How to Paddle Board: The Basics

beginner paddle board

Welcome to the SUP life! You’re going to love stand up paddle boarding. Not only is it a great total body workout, but being out on the open water is great for connecting with nature. And stand up paddle boarding is a great outdoor activity for the whole family. 

If you’re a total beginner to paddle boarding, there are a few things you should know. 

Safety and Gear 

  • While solo paddling can be fun once you get the hang of it, we recommend bringing a friend your first time out. 
  • Children are required to wear a Personal Floatation Device while on a SUP, and it’s a good idea for adults too. 
  • The Coast Guard requires stand up paddleboarders to carry a safety whistle to alert boaters.  
  • If you expect to be out after dark, you’ll also need a light.  
  • Most people wear a swimsuit or board shorts and a rash guard to stand up paddle board. 

Launching Your Board 

Wade out to knee-deep water with your board. Getting on the board in shallow water should prevent damage to the fins. Lay your paddle perpendicular to the board. Grasping the sides of the board, work your way onto the board on your knees. Once you feel stable and centered, paddle out in the water a little bit on your knees until you’re away from other people.  


Once you’re clear of any obstacles, you can try standing up. Keep your paddle perpendicular across your board; it will offer you a little more stability. Keep your weight in your hands, holding your paddle, as you move your feet to the spots where your knees were. Once your feet are in place, lift your chest first, then extend your legs to stand.  


Falling off is a part of stand up paddle boarding; just think of it as a refreshing dip in the water! If you feel yourself starting to lose your balance, aim for the side so that you hit the water and not your board when you fall. Try to keep a grip on your paddle while falling. To get back on the board, position yourself parallel to the board, grab the handle, let your legs float up behind you, then kick your legs while pulling yourself onto the board with your arms.  

Now get out there and get started! The best teacher is experience, and you’ll find out what works for you pretty quickly once you're on the water. 

Best Stand Up Paddle Boards for Beginners

SHUBU Lūnr 10'4 - Inflatable Paddle Board

The SHUBU Lūnr is designed to get you on the water fast and affordably. A light weight, versatile board that loves to travel, the SHUBU Lūnr comes with our ultra-comfortable Honey Fomb heat embossed deck pad and neoprene carry handles for easy transport to and from the water.

[Shop the SHUBU Lūnr 10'4 - Inflatable Paddleboard]

SHUBU Kanaloa 10'4 - Inflatable Paddle Board

Kanaloa_Inflatable SUP

The SHUBU Kanaloa is our brand-new high-end board designed with high quality DFL Construction. It benefits from the performance, durability, stability and rigidity without the added weight and ecological impact. This SUP has 10 anchor points with bungee cords and deck tie-downs to hold gear. It’s the perfect board for paddling adventures!

Shop the SHUBU Kanaloa 10'4 - Inflatable Paddle Board

Sōlr 10'6


This versatile, all-around paddle board is designed with the family in mind and is wide and stable for smooth water paddling. The paddle is included with this set, so you’ll have everything you need to jump in the water and go!

[Shop the Sōlr 10'6]

Shubu Hydra  


The SHUBU Hydra is a giant inflatable board that holds 6-8 people. Designed with stability to promote efficient paddling in every condition, this board is perfect for getting the whole gang in on the SUP action.

[Shop the Shubu Hydra]

SHUBU Riptide 10'6


The SHUBU Riptide is a stable and sturdy inflatable paddle board made for the paddler on a budget.  This fun and travel-friendly recreational inflatable board gives you everything you need to get on the water and start paddling today. 

[Shop the SHUBU Riptide 10'6] 

SHUBU Kraken 10' and 11’  


This board works equally well for beginners and intermediate paddlers, and it's perfect for couples or families who want a “his-and-hers” board option. Available in two sizes – 10' and 11' – this inflatable SUP is built with exclusive technology that makes it stiffer and more durable than other inflatables. 

[Shop the SHUBU Kraken 10'] 

SHUBU Raven 12'6  


This is the best inflatable paddle board for any trips where rivers, rocks, portages, and less-than-ideal conditions make it difficult to use a hard board. With its tapered bow and accentuated rocker, this board creates a stable and confidence-building platform, especially under load.  

[Shop the SHUBU Raven 12'6]