Stand Up Paddleboarding can be a bit scary when you are first trying it out because naturally, you don't want to fall.
Common statements are:
- I don't want to fall and hurt myself.
- I am scared to fall into the water.
- I am scared to fall and not be able to get back onto my board.
- If I fall, my board will fly away.
How to Handle the Fear of Falling while Paddleboarding
Learn From a Qualified Instructor
Nature's Edge Tourism teaches tips and tricks to remedy all of these statements in our Intro to SUP Clinic. When you join a clinic, you’ll learn different remounting techniques so that you can live up to all the STOKE and SPLASH that SUP has to offer.
Practice Falling Without Getting Hurt
Falling off your board doesn't hurt if you learn how to fall. Yes you heard that right, there is a correct way to fall.
Learning how to remount and get back on your board - by yourself - takes practice. And the best way to practice that is intentionally. Yes, practice falling and getting back on your board in a controlled environment when you are calm. This will help build your skills and awareness for when it happens unexpectedly. You will know how to stay calm and remount.
Turn the Fear of Falling into Fun on Your Stand Up Paddleboard
Falling and remounting your board is possible and fun, yes FUN! Once you learn how to fall and remount your board or otherwise known as self rescue - a certain freedom is felt. You no longer worry about falling in. You are less tense when you are paddling and you will automatically start having better balance on your board because you gain the confidence to know that if you fall, you know how to get back on and up.
Plus if it is HOT outside there is nothing better than paddling to work up a sweat, and then cannonballing off your board to cool down or going for a swim.
Use Safety Precautions When You’re Out Stand Up Paddle Boarding
Falling into the water is not scary if you know how to assess your environment and know how to look and mitigate for risks.
You should never paddle out without a leash. Reason being: if you fall, and are wearing a leash, your board is never far away. It is very hard to sink a paddleboard.
But it is very easy to lose one, especially on a windy day, if you are not wearing a leash. Wearing a leash can literally save your life.
Questions and Answers About Falling Off Your SUP Board
How do I stop falling off my paddleboard?
It depends on a lot of factors. If you have an inflatable board you have to make sure the board is inflated to the maximum PSI in order to have the most rigidity possible for the inflatable board.
It is also important to make sure that you are using a board that is a fit for the rider/paddler weight. Falling off the board is part of the fun and it is important to learn how to fall off the board and to remount the board (a self rescue). It is best to practice this in a controlled environment.
Make sure that your paddle stance is in the best zone - in the centre of the board with each foot on either side of the board handle. Make sure toes are facing forward and each foot is in the centre of each side between the handle and board edge.
Try paddling with bent knees and get comfortable with the ability to shift your weight on each foot as well as different paddle stances.
When raising from knees to standing - practice on dryland first and use your paddle as a brace. when you rise - look forward and then get your paddle into the water once you are standing with small forward strokes. You are always most stable when your paddle is in the water.
How safe is stand up paddle boarding?
Paddleboarding can be very safe if you practice safe paddling practices and common sense.
Do not paddle alone on your first time.
Know your water source.
Let a contact know your float plan.
Know the air, wind and water temperature - check out this post for more information.
It is important to know the risks and any obstructions if possible for the water source where you are going to paddle - such as submerged trees, dams, other watercraft etc.
Make sure that you know your equipment and how to use it - in particular where to stand on the board and efficient paddle strokes.
It is so important to have a PFD on, a leash, your paddle, a whistle on your PFD, a throw rope, and dry bag with water, snacks and a small first aid kit and your phone in a waterproof phone case.
If you are paddling in dusk or dawn, bring a waterpoof light source.
Do not paddle when you hear thunder or see lighting; get off the water as soon as possible.
Is it easy to fall in paddleboard?
Yes and that is half the fun!!! When you expect that you might get wet, and you reframe your mindset to be okay with falling safely, you might find you enjoy the occasional dip in the water.
How do you get back on a paddleboard after falling?
Practice remounting - there are YouTube videos that cover different techniques. We also practice it in clinics so that you go out feeling comfortable and safe.
Why am I so wobbly on a paddleboard?
It could be a number of things - what type of board do you have? Is it inflated up to a the maximum PSI? Are you standing in the correct place on the board? Are you wearing footwear that is sticking to the board decking? Do yo have correct paddle stance and is your paddle technique correct? Are you bending your knees?
Is it hard to get back on a paddleboard after falling?
It depends on your weight, flexibility, the type of board you have, and your abilities. With some tips and tricks and with some practice it becomes easier to remount the board.
Should you lock or bend your knees when paddle boarding?
Bent knees please. This stance increases your stability and prevents injuries while paddling.
Getting Over the Fear of Falling So You Can Enjoy Stand Up Paddleboarding
The fear of falling shouldn't ever deter you from enjoying the exhilarating experience of stand-up paddleboarding (SUP).
By seeking guidance from qualified instructors and participating in introductory clinics, you can learn valuable techniques for remounting your board and overcoming the fear of falling. It is essential to practice falling intentionally in a controlled environment, as it helps build your skills and confidence for unexpected situations. Once you master the art of falling and remounting, you'll discover a sense of liberation and joy on the water.
Embracing safety precautions such as wearing a leash and assessing the environment will further enhance your SUP experience, ensuring that you can fully immerse yourself in the excitement and splendor that SUP has to offer.
So don't let the fear hold you back. Dive in, conquer your apprehensions, and embark on your first or next unforgettable paddle boarding adventure!