learning to standup paddle board

Why get a lesson ?

With Paddle boarding being the fastest growing water sport, more and more people are learning to paddle board. The attraction often stems from people seeing the tranquil social media posts, depicting warm tropical waters, blue sky and white sand. The reality in this country is often a little different, but what we don’t have in terms of tropical climates and clear blue seas, we more than make up for with our lush green countryside full of hundreds of beautiful lakes, rivers, canals and rugged coastlines.

Many people decide to teach themselves to learn to paddle board. Often people have seen others paddling and think it looks pretty easy, so just buy a board and try to teach themselves. However, bad habits are difficult to unlearn and it is true to say that with a little tuition, you can learn to paddle board quickly, with a development of skills including being able to paddle in a straight line and how to turn effectively, that will stand you in much better stead than blindly working it out for yourself.

At TJBoardhire we recommend having a first session at our venue on the Chichester canal. The calm, sheltered conditions, provide an ideal learning environment to learn and develop skills and allow quick progression for most people. Many people try to learn to paddle board on the sea, in unsuitable conditions and often end up feeling disappointed, frustrated and that paddle boarding is not a sport for them. We know that with the right conditions and equipment as well as good tuition from qualified, patient instructors that anybody can learn to paddle board.

learning to standup paddle board

How to find a good instructor

When looking for an instructor, firstly make sure that they are qualified. It is also helpful to look at what experience the instructor has, to consider if they are right for you. A quick google search will bring up an array of instructors in any given area and it can be a minefield to work out where is the best place to visit. If you are on Facebook check out visitor recommendations, or visit Tripadvisor to see what others have said about the company that you are considering. Any reputable operator will encourage customers to leave feedback and this can be a good way to gage the experiences of others.

Most paddle board instructors, learn similar structured lesson plans for teaching novices. This should include basic safety information, including risks of the venue and the fundamental aspects of paddle boarding, including an introduction to the board and paddle, stroke techniques, falling safely and some guidance on self rescue and how to turn your board effectively. A good instructor will allow plenty of time before getting on the water to ensure that customers feel equipped to take their land-based learning onto the water. Likewise, do not be afraid to tell your instructor what it is that you want from the session. If you are a complete novice, tell the instructor, or if you are very nervous, or have any specific health need or disability tell them prior to the session, so that they can make any necessary adaptations to your session. Likewise, if you have paddle boarded before and would prefer a session that focusses on development and technique then do let your instructor know. A good instructor will be able to provide guidance for whatever your level of ability. At TJBoardhire, we cater for many different groups, individuals, families and for people of all ages and abilities and can adapt your lesson to your specific needs.

learning to standup paddle board

Make sure they are insured. Any water sport activity poses a risk to the user and third parties and accidents can and do happen. Do not be afraid to ask for details of the type of insurance that the instructor holds, if they have no insurance than they should not be taking out paying customers.

Consider what equipment they provide for the session.  A good instructor or school will have a fleet of boards and paddles, from a reputable manufacturer that will cater for adults and children specifically. A good school will use inflatable boards for beginners, as these are extremely robust and limit the risk of injury to customers, as well as reducing the risk of kit getting damaged by new paddlers. It is very important to learn on the correct size kit for your age, size and height to reduce the risk of injury. Check if they provide wetsuits, boots and buoyancy aids, these should come included in any agreed price. Avoid the schools that do not provide kit as standard, as without the correct clothing and footwear, your experience will not be as enjoyable. If the weather is cold, check if they have suitable winter specific kit, which may include gloves for very cold weather.
It is important to know whether permission has been gained from whoever owns the body of water that you are paddling on.  If the instructor does not have permission, whatever insurance the instructor has, is null and void. Avoid the instructor who wants  to meet you at an unsocial hour in an out of the way location.
Progression
Once you have learnt the basics, you may decide to join a progression session to focus on skills, or join a river trip to develop your confidence on moving water. It is a great idea to join up with a club as this is a fantastic way to meet fellow paddlers and learn from one another. As you progress further, paddle boarding can open up a huge array of opportunities from the tranquil, scenic canals and rivers, to sea paddling, SUP Surfing, race paddling and even SUP polo and SUP yoga, so there really are options for everyone.
chichester sup club
Above all, do your homework before booking your first session. With a little research you should find a good school and instructor who will support you in your quest of learning to paddle board,  a great new skill that will open up a whole new world of adventures.
Good luck with getting out on the water and if you need any more advice than please contact us here.

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