The Paddleboarding Basics, according to Red Paddle and Paddlefast

The Paddleboarding Basics, according to Red Paddle/Paddlefast

If you have never been paddleboarding before, don’t worry, help is at hand. Getting started is easier than you might first think and doesn’t always involve getting wet, honest! (NB. That does depend slightly on your personal sense of balance…)

  1. Contact a local/nearby retailer or watersport centre. Chances are they have paddleboards available for hire, or lessons or even a demo day where you can go along and try the boards before committing your hard earned cash.
  2. What to wear? People agonise over this and to be honest common sense should keep you right! What would you wear to go to the gym, go jogging or cycling? Any sportswear is fine, although bear in mind it might get wet, so bring a spare set and a towel, just in case. Keep an eye on the weather before your session as well and pack an extra layer if it’s looking cooler than normal or a lightweight anorak if it’s going to rain.
  3. Naish One Barefoot in GardaFootwear vs no footwear? Personal choice and temperature rule here. I personally prefer to go barefoot but in the middle of Dec…
  4. Have a go. Don’t be afraid to just get on the water and get involved. What’s the worst that can happen? You’ll get wet!

The Basics

Assuming you have a leash, PFD and a paddle in hand, you’re good to go.

  1. Ratho Paddleclub demoFind the balance point on the board. This is usually either side of the handle in the middle.

  2. Start on your knees
    , with them either side of the balance point. Push off gently: the sooner you’re away from the edge (eg pontoon/jetty), the better, because you will instinctively lean towards it which throws your balance off.
  3. Check you’ve got the paddle the right way round (you’d be surprised…)
  4. Paddling on your knees - success!Use your knees to wobble the board – go on, see how far you can push it (it’s also a very good work out for your thighs!)
  5. You’ve got this – easy, right?!
  6. now the standing up bit… So, with the paddle in both hands, put your hands on the board in front of you. Transfer some of your weight to your hands and check your feet are on or next to the balance point, shoulder-width apart. Now transfer your weight on to your feet and walk your hands back til you’re in a standing position.
  7. Extend your paddle handle if you need to and now try the wobble trick again – how far can you push it before you tip in?
  8. Now – Look at the view!! It’s pretty awesome being out on the water, isn’t it? Your feet are fine, they know what they’re doing, so stop looking at them and enjoy wherever you are.


    Put your paddle in towards the front of the board and sweep outwards at a 90 degree angle. Your board will turn away from the paddle. To turn quickly, you can then ‘back paddle’ on the opposite side to continue the momentum.


    Put your paddle in the water just behind you and push down against the forward motion. This will slow you down, and turn your board so experiment before coming back alongside and wiping out in front of everyone!

Red Paddle into small carPacking up

When you come off the water, please remember the Adrenalin will wear off pretty quickly so don’t get cold. Get an extra layer on while you pack away your paddle gear, have a hot drink and some munchies in the car. I hope you took some pictures, or your friends did, because they’re all going to want proof that you went paddleboarding and did/didn’t get wet!!

Safety first

As a wee addendum to this blog post, please ensure that any time you go paddleboarding, you wear a leash at all times and a PFD (personal flotation device) or buoyancy aid of some description. It is a requirement on some bodies of water, such as Loch Lomond, to wear a PFD so don’t get caught out, but more importantly – SAFETY FIRST. These safety features should be included at any watersport centre or if you’re doing a demo with a retailer, if not then find another organisation to have a go with.

You can find details of our upcoming demo days on our Facebook Page Events section or drop us a line on 01324 861 756.

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