So, you have all your paddle board equipment, and you are ready to get on the water. So the next step is to learn how to launch your paddleboard.
There are a couple of strategies to launch your board correctly. Following a few simple steps, you too can start your paddling journey on the right foot.
What Does It Mean To Launch A Paddle Board?
Launching a paddleboard entails getting yourself and your board safely in the water. If you have already caught the SUPing bug you probably already have launching your paddle board down to a science. But if you are new to paddle boarding you need to know the right technique so that you won’t damage your fins or SUP before getting started. Especially because some fin set ups can be quite tough to repair.
How To Prepare To Launch A Paddle Board
Before you do decide to launch your paddle board, it is best to do some preparations. For instance,
- Before heading out, make sure your SUP is in good condition.
- Check your inventory of supplies and safety gear.
- Keep an eye out for the weather forecast.
- Put on your PFD & safety leash ankle cuff before getting in the water.
How To Launch A Paddle Board, Step By Step
Now that you have all your supplies and know what it means to launch a paddle board, it is time to finally take that leap and do it yourself. In order to launch your SUP correctly, follow these east steps:
Find An Entry Point
When you want to launch your paddleboard, start by locating a quiet spot to launch your paddleboard. It is best to choose one with enough space and little traffic. And it would be even better if the area is free from rocks and other potential obstacles.
While you are searching for the spot, carry your board on the side of your dominant arm. Don’t attach the ankle leash until you find a calm area. If the leash is not long, it can snap, or if it’s too long, it may get tangled up.
You can make this process easy if you can manage to find a local paddleboarder or an experienced guide. The locals can quickly point you towards the best locations to launch your board.
Get In The Water & Place Your SUP
Once you have found the ideal spot, point your board towards where you want to go. Put on the ankle leash and PFD. Afterward, head into the water.
Ensure to have a tight grip on the carry handle and point the board’s nose towards the waves (if there are any). Otherwise, the waves will hit the paddleboard on the side, and take you for a swim.
After you reach waist-deep, place your SUP on the water facing the way you want to go. Lower your paddle on the opposite side of the paddleboard with the blade facing the nose.
Some SUPs have dedicated paddle holders. However, your board may not have one. In such cases, an accessory such as a paddle strap to secure your paddle in place is an excellent option.
Kneel On The Board & Balance
When your paddle is secure, grip the rails of the board with both hands. Anticipate the waves, and once there is a pause, it’s your cue to get on the board.
Keep the board stable with your hands and place your knees on top of the board one by one. Try to lower your center of gravity and focus your weight in the middle of the SUP. The focused weight will help you balance easily.
Keep looking straight. A raised head will boost your field of vision and help you balance yourself.
Grip The Paddle Properly
If you have managed to balance yourself and the board in the water, it is time to start paddling.
Raise the paddle on top of your head, grip the paddle shaft with both hands at a comfortable angle. Make sure that one of the hands is holding the top side of the paddle. This method will help you paddle efficiently and conserve strength.
The hand on the T-handle should help you put your body weight into each paddle stroke. Engage your core and use the big muscle groups instead of just the arm muscles while paddling.
Start Paddling & Get Past The Wave Break
After getting the paddle ready, there are two ways to go. One for the beginner skill level and the other for the more experienced expert.
For the beginner, you would want to paddle while kneeling. You want to get past the wave breaks as safely as possible. After you pass the breaking waves, you are clear to stand up and paddle away to your heart’s content.
The expert paddleboarder has the option of standing up from the get-go. With your experience balancing atop a SUP, it is possible to get past the whitecaps without much trouble. Though, you may want to start by kneeling if the water, weather is rough.
For the first few paddle strokes, take care not to sink the paddle blade too far into the water. It can accidentally hit underwater obstacles. However, It is okay to use power strokes after getting a bit deeper into the water.
Try Launching Your Paddle Board Today
At first, launching your paddleboard may seem a bit tricky. But, with time and practice, you will be able to get the hang of it.
An excellent launch will give you a boost of confidence, and you will most likely have fun paddleboarding the rest of the way. It is natural to accumulate a few scratches on your first few tries.
Do not be discouraged, as you will slowly master the art of launching your paddleboard correctly. And once you do, you will no longer have to worry about such accidents.