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Paddle Boarding For Beginners – Tips and Tricks

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Stand up paddle boarding (or SUP boarding) is a great way to get out and explore the USVI from a different vantage point. Whether you are looking down into the crystal clear water or gazing out onto the horizon, there really is no bad view standing on top of the water. That being said, we can’t say much for the sights you are going to see when you lose your balance and take a surprise (but refreshing!) dip in the ocean.

Don’t be that guy or gal, check out these tips to staying vertical on your SUP board.

Getting Up

  • Start by standing next to your board in about knee-deep water – just so the fin of the board doesn’t scrape against the ocean floor (if you aren’t deep enough your SUP board just turned into a stationary SUP board)
  • Grab the edges of the board on each side and slowly make your way on – start with your knees in the middle of the board facing the front, your knees and legs should be parallel with the board – tip, find the middle of the board by locating the carrying handle
  • One leg at a time – replace your knee with your foot in the middle of the board. Rather than try to get up in one quick motion, slowly raise your chest with knees bent until you feel stable and balanced

Paddling

  • Your hand on the grip at the top of the paddle should always be the opposite of the side of the board you are paddling on, when you switch sides don’t forget to switch hands
  • Your bottom hand should be lower down on the paddle, and your arm relatively straight
  • Dig the end of the teardrop end deep into the water when paddling and pull it all the way through on each stroke – you should put the paddle at an angle in front of you, not straight down beside you at the beginning of your stroke
  • To keep your board going straight – alternate each side of the board between strokes
  • To turn your board – paddle on the opposite side of the direction you want to go

Balance

  • Once you’re standing, keep feet in the center of the board (near the carrying handle) and hip-width apart. Don’t get fancy with your stance! Keep things parallel and planted
  • Keep your gaze at the horizon, especially when you feel yourself start to wobble!
  • Pay attention and learn how to read the water, if you feel like it is going to get rough don’t be afraid to go back down to your knees

Getting BACK Up

  • Position yourself next to your board and close to the carrying handle, grab the handle and allow your legs to float to the surface behind you
  • Kick your legs in the water as you slide your belly onto the board – it’s all about momentum here!
  • Find your balance and use your knees to get back up

SUP boarding is like getting a backstage pass to explore the USVI – don’t miss out on the chance to see the islands from a different angle. Virgin Islands Ecotours offers SUP rentals by the week (we’ll deliver to your villa!), by the day (everyone’s favorite, including a Honeymoon Beach Day Pass), or on St. Thomas at the Mangrove Lagoon book a SUP tour to explore the Marine Sanctuary and Wildlife Reserve.



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