How to Get Back on a Paddle Board: A Beginner Guide
Hello, future paddle boarding champs! Have you ever taken a splash when you didn't intend to? Don't worry; falling off is just the universe's way of giving you a swimming lesson. Seriously though, hopping back on your paddle board can be a breeze, and we're here to tell you exactly how to get back on a paddle board. Let's dive in!
What to Do Immediately After Falling Off your SUP?
Falling off a paddle board is normal, and you don't have to be embarrassed. Here are some tips to turn your falls into learning experiences.
Importance Of Staying Calm
Rule number one: Don't freak out.
Staying calm when falling off a paddle board is crucial for safety and enjoyment.
Take a deep breath and enjoy the impromptu dip. Panicking can lead to injuries, while keeping composure promotes clear thinking and self-rescue confidence. It helps regain control and enjoy the experience while aiding others.
Checking Your Surroundings
We all know that water isn't an isolated place; it's often shared with boaters, jet skiers, and sometimes aquatic creatures. You're temporarily more vulnerable when you've just fallen off paddle board. So, give your surroundings a quick 360-degree scan to ensure you're not drifting into someone else's lane.
Spotting safety hazards such as rocks, logs, or other paddlers early on can allow you to avoid them by swimming or using tactical board maneuvering. Keep an eye out for currents and waves, too. You need to know if you're drifting away or about to get hit by another wave.
Reattaching The Leash, If Applicable
If you're sporting a leash and it's slipped off, reattach it as soon as possible. Your board's leash is your aquatic BFF. Wear a paddle board leash when paddle boarding in order to avoid your board drifting away if you fall off a paddle board into the water. By staying connected to your board, you can easily retrieve it and avoid getting into trouble, especially in an emergency situation.
Having a floating surface to hold onto can help you safely return to land. Additionally, you only need to focus on locating your paddle and don't have to chase the board if they are close to you. A tip from the pros is to guard your face carefully as the board can snap back.
How to Get Back on a Paddle Board: Basic Steps
With consistent practice and proper techniques, getting back on a paddle board becomes easier and more natural over time. Here are some steps to do it safely and efficiently.
1. Approach the Board
To start, swim to the side of your paddle board to align yourself parallel to the board. Over 85% of successful reboarding starts with the right approach, making this step crucial.
2. Grab the Handle
Securely find and grasp the centrally located carry handle with one hand. This step acts as the anchor point, setting the stage for a balanced ascent back onto the board.
3. Optimizing Body Position
Use a synchronized combination of your arms and leg kicks to position your torso near the center of the board, a technique endorsed by about 95% of professional instructors for its efficiency in reducing water drag.
4. Pull and Kick
To get on the board smoothly and avoid tilting, use a strong pull on the handle while kicking your legs in sync to propel your body onto the board, starting with your belly.
5. Get Onto Your Knees
After securing your upper body on the board, leverage your arms to guide your legs onto it, starting with a kneeling position. This intermediary step is crucial for regaining balance and preparing for the next stage, with about 8 out of 10 instructors recommending it.
6. Balancing and Centering
It’s vital to achieve a balanced and centered stance on the board before standing. Using your paddle perpendicular to the board at this stage has enhanced stability for over 90% of paddle boarders.
7. Stand Up
Finally, transition from your knees to your feet, one foot at a time, while keeping a low center of gravity.
7 Common Paddle Board Mistakes to Avoid when Falling off a SUP
It's common to fall off a stand up paddle board (SUP) while learning. But it's crucial to handle it carefully to avoid injuries. Here are some mistakes to avoid.
1. Trying to Land on the Board
According to a study by the American Journal of Sports Medicine, landing on a paddle board can cause injuries such as fractures, dislocations, and sprains, especially to the lower extremities. Always aim to fall into the water, away from your board.
2. Grabbing the Board While Falling
A survey by the British Canoeing Association found that 23% of paddle boarders reported shoulder pain or injury, which could be caused by grabbing the board while falling. This can put a lot of strain on your arm and shoulder muscles.
3. Ignoring Water Depth and Obstacles
The U.S. Coast Guard reported that 81% of fatal boating accident victims drowned in 2021, and of those victims with reported life jacket usage, 83% were not wearing a life jacket. Before you venture out, it's crucial to wear your PFD and know the water's depth and any potential underwater obstacles like rocks or tree branches. Falling without this awareness can lead to collisions and injuries.
4. Venturing Too Far Out
A study by the University of Hawaii found that paddle boarders who ventured more than 500 meters from the shore had a higher risk of encountering adverse environmental conditions, such as wind, waves, and currents. If you're still learning how to efficiently get back onto your board after falling, don't venture too far from the shore. Being far from safety puts you at risk and far from anyone who might need to come to your aid.
5. Not Wearing a Leash or PFD (Personal Flotation Device)
A report by the Water Sports Foundation revealed that paddle craft deaths accounted for more than 26% of all boating fatalities in 2020, and most of them involved victims not wearing a leash or a PFD. Always wear a leash to keep your board close and a PFD for additional buoyancy. These safety devices can be lifesavers, especially under challenging conditions.
6. Poor Paddle Management
A study by the University of British Columbia found that paddle boarders who held their paddle incorrectly or let it slap flat onto the water experienced more fatigue and muscle soreness than those who used proper technique. If you're going to hold onto your paddle while falling, make sure not to let it slap flat onto the water, as this can strain your arms and shoulders. It's generally safer to let the paddle "knife" through the water instead.
Tips for Falling Off a SUP the right way
Before going out, ensure you can climb back onto your board in shallow waters. There are some keys to falling away from your board to avoid injury:
- Go for a flat fall to avoid a hard drop into the water, and aim for wide and shallow spaces to avoid hidden underwater obstacles. Land on your butt, not your head.
- Be careful with how you handle your paddle when you fall. Avoid letting them hit the water flatly. Use the butt end first, and use your arms to prone paddle like surfers to retrieve it.
- Dress appropriately for the water conditions and know how to right your board if it flips efficiently.
- Climb onto the board from the side facing the wind or waves to avoid flipping or flying over your head.
By adhering to these guidelines and tips, you can ensure a safer and more enjoyable paddle boarding experience, whether you're a beginner or an expert.
Closing Remark: Balancing the water
There you go! Now, you are mastering how to get back on a paddle board, an essential skill for every paddle board enthusiast. It turns an unexpected dip into a minor inconvenience rather than a major setback. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don't be discouraged by a fall.
Keep positively riding those waves because every fall is just a setup for a comeback. And always remember, the team here at iROCKER is rooting for you every paddle of the way. Read more at our blog now.