Paddleboarding is a great way to explore the bodies of water we’re so blessed to have! There’s no bulky boat or trailer needed for this activity and it’s a great workout! See the lakes, rivers, and oceans, from a whole new perspective! Here are some tips and travel ideas for paddleboarding that can help get you started!
Shapes of Paddleboards
There are a few different types of paddleboards and knowing what they are and what they do is essential to getting the right board. A planing board is one with a blunt nose on them. These are great for making it through waves. If you’re also looking to surf, this is the way to go! The other kind is called displacement boards, which have pointed noses. These are great for speed and get you the best work out. Then there are hybrid boards that have a pointed nose but it curves up a little. This allows it to cut through or go up over the water.
Size of Paddleboards
One of the most important features of the paddleboard is the width. The wider the board is, the more stable it will be. The narrower the board is, the faster it will go! You will probably find that many of the planing boards are a little wider while the displacement boards are narrower. There are all kinds of widths for each type and the width you need will depend not only on the type of experience you’re looking for, but your size as well! For instance, a person that is somewhat shorter will have a harder time with a wider paddleboard. This is because you need to be in the center of the board, but reach off to the side with the paddle. Having to overreach could not only tire you out faster, but puts you at risk for injury.
The length of a paddleboard is important to the type of experience you’re looking for. If you want to be able to cruise fast you will go with a longer board. If you want to be able to whip around turns quickly, you will want to go with a shorter board. As you can probably already see, if you’re a beginner, you’ll want to rent a few to see exactly what will fit you and your adventuring style best before purchasing.
As you take a look at the different boards you’re going to notice they vary in thickness as well. This is going to determine how much weight the board can support. The thicker the board, the more weight it can support. You will want to evaluate not only your own weight but also the weight of anything or anyone else you plan to have aboard, such as a child. Choose the proper thickness that goes along with the length you want.
Standing up on the Board
You can sit on your board if you want but it gets much more fun and you can get going faster if you stand. Getting up on the board once you’re out on the water can be a little intimidating at first because the board will rock back and forth and if you don’t get the right balance you’ll fall off. This is going to take some practice, so plan on falling off a few times. To start, you want to get up on your knees. Don’t try to just stand up from sitting. Once you’re stable on your knees get going with a few strokes and then stand up slowly, one foot at a time. Make sure to keep your weight centered in the middle of the board. Once you’re standing you want to keep a slight bend in your knees so you can easily sway your weight back and forth if there’s a wave or something in the water that pushes the board to one side.
Paddling the Board
This may seem like a no brainer but the way you hold the paddle will not only affect your speed, it will also affect the amount of pressure you put on your body! Think of your paddle as a lever. You want to hold the paddle with your bottom hand at the point the lever moves back and forth. Your top hand will be what pulls the lever. This means that the bottom hand doesn’t really move from its place. The top hand will do most of the work here while the bottom keeps the paddle where it needs to be. Pushing the top of the lever forward will push the bottom of the paddle back in the water, causing the board to go forward. Pulling the lever back will push the bottom of the paddle forward and send the board backward.
Now that you know how to go forward and back you need to know how to turn. Put the paddle in the water on the opposite side you want to turn, and then turn your torso in the direction you want to go. Pull the paddle toward the rear of the board as you move to get it to start to swing in that direction. If you need to paddle backward and turn at the same time, you need to change up the way you paddle and the way you turn your body. Place the paddle in the water on the opposite side of the board that you want to turn, but this time turn your body in that direction. Pull the lever backward just like you do with backing it up, making sure to bring it toward the nose this time.
Carrying the Paddleboard
No matter what size board you get, they’re still pretty big and bulky which can make trying to carry them awkward. There are a few different ways to try and carry them that help distribute their weight and let you get a good grip. Some have a handle that you can insert in the center. If you have a board with a handle you can just put the side of the board that doesn’t have it up against the side of your leg, lean down, grab the handle and then pick it up. If you don’t have one or this way just doesn’t work for you, there is hope! With the board standing on end, the nose on the ground, pick the board up with the center on your head. Then once you have it up in the air you can slide it over on your shoulder. If neither of these methods works, check with the company who made your board. You can usually get wheels that attach to it so you can move it without lifting it.
Transporting the Paddleboard
Now you know how to carry it, but how do you get it from home to the water unless you have a truck or another vehicle with a large cargo area? Purchasing a car rack will give you a safe and secure place to anchor it on the top of your vehicle. If you already have luggage racks on the top of your car you can easily strap the board to them. Otherwise you can order a rack for your board so it will be secure and some will even lock so if you need to make a stop on your way, you won’t have to worry about someone making off with your board.
You can paddleboard in pretty much any water that is deeper than your fin! Just ensure that you are aware of the current, weather conditions, and any possible changes in such, and change in depth. If you’re a beginner, don’t go alone. This way if you fall off and experience an injury you know someone will be there to help you back out of the water so you can seek medical treatment.
For another fun water-related activity to check out during your next beach retreat, check out our kayaking post!