When first starting out on your beginner paddle board there is a lot to learn. Paddle boarding is a great source of exercise and enjoyment so there are a number of benefits to getting the hang of the sport.
One of the hardest and most fundamental aspects of paddle boarding to learn is balancing. Your entire paddle boarding technique will rely on your ability to balance on your beginner paddle board. If you are struggling to balance, there are a number of ways that can help you to improve your stability on the board.
1. Pick the right beginner paddle board
Right from the start, the paddle board that you choose is going to have a huge impact on your ability to balance, especially if you are a beginner. Firstly, choosing a paddle board that is the right size for your height and weight is important, ideally the taller and heavier you are the bigger the paddle board should be. The width of the paddle board is probably the most important feature when it comes to stability. Wider paddle boards are much easier to balance on than slimmer ones, so it is a good idea to start with these before moving to smaller ones as your skills improve.
Similar to choosing the right board, picking the right location to paddle board when you are a beginner is going to be just as important. For beginners, paddle boarding on calm and flat waters is going to be the best when you are first starting out. Locations like marinas, lakes, coves and bays tend to be more sheltered than open water, meaning there are less currents and waves to knock you off balance.
3. Keep your paddle in the water
Your paddle will be one of your best friends when it comes to balancing, keeping it in the water will help provide you with stability whilst you adjust your position on the board. The further you position the paddle out to your side the more stability it is going to offer you. Similarly, if you want to take a look around, keeping your paddle out to the side, flat on the water will allow you to look around without losing your balance.
4. Keep your knees loose
Although it may be a natural reaction to keep your knees locked in a tight bent position, this can actually have the opposite effect on your balance. Keeping your knees relaxed in a slightly bent position is going to be much better for your balance as your knees will act as shock absorbers for the waves and help to cancel out the impact on your position. If you keep your knees stiff then they are going to enhance the motion of waves and will be more likely to throw you off balance.
5. Keep your gaze straight ahead
Despite feeling unnatural, looking straight ahead of you instead of looking at the board is going to help to significantly improve your balance whilst on your beginner paddle board. Looking ahead means you are able to see oncoming waves and can adjust your stance accordingly, it also means you are able to see potential obstacles such as boats and move out of the way. Looking ahead is also likely to mean that your overall posture is better and therefore more optimised for balancing.
Using your beginners paddle board for the first few times can be daunting and learning to balance correctly can be frustrating. Practice is key, it will take time for you to be completely confident on the water, in the meantime, keep these tips in mind and see if your balance improves!