7 Tips for beginners: What to know before your first paddle boarding experience
Paddle boarding is a fun and exhilarating water sport that's continuing to grow in popularity. Whether you're exploring calm lakes or riding waves at the beach, there's nothing quite like being out on the water with just a paddle and a board. However, for those who are new to paddle boarding, it can be intimidating to know where to start. In this article, we'll cover some essential tips for beginners to help make your first paddle boarding experience a success.
1. Choose the right board
The first step to a successful paddle boarding experience is to choose the right board. There are several types of paddle boards, each designed for different activities. For example, touring boards are designed for long-distance paddling and are ideal for rivers or lakes, while surf boards are designed for riding waves and are best used at the beach. When selecting a board, consider your weight, skill level, and the type of paddling you plan to do.
2. Invest in proper equipment
Aside from the board, there are other pieces of equipment that are essential for a successful paddle boarding experience. A paddle, ankle leash, buoyancy aid, and sun protection are all items that you'll need. When selecting a paddle, consider its length, width, blade shape, and whether you’ll need a paddle float. Ankle leashes along with quick release belts are an important safety measure, keeping you attached to your board in case you fall off. Quick release belts attach to the leash to then go around your waist which allows you to get your leash off quickly when you are in faster moving water. And don't forget to wear a buoyancy aid when out on any type of waterway.
3. Learn proper techniques
Before you hit the water, it's important to learn the proper techniques for paddle boarding. This includes how to balance on the board, how to hold the paddle, and how to use the paddle to move forward. There are many resources available, including online tutorials, local paddle boarding classes, and even instructional videos. Practise these techniques on shore until you feel confident and ready to hit the water.
4. Start in calm waters
As a beginner, it's best to start your paddle boarding experience in calm waters, such as a lake or a sheltered bay. Avoid paddling in strong currents or rough waters, as this can be dangerous and can make it difficult to control your board. Once you've built up your confidence and skills, you can gradually progress to more challenging conditions.
5. Plan ahead
Before you head out on the water, make sure you've planned ahead. Know the weather forecast and water conditions, and always check for any paddling or swim restrictions in the area. Bring plenty of water and snacks, and consider bringing a phone or a GPS to help you navigate. It's also important to let someone know your plans, including your intended route and estimated return time.
6. Know the safety rules
As with any water sport, safety should always be a top priority when paddle boarding. Make sure you understand the rules and regulations for the area you're paddling in, including any boating or swim restrictions. If you're paddling in open waters, it's also important to know how to signal for help in case of an emergency. When out on the water it is also important to wear an ankle leash and a buoyancy aid.
7. Have fun!
Finally, the most important tip of all is to have fun! Paddle boarding is a wonderful way to connect with nature, challenge yourself, and experience a sense of freedom on the water. So, relax, enjoy the moment, and don't be afraid to make mistakes. With time and practice, you'll develop your skills and confidence, and before you know it, you'll be an expert paddle boarder.
In conclusion, paddle boarding is an exciting and rewarding water sport, and with a few tips and tricks, it's easy to get started. Remember to choose the right board, invest in proper equipment, learn proper techniques, start in calm waters, plan ahead & stay safe.