15 Essential Tips to Master Stand-Up Paddleboarding Quickly

Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is a fantastic full-body workout that people of all ages can learn to do and enjoy. We’ve collected 15 helpful tips to get you stand-up paddle boarding quickly.

A couple of key points before we begin:

Like any physical activity, your fitness level matters. Learning how to SUP will be easier if you already exercise regularly and are in decent shape. That means you will be able to learn if you’re fit. But it does make some things harder than they need to be—like getting from your knees to your feet, balancing on the board, or climbing on your board from the water after a fall.

The type of water you learn about makes a difference. It’s far easier to learn how to paddle boards on a calm, flat water lake than on a river with strong currents and hazards or on ocean waves. Spend some time practicing flat water or slow-river paddleboarding before you try SUP surfing, SUP yoga, or whitewater SUP.

Know How to Swim

 Even though you’ll be attached to your board by a leash and will wear a life jacket—SUP is a water sport. Knowing how to swim will make you safer and more comfortable. Being comfortable in the water reduces the fear of falling in, which will likely happen a few times as you learn. Swimming can enhance your SUP experience, especially on hot summer days.

Practice on Solid Ground First 

The easiest way to learn the technique of standing up on a paddleboard for the first time is to practice on solid ground. Get used to the motion of going from your knees to your feet while holding onto your paddle. Once you can do that in one fluid motion, you’re ready to try it on the water.

Find a Good Spot to Launch 

Choose favorable water conditions for your first attempts. Launch from a sandy, shallow beach on a warm day with calm conditions. Avoid mucky lake bottoms, rocky areas, and water vegetation.

Start on Your Knees 

Begin with a low center of gravity to get used to the feel of the board on the water. Stay on your knees initially, try a couple of paddle strokes, and get accustomed to the board’s performance.

Stand to Your Feet in One Fluid Motion 

When ready to stand up, recall your practice on solid ground. Stand in one fluid motion, bringing your paddle with you and planting it in the water for extra stability.

Keep a Wide Stance 

When starting, ensure a knee is on either side of the handle in the middle of the board. Keep your knees wide and, once standing, maintain a wide stance for stability.

Know Where to Stand on the Board 

Stand in the center of the board, straddling the middle handle. Keep your knees loose, not locked.

Know How to Hold the Paddle 

Hold the paddle correctly when using SUP boards. SUP paddles have a slight bend where the shaft meets the blade. The bent angle should point toward you, so the face of the blade is forward. Place one hand on top of the paddle grip and the other down the shaft at a comfortable height.

Keep Your Momentum Going 

Paddleboarding is easier when you’re in motion. Start paddling as soon as possible after standing up and keep moving. If you stop, keep your paddle blade in the water or rest it gently on the board for stability.

Use the Leash 

The leash is an important safety item. Attach one end to the back of your board and the Velcro wrap around your ankle or calf. It keeps your board within reach if you fall.

Learn How to Fall 

Expect to fall while learning. Practice falling away from the board to avoid injury and hang onto your paddle to prevent losing it.

Practice Climbing Back on Your Board 

Practice climbing back onto your board until it becomes easy. Grab the handle with one hand and the far edge with the other, kick your feet out behind you, and pull with your arms to boost onto the board.

Look Ahead, Not Down 

Keep your eyes focused on the water and horizon ahead, not on your feet. It’ll help you maintain balance and stability.


Relax your body, keep your legs and knees flexible, and feel the water movement under you. Enjoy the experience and take breaks by kneeling or sitting on your board if needed.

Take a Lesson or Two 

Invest in a lesson or two from an experienced friend or professional SUP instructor to nail down these tips and boost your confidence on the water.

By following these tips and practicing regularly, you’ll be stand-up paddleboarding with confidence and enjoying the beauty of the water in no time.