Our introduction to Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboarding is the ideal place to learn to how get started with paddleboarding including some useful tips & advice. Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboarding (also known as SUP) is an easily accessible & enjoyable sport for everyone of all ages. Paddleboarding can be done inland on rivers & lakes and can also been done in the sea. Its really up to you to decide what sort of paddleboarding adventure you’d like to embark on!
For first timers & beginners is best to learn on a calm river or in a lake before attempting to use it in the sea, as it can be a bit tricker & of course isn’t as safe. Theres a whole host of rivers & lakes in the UK which allow paddleboarding. Its always best to check the rules & regulations before setting out. There are also a lot of outdoor activity centers that host paddleboarding lessons & sessions, many of these places provide you will all the equipment you need to give it ago.
One of the big benefits to paddleboarding is that once you’ve got the board, you don’t really need any other equipment unlike a lot of sports. Generally shorts & a t-shirt are the best clothing to wear as they allow for maximum movement & keep you cool on hot days.
Once you’ve got your board & chosen a spot, its time to get started. For this introduction we’re going to use one of our brand new inflatable stand up paddleboard the Aquaglide Cascade.
Most paddleboards are around 10ft long so make sure to find a suitable area that large enough to inflate your board & of course always be aware of thorn bushes or anything that could potential cause you a puncture. The construction of paddleboards does make them rugged & hard wearing but its always best to be wary of your surroundings.
Start by getting your board out of the bag then unraveling it with the top side facing up. Untwist the value located at the backend of the board & insert the pumps nozzle. Once your happy the pump is securely connected, start pumping & filling the board up. Don’t forget to close the valve once you’ve finished! Our Aquaglide Cascade pump comes with a pressure gauge, this is very useful as it allows us to aim for the recommended 14 PSI. Not all pumps have a pressure gauge so bear this in mind, what you want to end up with is a rock solid & sturdy board.
Now that your board is inflated the next thing to do is attach the fin to the bottom of the board. Varying brands do this in different ways, some have moulded fins and other use attachment systems. On our Cascasde the fin is slotted & then screwed into the bottom. This method makes folding the board away afterwards a lot easier, as theres no fins to get in the way.
We’re nearly ready to hit the water but first we need to assemble the paddle. Depending on the brand, paddles can be one piece or in our case three pieces. Having a three piece paddle makes it easier to transport & can be folded down and packed away in the carry bag. Our three piece paddle simply clips together and also provides setting for different lengths which means you can cater the paddle to your size.
Once your ready its time to take the paddleboard to the water. Most SUP’s have a useful handle to carry them and you can support the weight of the board against your body. You’ll want to find an area for easy entry to the lake or river. Ideally not a few foot high bank but at times you’ll have to make the most of what your given.
With the board in the water, you’ll now want to climb onto & get onto your knees. Starting off on your knees will make it a lot easier to get a feel for the board. Its a good idea to have a paddle around on your knees to get used to the feeling. When you feel ready to stand, place the paddle horizontally across the board and then begin standing up. You’ll want to end up stood in roughly the middle of the board with both feet facing forward with a relatively wide stance. Unlike other boardsports you don’t need to be stood sideways on a paddleboard. Throughout the process try to remain relaxed & use your knees to absorb any movement in the board.
When it comes to paddling, you should have one hand on the end of the paddle and the other somewhere near the middle. Start paddling with the end of the paddle near the nose of the board and bring the paddle backwards you, finishing up around your feet then pull the blade up and repeat. If you need to turn, the easiest way is to paddle backwards and you can turn relatively tight & quickly.
After your session & getting the board out of the water, it’ll be time to pack up. Packing up the board is just as simple as it was to setup. Its best to start by removing the fin (if your board has a detachable one). Then simply out the valve & let the air out. Once the board has deflated, begin to roll it nose first & the rest of the air will be squeezed out. If you have the chance to let the board dry before packing up it’ll certainly save getting your car wet.
Photography by Marcus Woodbridge