SUP Paddling Within the Ocean for the First Time

SUP Paddling within the Ocean for the First Time

Once I train starting SUP lessons, I’m usually requested how troublesome it’s to paddle within the ocean. Or what the distinction is between standup paddling on a giant lake v. The Huge Blue. SUP paddling on the ocean for the primary time might be an eye-opener if you happen to’re not ready for it. And it may be significantly harder.

Consider paddling on a lake as two-dimensional, with wind and a few water motion (normally from boats) to cope with. Then take into account the ocean as four-dimensional, with wind, tide, present and swell to handle. In case you don’t have your abilities dialed in, it may be disagreeable at greatest and harmful at worst.

You’ll have no want to ever paddle within the ocean, however if you happen to do, hone your sup chops on flatwater first earlier than paddling out within the salt water.

Listed here are some suggestions for making the transition from recent to salt water.

Earlier than You Go Coastal

  • Grasp the fundamentals on flatwater: have a strong ahead stroke, burying the blade fully underwater persistently. Don’t be afraid to “load” or put weight in your paddle as you lean ahead and plant it within the water.
  • Equally, know the way to flip confidently and strongly with a sweep stroke.
  • Ensure that your stability is dialed in.  Be comfy in your board.  Know the way it reacts to uneven water and understand how you react. Be assured.
  • Don’t be afraid of falling.  Have a strong remount.
  • Know the way to brace with the paddle.  Bracing is a key kayak stroke that forestalls capsizing and it really works on the SUP, too.  Discover ways to slap the paddle on prime of the water, or prolong it out and transfer it throughout the water that will help you maintain your stability and keep upright in tough circumstances.
  • On the very least, be sure you at all times maintain your blade within the water in difficult circumstances. Our first inclination once we lose our stability is to tug the paddle out of the water and into the air.  Study NOT to do this earlier than you paddle within the ocean. The paddle within the water is that “third level of contact” that retains us regular.
  • Have expertise in paddling in varied kinds of wind – upwind (into the wind) downwind (when the wind is behind you) and cross wind (when the wind is coming at you from the facet.) Completely different board shapes and designs react in another way to every of those circumstances.
  • Earlier than you paddle within the ocean, study wind, tide, present and swell and the way these 4 issues have an effect on the realm(s) the place you intend to paddle. Paddling off the coast of San Diego will likely be completely different than paddling in Florida. (This e-book is a good place to begin!)

Progressing to the Ocean

After getting your stability on level and you’re assured along with your fundamental abilities, transfer as much as the subsequent degree throughout your flatwater periods.  In case you can, do the next with a pal or group of pals.

SUP Paddling in the Ocean for the First Time

  • Paddle in areas the place you’ll encounter boat wake.  Use the boat wake to hone your bracing method and find out how your board offers with rougher water.  You don’t need to get unsafely near energy boats to get this type of apply. And keep in mind, you’ll be able to at all times sit down if you happen to really feel unsteady or unsafe.
  • Apply your board dealing with abilities when it’s windier than whenever you normally paddle.  Now, I’m not suggesting you exit in a Drive 10 gale, however strive paddling when it’s only a tad bit windier or choppier than what you’re used to.  In case you really feel unsafe, sit down and paddle in your knees if crucial. Put on your leash and PFD for certain!
  • Have  “play periods” the place you stroll up and down in your board. Apply transferring your toes from a impartial or facet by facet stance into surf stance. Study to do pivot (buoy) turns s and apply these.  This will provide you with confidence and it’ll assist you to study “board really feel.”
  • Take a lesson or two if you happen to haven’t already.
  • In case you can, paddle first in a again bay, sound or canal just like the Intercoastal Waterway the place you’ll expertise tidal move, present and wind, however in a extra protected surroundings.  Once more, go together with different paddlers, or an teacher or native who might help you study to learn the water.

Your First Ocean Paddle

Attempt to do that with an teacher or native who might help you study to establish hazardous circumstances and who can supply recommendation on one of the best locations to launch and land.  That is likely to be by means of an inlet on a calmer day, or it is likely to be off the seaside and thru the surf.  The calmer the circumstances for that first time, the higher.

Be aware of which manner the wind is blowing and the way that may hamper your return to shore, and whether or not you’ll be preventing a tide that might push you a technique or one other.

Ensure that your board is acceptable for the circumstances.  An inflatable sup beneath 12’6″ is likely to be positive in gentle winds and present in a protected sound or again bay, but it surely will not be acceptable for the ocean.

Notes on Inlets and Seashores



In very normal phrases, an inlet is a gap by means of a barrier island or land mass into the ocean.

  • They could happen naturally or they could be man-made.
  • Some could also be major navigational routes for boats of a wide range of sizes.
  • They are often slender and shallow, or large with a deep channel.
  • In some locations, they could be protected by jetties or sea partitions.
  • Below sure circumstances, inlets could make getting out into the ocean simple and in others, inlets might be pure chaos and insanity.
  • Don’t simply assume it is possible for you to to paddle out by means of an inlet and into the ocean with out concern. And don’t do it till you’re a assured and robust paddler, and even then, have an skilled buddy or teacher with you.


Likewise, launching off the seaside and out by means of the waves is likely to be simple on a peaceful day when waves are small and coming in at gradual intervals.  Or, it might be a recipe for catastrophe on a day with huge, dumping, pounding shore break.

  • In case you don’t have any sort of browsing expertise, don’t exit when the waves are massive, dumping and/or coming in a single proper after one other.
  • In case you’re on a a inflexible board, keep in mind, it’s heavy and large.  It could actually harm you and others.  So at all times have management of it.
  • ALWAYS put on a leash on the seaside.  In most areas, an area ordinance requires the usage of leashes within the surf zone.  And people ordinances can carry heavy fines.
  • Don’t put your self between your board and the seaside. Keep in mind, keep on the surface or ocean facet of your board, in any other case a wave might hit it and knock it into you, knocking you down.
  • Likewise, when carrying your board out and in of the water, keep on upwind of the board so the wind doesn’t push the board into you. That makes it laborious to hold and management.

Earlier than you attempt to surf your sup, or earlier than you strive a seaside launch, take into account taking a sup surf class or clinic. Or getting some assist from a seasoned pal. It is going to make your first expertise that rather more enjoyable and profitable. And you’ll study extraordinarily helpful strategies like studying wave units, the way to management your board, the way to deal with going out and over waves and the way to safely exit the water, amongst different issues.

You may not have thought in any respect about paddling in something however freshwater. However, you would possibly need to strive ocean paddling on trip. Maybe you reside shut sufficient to the seaside and also you’ve considered exploring SUP touring, downwinding or sup browsing. Ocean paddling might be extraordinarily rewarding and enjoyable, so long as your talent degree and limitations, are correctly ready and have cheap expectations.



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