon and not at your shaking feet
7.    Start paddling and learn how to turn and stop
8.    Take a break - smile and relax
9.    Repeat

So many have learned just by following these tips.
Yes - beware it can be addicting and a ton of fun!

 8)
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: blueplanetsurf on May 24, 2015, 10:45:31 PM
Here is another SUP Tips for beginners video:  Falling in safely, flipping the board over and getting back on.
https://youtu.be/FyQsaE-wZWc
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: Badger on May 25, 2015, 02:56:35 AM
If you are just starting out and you go for a flatwater paddle with the intention of returning to the spot you put in, always paddle upwind from your starting point. Even if the water looks glassy, always check the wind forecast before heading out.
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: Area 10 on May 25, 2015, 06:46:10 AM
Thanks PonoBill - it's funny that I actually found myself doing some of the stuff you mentioned (moving forward to push the nose down, constantly switching hands to stay straight). I'll have to try choking down on the paddle and maneuver as you described  - I've found myself going down to my knees a couple of times just to try and "hunker down".  I'm 112 lbs if I'm lucky, so sometimes I just feel as if I'm at the mercy of the wind weather I like it or not!
Take a look at your fin. If it has any of these three things, it will make the board tend to weathervane much more, and will make quartering wind and waves harder: 1. A long base (the bit that goes into the box).
2. A lot of rake (i.e. is swept back).
3. Has a lot of surface area.

The most significant of these is the length of the base in causing weathervaning. Long base, high area fins anchor the tail of your board, meaning that side on winds and waves will act more on the nose than the tail, tending to turn you downwind. A smaller, narrower-based fin pushed forward in the finbox will make quartering wind and waves significantly more easy. The trade-off is less tracking and perhaps stability but unless you have real problems in that area, it's a sacrifice most people find worth making. Good luck!
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: cantSUPenough on May 30, 2015, 12:21:01 AM
Use your paddle for stabilization - think of it as the third leg of a stool.

When you paddle through a wave: go straight through (not at an angle), build up speed and plant the paddle into the wave and drive through - the paddle will help you stay upright.

On a right-hand break, the person catching the wave (or already on the wave) on your left has right of way - i.e., please get off the wave.  The reverse is true for a left-hand break. If you don't know what I am talking about, please don't go surfing until you do  ;)

If you fall off when surfing, do your utmost to control your board - it can hurt people.
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: Paddleboardshop on June 07, 2015, 10:39:25 AM
I believe one of the best things to start with in the beginning is getting comfortable shifting your weight to the back of the board to make sharper turns and keeping your balance .
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: Wetstuff on June 12, 2015, 08:56:59 AM
Robert,  A big thanks from us in the rear bleachers.  There's a 5yr old video on starting in surf I recently sent to a friend. 

Jim
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: blueplanetsurf on June 13, 2015, 03:48:17 PM
Robert,  A big thanks from us in the rear bleachers.  There's a 5yr old video on starting in surf I recently sent to a friend. 

Jim
I'm glad to hear that, thank you Jim, we will keep them coming.  I'm surprised how popular the older videos are, I guess the youtube video suggestions favor the older videos. 

For all Zoners interested in our videos, please subscribe to our youtube channel:
www.youtube.com/user/blueplanetsurf

Aloha, Robert

P.S. Are you the same Jim that used to make Wet Stuff rash guards for Blue Planet back in the 90's?  If so, do you still make the warm fleece shirts?  Those were perfect for the colder days in Hawaii.
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: Wetstuff on June 14, 2015, 09:52:47 AM
Ya Robert, me... it's funny, I still get the occasional call usually from someone in the NW; "You got any of them left?" When Malden Mills (fleece people) went Chap. 11 ..Skeiko Rubber started bringing in cut pieces of Lycra and were able to offer a good, 5-panel rash guard for $5.  ..the death bell started to ring loud and clear. 

I have had thoughts...If there was a decent resource for 4-way fleece  Naaah!   Nice of you to remember. Thanks.

Jim
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: HopkinsSUP on July 07, 2015, 06:17:31 AM
I think you can't beat getting out on the water at every opportunity.  Experimenting with new ideas and refining the old ones.
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: blueplanetsurf on June 01, 2016, 04:04:10 PM
We are putting together an 11 part series of videos with Stand Up Paddle tips for beginners.
I'm teaching one of our customers, Verena Mei, the basics.  Verena is a race car driver originally from Hawaii, she recently moved back to Oahu and took up SUP and has been a quick learner.  Here are the first 6 videos of the series, going over the basics, the next 5 episodes go into more paddle technique tips, I'll post them as we publish them.
Please let us know what you think of the "How to Stand Up Paddleboard with Verena Mei" series:

https://youtu.be/dAHtJLam45g

https://youtu.be/KOL2SZNswzI

https://youtu.be/l9_F-Md5px0

https://youtu.be/RSmYvU5c3H4

https://youtu.be/Lfa1YBD4Kic

https://youtu.be/OiFOwsYscV8
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: PonoBill on June 01, 2016, 08:16:42 PM
Race car drivers make lousy SUP paddlers.
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: TallDude on June 01, 2016, 08:37:15 PM
Good series Robert. I'm sorry to say Verena is way more attractive than you. She does a great job in your videos. I really liked the 'how to fall' video.
It's probably something that growing up in the surf I just never really thought about it in depth, or to break it down as you did.
 
On a little more intermediate level.  I try to always fall into the deepest water which is on top of the wave, rather than towards the shore and in the shallow water. I was surfing couple of months ago and the tide was dropping. I rode a wave a little to close to shore. As it was closing out I could see the reef maybe a foot below the surface. I jumped as high as I could over the top of the wave and landed on my stomach with my arms blocking my face. I basically bounced softly, flat on the reef and just scraped my knee. I new I was going to hit bottom. All my weight was evenly distributed softening the impact.

 I see people surfing and diving forward off their boards. It's like a suicide dive. A friend of my did that in high school and I can still picture him walking around school wearing a halo with the screws into his head. Don't dive head first off your board and try not to hit the bottom on your back either. Another guy a grew up with has been in a wheelchair ever since he hit the bottom on his back surfing years ago.  So lay back and roll face down with your arms protecting your head and face. It's not just the bottom you need to worry about, it's also the board. I always try to fall towards the back or over of the wave, that is always the opposite direction your board is going, and that's what you want.

Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: PonoBill on June 02, 2016, 09:05:49 AM
I always tell people "be one with the surface, fall like a starfish". But in an uncomfortable situation people resort to what they know, which is usually wrong.
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: blueplanetsurf on May 11, 2019, 12:40:11 PM
This is an older thread but our "How to Stand Up Paddle" beginner videos continue to be very popular on youtube, so we decided to make some updated versions.  This is the first one where I try to go over the basics in 5 minutes but later realized that I left out how to steer the board.  Comments are welcome, we have a few more "how to SUP" videos in the works.
https://youtu.be/ES2mShoQ3_Q
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: blueplanetsurf on June 01, 2019, 06:06:24 PM
Here is another new beginner video, the top 10 beginner mistakes, how (not to) stand up paddle. 
The #1 mistake: not wearing a leash
Special thanks to DJ for letting me use his "more no leash drama" footage as a cautionary tale, starts at 10:20

https://youtu.be/yD5AUo7S7Cg
Title: Re: Tips for Beginners
Post by: blueplanetsurf on July 06, 2019, 02:13:56 PM
Here are a couple more tutorial videos on how to turn the board:

https://youtu.be/O0As8-AMe6g

https://youtu.be/jIpkzGDrT9k