How Difficult Is Paddle Boarding? Easy Tips To Get Started

If you’re like most people, the thought of paddle boarding for the first time might seem intimidating. But how difficult is paddle boarding?

Don’t worry. We’re here to help. Paddle boarding is easy to learn, and with a bit of practice, you can paddle like a pro. But, like any other activity, paddle boarding takes practice. 

If you are just starting out, there are some things you need to know to make your experience easier and more enjoyable. 

This blog post will give you some paddle boarding tips to help you get started. So read on, and don’t be afraid to give paddleboarding a try.

For more information, read our ultimate guide to paddle boarding.

Get Started With an Inflatable Paddle Board

If you’re new to the sport, an inflatable paddle board is a good option because they are stable and easy to transport. Hard paddle boards are heavier and not as easy to get to the water, but they can still provide a good experience if you are just starting.

If you take paddle boarding lessons, chances are it will be using a hard paddle board.

Getting Comfortable on a Paddle Board

One of the great things about stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) is versatility. You can sit, kneel, lie down, or stand on the board, which means you can get comfortable no matter your skill level.

Once you’ve mastered the different positions, you’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits that paddle boarding has to offer.

So, if you need a break from standing, you can sit or lie down if you need to get comfortable.

Sitting on a Paddle Board

Woman sitting on a SUPPin

Sitting is by far the easiest way to ride a paddle board, and it’s an excellent way to start out if you’re new to the sport.

To get started, place the board in ankle-deep or knee-deep water. Then sit on the middle of the board, near the center grab handle, to maintain your balance. You can also use your SUP paddle to help you balance if needed.

Once you’re seated, you can start paddling right away.

Kneeling on a Paddle Board

Kneeling is the first step toward standing up. So, after sitting for a while, work your way onto your knees and see how that feels.

If you feel yourself getting off-balance, re-center your weight and place your hands on the paddle board.

Next, it’s time to stand up.

Standing Up – The Hardest Step

One of the most important things to know about paddle boarding is how to stand up on the board. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it can be tricky if you’ve never done it before. 

Start by kneeling on the SUP, then slowly lift up one knee at a time and crouch on your feet. Use your hands and paddle to hold steady. When you are ready, straighten your back and stand up one leg at a time. 

Once you’re upright, find your balance in the center of the board and start paddling.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and keep your knees slightly bent to help you stay balanced. Paddle boarding can be a great full-body workout if you stand up on the board. You’ll need to engage your core and use your shoulders and arms to paddle.

If you’re having trouble standing up, don’t worry – it’s normal. Just keep practicing and you’ll get the hang of it in no time.

Look Towards the Horizon

When you’re first starting out, it is important to keep your eyes on the horizon. This will help you balance and stay upright on the board. Unfortunately, focusing on your feet is a common paddle boarder mistake and will make you more likely to fall.

You can start looking around at your surroundings as you become more comfortable. Make sure to have good posture and do not stoop or bend too far forward, or you might tip over. 

How To Hold the Paddle

Grab the knob at the top of the SUP paddle with one hand, and grab the middle of the shaft with your other hand. If you hold the paddle over your head, your elbows should be at a 90-degree angle, which is how you know you are holding the paddle the right way.

How to hold a SUP paddlePin

To paddle correctly, you want to keep your paddle close to the board instead of reaching too far away from your body, which will help you maintain balance and prevent you from tipping over.

Make sure to paddle on both sides to move forward in a straight line. If you only paddle on one side, you’ll start to turn in that direction. Paddle on both sides equally to go straight, and use your paddle to control the speed. You can switch sides by swapping the placement of your hands and bringing the paddle across the front of your body.

Don’t Be Afraid To Fall

Many people are afraid of falling, but falling off your paddle board is inevitable, especially if you’re just starting out. But don’t worry – it’s not as bad as it seems. The important thing is to get back on the board as soon as possible.

If you feel like you are going to fall, try to land in the water and away from your paddle board to avoid injuries. When in the water, stay calm and paddle back to the board.

Getting back on is easy – just place your hands over the opposite edge of the board and pull yourself up.

If you see people falling off their board, it’s all part of the learning process, but that doesn’t need to dissuade you from giving it a try.

The best way to get better is just by doing!

Is Paddle Boarding Hard?

So, how hard is paddle boarding?

With a little practice, paddle boarding is not as difficult as it may seem. Once you have the basics down, keep practicing and you will get more comfortable and confident with SUPs.


Now that you know the basics of paddle boarding, it’s time to get out there and try it yourself. With a little practice, you’ll be an expert in no time. And who knows, you might just fall in love with this new water sport.

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About the author
Steve Morrow
Steve Morrow owns Paddle About, an outdoor recreation and travel blog. Steve loves to travel, kayak, paddle board, camp, hike, and spend time outdoors with his wife and two kids. When he's not exploring the great outdoors, Steve enjoys writing about his adventures and sharing tips for getting the most out of your outdoor experiences. He has a lot of interesting stories to share, and he's always happy to help others get more out of life.