Choose a safe place to learn away from reefs, rocks, other people, obstacles and on calm water. Always tell someone where you are going and check the weather and tide forecasts. Follow all warning information provided with your paddle board.
Once you are ready to approach the water and are wearing a securely fastened life jacket, ensure the leash is properly attached to your ankle. To carry an inflated paddleboard, stand beside it where the handle is located and lift up the edge nearest to you so that the handle is on the outside (facing away from you). Lean the board against the side of your leg while you are facing the front of the board. Pick up your paddle with your opposite hand and bend down to grab the handle of the board then lift carefully. Take care of obstacles and people around you and carry the board to the water. Ensure the rear fin is clear of obstacles under the water before placing it down in the water.
Once the board is on the water and you are clear of people and obstacles hold the paddle across the board and keep your hands in place (fig. A opposite). Carefully climb onto the board with your knees either side of the handle, shoulder width apart so you are evenly over the centre of the board on all fours.
Find your balance and carefully straighten your back holding the paddle in your preferred hand (fig. B). Try taking a few gentle strokes until you feel confident with how the board reacts to your movements and balance.
When you feel ready to stand up, place the handle across the board, bring your feet up to where your knees were and stand up straight to gain your balance. Don’t bend your knees or lean forward as this makes balancing much harder.
Get your paddle in the water ensuring the blade is facing the correct direction and pull gentle strokes close to the side of the board, from a short distance in front to a short distance behind you, swapping sides to adjust direction. Do not look down at your board, feet, or paddle. Always look ahead and be aware of your surroundings and obstacles.
Remember… ‘IF IN DOUBT – BAIL OUT!’
It is highly likely you will fall off your board at first, which is why it is important to stay in a safe area away from anything which may cause injury. To get back on the board repeat the steps above and try again!