How to Get Started Stand Up Paddleboarding

Stand Up Paddleboarding - Where to Start

Where to start Stand Up Paddleboarding

Starting a new sport like Stand Up Paddleboarding can be overwhelming. Especially when there is a lot of equipment you need to purchase. Many people can be put off by the expense alone. Others will be intimidated by the equipment itself and learning how to use it. Learning a new skill can be a huge investment in time and money. After all we’re meant to be having fun aren’t we? Today we look at what you need to start Stand Up Paddleboarding.

Some things to consider before you start

  • Will I need lessons?
  • Is there a need to join a group?
  • Are there hidden costs?

This article aims to address all of these questions and more. The great news is that you can start Stand Up Paddleboarding relatively easily and inexpensively. From there you can decide if you enjoy it prior to making any major investments.

Getting started stand up paddleboarding

Stand Up Paddleboarding Learning Style

One of the first things to consider when you start Stand Up Paddleboarding is your learning style. An analysis method that covers this is the VARK Method. This stands for Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing, Kinaesthetic. If you don’t know your learning type you can complete a free quiz here. Lets look at each of these four methods and apply them to stand up paddleboarding.


This method means that to learn how to do something, you learn best by watching someone do it first. When you start Stand Up Paddleboarding there are a wealth of resources that can help. Educational videos which can be found on Youtube is a great place to start. You might also benefit from going to a class run by a Stand Up Paddleboard instructor. If you have friends who stand up paddle get them to show you. You will pick up the techniques required just by watching what others do.


This method is one in which you need to hear instructions and advice for it to make sense to you. The best way for Auditory people to learn is to hear someone issue instructions. This can be in the form of speaking about tips and techniques. Joining a class where things can be explained in person and you can ask questions is a great option. This enables you to process the information in the form that best suits you. Media such as podcasts can be quite beneficial as you don’t require the visual component. Videos can also be a great resource for you if the presenter explains technique in enough detail.


When you start Stand Up Paddleboarding, reading articles such as this blog is the first way many people learn. For Reading/Writing learners it is also the best way for you to learn. You may search many different resources until you find the one that best answers the questions you have. You may also find that you retain information better when you make notes about what you have just read. It’s when we start to put into practice what we learn that it becomes cemented. For Reading/Writing learners this can be done by writing bullet points of what you have learned by reading.

Learning how to Stand Up Paddleboard and where to start


This type of learner is one who likes to figure out how things work themselves. For you, it is best to just get out there and do it!! Most probably you have considered the best way to approach a new skill in your mind and you just want to see if it works for you. When it comes to having any insight as to what is actually involved in balancing on a SUP, there is no better way to learn than to stand on one.

So now you know what type of learner you are lets look at how best to proceed. You may have found that you are a combination of 2 of the above learning types in which case it would be advisable to read the recommendations for both categories.

Trial Days

Most companies who sell stand up paddle boards offer trial sessions. It’s at these sessions that you can get to have a go of stand up paddleboarding typically in calm and safe waters. This enables you to experience paddling to see if you like it before purchasing a board. At these sessions you can get personalised advise as to what size board you need for your body and ability type and for the types of paddling you wish to do. This is a great way for Kineasthetic learners.

Local Clubs

You can find SUP groups on social media sites such as Facebook and from doing a google search such as ‘where can I stand up paddle in my area’. Here you can connect with other paddlers local to you and learn where to go and what you will need. This can be quite helpful in starting out when you still need guidance on local conditions such as water temperature and what to wear, tidal patterns if you are paddling in the ocean and legal requirements such as licences or permission for paddling certain waterways and if you need insurance. Local clubs and groups can help you learn what safety equipment you are required to have by law. In some places life jackets are mandatory. This is a great way for Visual and Kineasthetic learners.


There are many Stand Up Paddleboaring coaches in most places these days. These can be great if you want reassurance and some coaching in tips and techniques prior to setting out on the water. They will go through safety measures, provide all equipment and also give you tips on how best to manoeuvre your board. One of the best skills that you can learn is how to get back on your board if you’ve fallen off – because you will!! For many the idea of falling into the water is quite daunting. If you learn early on how to confidently get back onto your board in deep water you will feel a lot more comfortable on your board. This is a great method for auditory and visual learners. It can also be good for reader/writers if there is written instructions or information given.


You most probably live close enough to a rental company who again will supply all the equipment that you need for paddling and in some instances will give you a couple of tips such as how to stand up and how to hold the paddle. For Kineasthetic types this is usually all you need as typically you will want to learn the rest as you go. It can also be good for visual learners if there are others already paddling that you can watch. If the rental company also gives basic instructions it can be good for auditory learners too.

Ready to hit the water and try Stand Up Paddleboarding for yourself? Have a read through our Frequently Asked Questions page for a list of the equipment you may find useful and where to get it.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and that you may find yourself more attracted to one type of learning than the category that you usually learn in. Hopefully this guide has helped you take a step closer to experiencing stand up paddleboarding and seeing why it’s one of the worlds fastest growing sports.


Images from here


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