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4 Ways to Improve Your Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Today we hear from Bill Dawes at SupBoardGuide.com.

We’ll delve into methods to enhance your stand up paddle boarding skills. We’re not just focusing on technique; there are several key considerations you should be aware of. With over 15 years of coaching experience, I’ve noticed these points repeatedly, yet they’re often overlooked on the web. Let’s break it down.

1. Paddling Environment: Your environment, essentially your lifestyle, plays a pivotal role. If your paddle boarding routine includes long drives to unfavorable conditions, or if your friends are not supportive, it’ll be tough to step up. Maybe your job restricts your free time too. So, what’s the solution? Perhaps relocating closer to the water, adjusting your working hours, or even a career switch. Anything that gifts you more paddle time is beneficial. A game-changer can also be finding a paddling group for motivation. If you’re feeling isolated, tap into social media to find local enthusiasts. Rethinking and tailoring your environment to be more paddle-friendly is a key first step.

2. Equipment: If you’re using beginner equipment, you might hit a plateau. While there’s no issue with starting gear, it’s not built for advanced performance. Consider transitioning to a touring board or investing in a fiberglass or carbon paddle. However, avoid the misconception that the most expensive gear will make you a superior paddler. It’s not about buying speed, it’s about enhancing your skill. Although investing in quality equipment can boost your performance, ensure it’s tailored to your current skill level. Overreaching can be counterproductive.

3. Physical Fitness: This one’s multifaceted. Paddleboarding fitness isn’t one-size-fits-all; it encapsulates strength, stamina, flexibility, aerobic, and anaerobic capabilities. While flexibility is universally beneficial (consider yoga or stretching), strength training isn’t mandatory unless you’re addressing specific weak areas. Contrarily, you don’t need excessive muscle bulk for paddleboarding. Aerobic fitness, on the other hand, is crucial, but it’s not the only key. A common misconception is equating superior fitness with better paddling. In reality, technique reigns supreme. However, if you’re aiming to optimize your fitness through paddling:

  • Aerobic Session: Paddle at a comfortable pace for an extended duration.
  • Anaerobic Session: Go hard for about 20-30 minutes.
  • Interval Training: Alternate between intense paddling and rest.

Remember, paddleboarding in itself can offer comprehensive fitness. Supplement it with proper sleep, nutrition, and maybe a home-based core workout for maximum benefits.

4. Technique: This is paramount. You can advance in paddleboarding without necessarily elevating your fitness or upgrading equipment if you perfect your technique. Continuous improvement is achievable at all levels. I’ve discussed this extensively in other videos on the SupBoardGuide channel, so I won’t delve too deep here, but remember that good technique is invaluable.

Conclusion: To elevate your paddleboarding game:

  • Reevaluate and adapt your environment.
  • Invest in suitable equipment.
  • Focus on holistic fitness, with technique being the cornerstone.

We hope this information was insightful. Any more detailed questions, we’ll be happy to hear from you.

Happy paddling!

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About the author: Julian Kidd
I have been an avid stand up paddle boarder since 2009. I retired from a decade of professional kiteboarding to focus on SUP. Green Water Sports grew from this love of all things SUP. As well as being a keen paddle boarder, I'm a football fan, closet petrol head, web tinkerer, husband and father.