Are you searching for a new way to exercise that is both fun and engaging? Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) might be just the activity you need to add some excitement to your fitness routine. SUP is an increasingly popular water sport that offers a full-body workout and is suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. In this article, we will explore the basics of getting started with SUP, learn about the essential techniques and skills, and discuss how to choose the right gear for your needs.

Getting Started with SUP

If you're new to the world of stand up paddle boarding, you might feel overwhelmed by the choices and information available. Here's a step-by-step guide to getting started with SUP:

Find a suitable location

Look for calm, flat water with minimal boat traffic, such as a lake, river, or protected bay. Beginners should avoid choppy waves and strong currents.

Choose the right board

Inflatable SUPs are great for beginners, as they are easy to transport and store, and provide good stability on the water. Hard-shell boards offer better performance and are suitable for more experienced paddlers.

Get the right equipment

Besides the board, you'll need a paddle, a leash, a personal flotation device (PFD), and appropriate clothing for the weather conditions.

Learn the basic techniques

Before heading out on the water, familiarize yourself with the essential SUP skills, such as standing up, paddling, and turning.

Practice in shallow water

Start in waist-deep water, and gradually progress to deeper water as your confidence and skills improve.

Techniques and Skills for SUP

Once you have the basic equipment and a suitable location for stand up paddle boarding, it's time to learn the essential techniques and skills. Here are some key aspects to focus on:

Standing up

Start by kneeling on the board with your hands on the rails (the edges of the board). Slowly stand up, keeping your feet parallel and shoulder-width apart, and your knees slightly bent. Look straight ahead and keep your weight centered over the board.


Hold the paddle with one hand on the handle and the other hand about halfway down the shaft. To paddle on the right side, place the blade in the water near your toes and pull it back towards your heels. Repeat on the left side, alternating strokes to maintain a straight course.


To turn the board, paddle on one side only, using a sweeping motion. The more forceful the stroke, the faster the turn. To turn in the opposite direction, paddle on the other side.


Maintain a relaxed posture with your knees slightly bent, and keep your weight centered over the board. Look straight ahead rather than down at your feet, and use your hips and core muscles to help with balance.

Choosing the Right SUP Gear

Selecting the appropriate gear is essential for a safe and enjoyable stand up paddle boarding experience. Here's what you need to consider when choosing your equipment:


Inflatable SUPs are ideal for beginners, while hard-shell boards are better suited for advanced paddlers. Consider the type of water you'll be paddling in, as well as your skill level and fitness goals, when choosing a board.


A good rule of thumb for choosing a paddle length is to add 6-10 inches to your height. Adjustable paddles are a great option, as they allow you to fine-tune the length to suit your needs.


A leash connects you to your board and is an essential safety feature. Choose a leash that is the same length as your board or slightly longer.

Personal flotation device (PFD):

A PFD is required by law in many areas and is a crucial safety item. Ensure that your PFD is comfortable, fits well, and is appropriate for the water conditions you'll be paddling in.


Select clothing that is appropriate for the weather and water conditions. In colder climates, a wetsuit or drysuit may be necessary. In warmer weather, a swimsuit or quick-drying athletic clothing will suffice.

Health Benefits of SUP

In addition to being a fun and engaging activity, stand up paddle boarding offers numerous health benefits, including:

Improved cardiovascular health

SUP is an excellent aerobic workout, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and improve overall cardiovascular health.

Increased muscle strength

Paddle boarding engages a wide range of muscles, including the core, back, shoulders, arms, and legs, resulting in improved muscle strength and tone.

Enhanced balance and stability

SUP requires constant adjustments to maintain balance, which strengthens the stabilizing muscles in your legs and core.

Reduced stress

Spending time in nature and focusing on the rhythmic motion of paddling can help reduce stress and promote mental well-being.

Low impact exercise

SUP is a low-impact activity, making it suitable for individuals with joint issues or those recovering from injury.


Stand up paddle boarding is a fantastic way to improve your fitness while having fun on the water. By following the tips and advice outlined in this article, you'll be well on your way to riding the waves and enjoying the numerous health benefits that SUP has to offer. So what are you waiting for? Grab your board, paddle, and PFD, and hit the water for an exciting and rewarding workout!