Paddle boarding is currently considered one of the fastest growing water sports in the country. Many people believe that this sudden interest in SUPs is because this watersport is much easier to master compared to traditional surfing, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, how to get on a paddle board in deep water is a common issue most beginners and even seasoned boarders struggle with. Our guide will walk you through the process of getting back on the board safely and quickly, however, you’ll need to practice the following techniques in order to master this skill in deeper waters prior to heading out to sea.
Key Takeaway: Paddle boarding isn’t easy. Like any other sport, you’ll need to practice this skill in order to master it. You should begin in shallow water before advancing to deeper waters. Additionally, when you throw a strong current into the mix, climbing back on a board in deeper water can be incredibly difficult. We don’t recommend paddle boarding on a fast-moving river or in the ocean until you’re able to perform this move quickly and safely.
Keep on reading to learn exactly how to master this skill.
A Tough Workout
Just like surfing, paddle boarding provides an intense, tough, total body workout. Basically, it’s not as easy as it looks. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a challenging workout, which is why it’s become a popular choice among athletes training during the offseason. Paddle boarding can be done in any type of water condition, whether it’s a large pond, a river, lake, or the ocean. Paddle boarding will provide you with a unique view of the water while allowing you to enjoy a tough workout, but many of the techniques require plenty of practice in order to paddle board safely in fast moving waters.
Mounting the Board
If your goal is to take your SUP on a fast-moving river or in the ocean, then your first step is mastering how to mount your board. When you’re a beginner, it’s best to start out in calm waters that are about waist deep.
While in shallow water, begin by standing next to your board. The paddle should be placed across the deck and can be used as an outrigger. The blade of the paddle should rest in the water with the paddle’s grip resting on the edge of the board.
To mount the board, hold onto the rail. Use one hand to hold the grip of the paddle, preventing it from slipping into the water.
When you jump onto the board, you should end in a kneeling position in the center of the board or just below it. From this position, you’ll need to focus on finding the board’s balancing point. The nose of the SUP should remain in the water at all times. If the nose starts to rise as you stand then you have not properly located the board’s balancing point. If you’re struggling with this part of the mounting process, practice this step on land until you become comfortable moving from a kneeling position to a standing position.
Once standing, make sure your feet are placed where your knees previously were, with your toes facing forward and shoulder-width apart. The knees should be slightly bent to improve balance. Beginners often struggle with balancing, thinking it’s a matter of balancing on the board using their upper body when, in fact, you should be balancing with your hips.
Getting Back on Your SUP
Once you’re comfortable practicing mounting your board in shallow water, you’re ready to progress to deeper waters. This type of practice will be especially important if you plan on paddle boarding in deep waters where a strong current will be a total game changer.
Falling off your board in shallow water is scary enough, now imagine falling off your SUP in the ocean, struggling against a strong current and feeling totally disoriented.
When you’re paddling around in a large body of water, especially the ocean, you must always be highly aware of your surroundings. When you’re paddling around, keep in mind that you’ll be in competition with other paddle boarders and surfers, in terms of space and waves. You should also be aware of watercrafts, buoys, and swimmers.
If you feel yourself starting to lose your balance and you’re about to hit the water, try giving the SUP a small push away from you as you’re falling. This will prevent your body from hitting the board before you hit the water. If the SUP gets sucked away by the current or due to a wave, make sure you try retrieving the SUP before you attempt to locate the paddle.
Focus on staying with your board, not the paddle. The paddle will be easier to replace and the board will provide you with a stable place to rest before you’re ready to try mounting the board. You can also wear a leash, which attaches to your ankle and the paddle board. This will prevent the board from getting away from you in the water. However, some paddle boarders feel that the leash can be a hinderance at times.
Climbing Back on Your SUP
Use the carry handle to help pull yourself halfway onto the board, if you’re trying to mount the board from the side. If you’re attempting to get back on your board from the tail, you can easily put your weight on the tail, sliding your chest onto the board.
Once you’re back on the SUP use your hands to paddle around so you can search for the paddle. If you’re paddling around in the ocean, stay down until you hit calmer waters.
Once you’re ready to stand back up, use your paddle to help pull yourself up by placing the paddle across the board directly in front of you. Keep the paddle across the board. Holding onto it for stability, bring your knees slowly to your chest, placing your feet flat on the SUP. Do a slow squat style movement to slowly regain your footing and rise to a full standing position. Begin paddle immediately, as soon as you regain your footing. Working the paddle will help with your balance.
Falling Like a Pro
- When you feel like you’re about to fall off your SUP, remember, try to fall away from your board. While your instinct may be to try and reach for your board as you’re falling, landing on your board can be incredibly painful.
- Instead, try to fall flat. Falling flat on the water on your back or belly can help to minimize the risk of hitting anything that may be lurking below the surface of the water.
- If possible, try to hold onto your paddle when you’re falling. However, if your paddle slips out of your grasp, don’t worry. You can easily retrieve your paddle after you’ve located your board.
- As we mentioned, some boarders don’t like using a leash because it can hinder their movements. A leash can also cause the board to shoot right back at you, causing a serious injury. If you use a leash, especially a coiled model, when you’re falling, try to protect your face by putting your hands in front of your face in order to prevent the board from hitting you in the head.
Choosing a Stable SUP
Choosing a board that’s well-built, durable, and stable should be your first goal. The iROCKER CRUISER Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board has a reputation for being one of the most durable, stable models of inflatable SUPs on the market. It’s also a paddle board that’s very beginner-friendly and perfect for both calm and rougher waters.
Finding the right board is crucial, but it can also heavily depend on where you’re planning on paddle boarding. To learn more, click here to read our paddle board buyer’s guide.
The skilled, seasoned paddle boarder will be interested in our article on how to make a paddle board. This guide will teach you how to make the perfect board for you, based on your skill level and where you prefer to paddle.
Overcoming Your Fear
Falling off a paddle board is a common fear among beginners. But no matter how much you practice or whether or not you feel that you’ve mastered paddle boarding, you’re going to fall off at some point. Because of this, it’s important that you prepare for any situation, especially when it comes to getting back on your paddle board when you’re in deep water.
Remember, begin on dry land, preferably a sandy shore. Then, move to shallow water. After you’re comfortable with getting back on your board in waist deep water, progress to deep water. With practice, time, and patience, you’ll be able to easily overcome your fear of falling off your board and master the skill of quickly mounting your board in deep, fasting moving water, easily.