Why Do My Legs Shake When I SUP? What Beginners Need to Know

Paddle boarding is a great summer activity, but if you have shaky legs, it can be a bit of a challenge.

For starters, stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) is an unstable activity that requires you to balance on a narrow board which is challenging, even for people with good balance.

Shaky legs are common when paddle boarding, especially for beginners. There are a few reasons why your legs might shake when you SUP, including leg muscles that lack endurance for paddle boarding.

This article will share tips to help you stay steady on your board and have a more enjoyable experience.

Why Do My Legs Shake When I SUP?

One of the most common reasons for shaky legs is you are not used to standing up on a wobbly board. In addition, positioning yourself properly on the SUP can help alleviate shaky legs.

It takes a little time to get your balance and build up the muscles that keep you steady. So one of the first things you can do is start with short sessions on calm water.

Next, we will outline some best practices to help you with those shaky SUP legs.

Remember Your Stance

One of the most common beginner mistakes is not positioning yourself correctly on the paddle board. If it’s your first time on a SUP, you must have a solid base when you paddle. Otherwise, you will be fighting to maintain your balance. 

To help reduce fatigue and shaky legs, bend your knees slightly and position your feet shoulder-width apart. The proper stance will give you a stable base to help keep you from wobbling.

Finally, keep your weight evenly distributed between your feet as you paddle. These are a couple of simple tips to help you paddle board, confidently and avoid shaky legs.

Relax and Stay Calm

When paddle boarding, you should try to relax and stay calm. But, if your legs are shaking, it’s challenging to balance on the board.

If you tense up, take a break and sit on the board for a few minutes. Once you have calmed down, you can start paddling again.

Remember, the key to successful paddle boarding is to remain relaxed and focused so you can enjoy paddling without feeling shaky or unsettled.

Don’t Overthink Shaky Legs

Many people find that their legs shake when they first try paddle boarding because it takes a little time to get used to the feeling of being on the board and balancing yourself.

The best way to overcome this is to keep practicing. Eventually, your legs will stop shaking, and you’ll be able to paddle confidently.

With time, you’ll get used to being on the board, and your legs will be more stable. So, don’t get discouraged if you feel shaky at first. Just keep at it, and you’ll eventually get over it.

Remember To Breathe

There’s nothing quite like being out on the water, standing on a paddle board, and feeling the sun on your face. But if your legs are shaking, it can be tough to stay calm.

When paddle boarding, it’s important to remember to take a deep breath. Breathing may sound simple, but forgetting when you are out on the water can be easy.

If your legs feel shaky, take a deep breath, then exhale slowly. If you take a few deep breaths and focus on your stroke, you’ll be able to enjoy your time on the water.

Go With The Flow

Anyone who has been paddle boarding in choppy water knows it can be challenging to stay calm and paddle. The key is not to fight the waves but to go with the flow.

If your legs start to feel unstable, it’s essential to try to relax and go with the flow. Shifting your weight and making minor adjustments can also help you stay upright and avoid getting knocked over by a big wave. 

Try to relax your muscles, keep your knees slightly bent, breathe and focus on the horizon. Once you get used to the movement of the waves, your legs will be more stable, and it’s much easier to relax and enjoy paddling.

Take A Break

Take a break if you’re paddle boarding and your legs start to feel tired and shaky. Leg fatigue can cause people to fall off their boards, so it’s important to sit or kneel when you start to feel shaky.

If you need a longer break, lie down on your board, float for a while, and give your legs a chance to rest.

Once you’ve rested, you can continue paddling away.

It’s Perfectly Normal

If you’re new to paddle boarding, having shaky legs is normal. However, the fatigue you’re feeling is likely because you’re using muscles you’re not accustomed to being on a SUP.

Paddle boarding is an excellent workout for your legs. As you continue to paddle, your muscles will gradually get stronger and more resistant to fatigue.

In the meantime, try practicing good form and taking breaks when needed. With a bit of time and effort, you’ll be able to paddle longer and stronger without getting as tired.

Take It Slow

A common complaint among first-time paddle boarders is that their legs start to shake after a short period.

The best way to improve leg endurance is to start paddle boarding for short periods and gradually increase the length of your sessions as your muscles become stronger.

With a little bit of practice, your legs will get used to paddle boarding, and you’ll be able to enjoy longer sessions on the water.

Over time, you will significantly improve your leg strength and endurance.

So don’t give up – keep paddling!

How To Combat Shaky Legs When Paddle Boarding

For many people, paddle boarding is a challenging but rewarding way to enjoy the outdoors. It is essential to have strong legs to get the most out of this activity.

Check out this video for some exercises and training tips you can do at home to improve leg strength for paddle boarding. With strong legs, you’ll be able to enjoy SUP to the fullest.


Paddle boarding is a fun and challenging activity; however, it’s not uncommon for people to experience shaky legs while paddling.

Shaky legs are usually due to using muscles you are not used to. Also if you have been paddle boarding for a long time, your muscles may start to fatigue.

As you become more comfortable with the activity, your leg muscles will become stronger and more stable. With a bit of practice, you’ll enjoy paddle boarding without any issues.

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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.