I was recently asked to write some tips and hints for SUP International Magazine for beginners starting out on their paddleboard journey. Perhaps some of you are looking for that all important big Christmas gift so this will be important for you before Christmas comes and you open that shiny new SUP parcel.
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SUP International Magazine
Written by Ally Findlay
Last year saw literally thousands of people taking up the sport. Lessons were very busy and people wanted to escape the lockdowns of the previous year without being able to get abroad just yet. The waters around Scotland were filled with beginner paddleboarders all learning their own lessons. Here are just some of the top tips we have to ensure you don’t makes mistakes or get caught out when going out.
Check the weather forecast before you go but also make sure the wind is suitable for when you plan to return. If not you can go out in beautiful weather and get hammered by an offshore wind on the way home. It makes it quite difficult to get back to where you started. Windy or Met Office apps are very accurate and let you know what is happening where you are.
Buy a board that is correct for your height and weight. Lots of people took to amazon or online shops and bought the cheapest thing that they could find. If these boards helped you get into the sport then amazing. Lots of people will now find its the wrong size or not what they need. 6” boards can be much harder to self rescue from. Often a 4.75” board is going to be a better choice particularly for those lighter than 75kg. Buying the board that you mate has doesn’t always work especially if you are different heights and weights so speaking to a local retailer is key to getting something that is right for you.
We love the brands we work with. Please get in touch if you need any advice of help choosing your first board. We have access to a range of kit and lots of brands including Gladiator, Sea Lion, SIC, Starboard Anomy and more.
One of the things I always joke about with people who train to become instructors, is that we all become judgy of other paddlers. It’s not deliberate, it's just that you want people to paddle well. How many times have you seen that person holding their paddle back to front? It isn’t always that obvious especially when manufacturers print things on different sides of the blade. Make sure its power face down.
Image from Salmon Bay Paddle
With all this in mind, if you are a beginner paddler it is definitely getting yourself along to a SUP Safety session with a provider. The WSA iSUP Smart Course is ideal for those looking to be safe as beginners on the water.