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In this article you’ll not only get the answer to whether or not stand up paddle boarding is difficult to learn, you’ll get insights into how you can get out on the water quick, even as a beginner. We all have to start somewhere, so don’t let your inexperience hold you back. Stand up paddle boarding isn’t hard. It’s a blast to learn and most people are able to get the hang of it on their first time out.

Is it hard to learn to stand up paddle boarding?

The Answer To SUP Difficulties

Stand up paddle boarding is an incredibly easy water sport to learn. Although it may look a bit intimidating, if you’re reading this post, you’re already off to a good start.

boy learning on prodigy - is stand up paddle boarding difficult article

We all have to start somewhere.

The only thing that could make stand up paddle boarding more difficult would be diving right into a pro level situation without any experience. Heading out on a narrow professional touring board in rough seas would certainly make paddleboarding more difficult for a beginner. But don’t worry we’ve already published several posts that will help you avoid those beginner mistakes. To find out how to make sure you and your board are ready for action, check out “How to Care for Your Stand Up Paddleboard” and “8 Things You Should NOT DO with Your Stand Up Paddleboard”.

Why is SUP considered an easy water sport?

Stand up paddle boarding is considered ‘easy’ because paddlers of all shapes, sizes and ages can learn enough to start having fun in no time with just a little bit of effort. Of course, perfecting your technique takes time and practice, but most people are able to stand up, paddle and turn on their first time out in calm seas without spending much time in the water.  It’s a great way to spend some time outside, get a full-body workout and enjoy the both the scenery and the wildlife from a different perspective, standing on top of the water.

attaching fins on Expedition SUP

Getting ready to head out for a paddle

So, why is it easy? All of the paddle boards in our line up are sized to give most people a stable platform to stand on. It’s much more stable and easy to balance on than a typical surfboard and you can take all the time you need to get to your feet instead of ‘popping up’ at just the right moment to catch a wave. From a standing position, it’s just about keeping your knees slightly bent, your weight slightly forward, and leaning over to take your first stroke. Because you don’t have to learn to read the waves and time your pop up in a precisely coordinated movement, it’s much easier to catch and ride a wave on a stand up paddle board.

Building On The Basics Of Paddleboarding

After a few times out, you’ll have the basics mastered. Then it’s up to you how challenging you want to make each session on yourself. You can quickly build a solid foundation with just a bit of practice and pick up more advanced techniques as you go along. You can dial in the physical challenge by picking calmer waters and paddling shorter distances or even floating along with a lazy river current. It’s up to you how serious you want to get. You can have a blast just splashing around with friends and family, or you can train seriously, build up your skills and endurance, and tackle ultra-distance, big surf, or whitewater paddling.

How To Make SUP Less Difficult

So, how can you make it easier on yourself? Follow these simple steps and stand up paddle boarding won’t seem difficult at all.

First, make sure you get yourself the right size and type of board.

We covered everything you need to know in two previous articles “How to Choose the Best SUP Shape” and “What’s the Best SUP Size for You?“, so have a read! If you’re still unsure ask the experts! Drop us a line at contact[at]thursosurf[dot]com or hit us up on social with questions anytime.

dog carries SUP paddle to owner

Don’t hesitate to bring a friend along when you do go.

Second, choose your waterway wisely.

For a beginner it’s best to start on calm, sheltered waters. That way you won’t have to fight the wind, waves, and current just yet. Once you’re more confident in your skills it won’t be a struggle, you’ll be riding waves with the wind at your back. 🙌🏄Check out “How to Paddleboard Oceans, Lakes, and Rivers” for a more detailed description of your options.

Third, get comfortable balancing on your board.

You don’t have to start on your feet. In fact, you can lay, sit, kneel or stand up to paddle. For your first time out we recommend a comfortable kneeling position to get started. Then, once you feel stable paddling from your knees, you can give it a go standing up.

Kids playing on Prodigy SUPs - is stand up paddle boarding difficult article

Paddling from your knees can allow you to get the hang of it before standing up.

Fourth, now that you’re on your feet pay attention to your posture and stance.

These two elements will help you build an effective and efficient stroke all of which adds up to you becoming a better paddler. For a full run-down of the best paddle stroke for beginners, head here.

From SUP Difficulties To Simple Steps

Pretty simple right? By step two you’re already on the water and by step four you’re off cruising freely, enjoying what the sport has to offer. There’s certainly more to dig into, but if your goal is simply to get out there on the water and give it a try then you already know everything you need to start. And, don’t worry about falling off. It doesn’t hurt and depending on what time of year you’re paddling, it can be quite refreshing. Heading out to snorkel or just dip from your board is all part of the fun. We’ve certainly seen our fair share of dives, cannonballs and even flips from the deck of a SUP.

swimming with branded hat - is stand up paddle boarding difficult article

Don’t be afraid to fall off, swimming from your board is an added bonus.

Final Thoughts On The Difficulty Of SUP

Stand up paddle boarding isn’t difficult and it’s an incredibly versatile sport. That means, as a beginner, you have countless options ahead of you. You can paddle lakes, rivers, or oceans; you can surf, cruise, or paddle whitewater; and you can do it solo or with others (tandem on one board or each to your own board). Get out there and give it a try!

Don’t forget to tag  #ThursoSurf on social so we can follow your adventures!


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