Posted By Heather Rusick on 8/26/11 2:14 PM

Stand Up Paddle Boarding

The kiddies are going back to school, which mean summer is coming to an end. This is your last weekend to play in the sand and enjoy the sun, and what better way to end your summer then with a little paddle boarding session at the beach. Grab your swim suit, put some sunscreen on and head down to your favorite beach – it’s time to get your paddle board on!!!

What you need…

  • Stand up paddle board
  • Paddle
  • Calm ocean (for beginners)


Carrying the board to the water is half the battle! You want to make sure you have it tucked away under your arm and in the right position or you will be dragging it to the water and trust me that’s no fun!

  • Place the board and paddle on the ground, board facing up.  
  • Position yourself on one side of the board.
  • Grab the board on the hand hold (the hand hold is the hole in the center of the board). The hand hold should be facing out when you pick up the board.
  • Tuck the board comfortably underneath your arm. Hold the paddle in your opposite hand and head to the water.


It can be difficult pushing yourself, your paddle and your paddle board through the waves when you initially get into the water. Here are a couple of tips to help you get those treacherous waves:

  • Look for a calm opening in the water and place your board.
  • Wait for a set of waves to crash in and then push your board out to sea while you jump on, stomach first.
  • Paddle through the surf as fast as you can until you reach the calm ocean sea.
  • If a big wave is coming towards you, roll with your board until you are under it in the ocean, with your board upside down, flip back over once the wave has passed.


Now that you’re in the calm open sea, how do you stand up on the board? If you are seasoned you can  jump right up into paddling position, but if this is your first time, you might want to use these techniques to stabilize yourself on the board as you stand up. It can get a little shaky when you’re standing up for the first time and if you’re like me, falling into the water is not an option - paddler newbies beware.

  • Place your paddle horizontal and flat, on one side of the board.
  • Grab the rails of the board. One hand will also be holding the paddle.
  • Pop up to your knees so that you are in kneeling position, just behind the center point of the board.
  • Get a feel for the board and the water underneath you. The nose of the board should not pop out of the water and the tail shouldn’t dig in – you want your board to be even on the water.

When you’re ready, it’s stand up time – one foot at a time. Place your feet where your knees were and when you are standing, stabilize yourself. Remember your paddle is going to be in your hand during this time. Once you are stable, place your paddle in the water and start paddling.


The paddle can be tricky, I remember my first time I was extremely confused on how it worked. Here are a few pointers I learned along the way:

  • If you're paddling on the right, your right hand is lower and on the paddle shaft. Your top (left) hand is on the top of the grip. Vice versa if you are paddling on the left.
  • Make sure that the curved side of the paddle (the side that looks like a scooper) is facing towards the front of the board.
  • The hand on the top of the paddle is where you are getting your power from – push down on the top paddle grip, placing the blade in the water. Follow the stroke through until the paddle reaches your ankles. Pull out and repeat.
  • Paddle 4 or 5 times on each side and then switch to the other side, to stay in a straight line. 
  • If you are ready to get tricky and would like to try a turn, drag the paddle backwards on either side of the board.

Paddle boarding is a fun and fairly easy sport once you get the hang of it. If you still aren’t convinced you can teach yourself and would like to get taught by the pros, head over to SUP in Laguna Beach and take one of their classes.

Two of my favorite paddle boarding beaches are baby beach by our apartments in Dana Point and Laguna Beach. If you’re ready to jump into the water and try yourself, SUP in Laguna Beach has paddle boards has for rent at great prices, no reservations needed. Or try Infinity Surf in Dana Point, they have great rental prices too! Have fun and watch out for those kelp beds – you don’t want to fall in into those slimy things.

What beach do you paddle board at?