SUP Beginner Tips

Getting Back On Your Paddle Board

As a beginner, falling off your board and being able to get get back on can be scary.  

But it is an important thing to figure out what works best for you, practice and get comfortable with it.

It’s not about if you fall, it’s when you fall.

Below are some important things to remember, tips and a few ways for getting back on your paddle board.

Falling off your paddle board

All photos thanks to Tony F Photography

Getting Back On Your Paddle Board

Important Things & Tips

  • Wear a leash! This will ensure your board is always with you and won’t get pushed away or float off.
  • iSUPs sit higher on the water. Wearing a PFD will also add extra height. Practice with your equipment while wearing your PFD.
  • Getting on your board is exhausting. Take a break floating in the water beside your board or after you’ve lifted or pulled your chest onto the board. Once rested, continue to get back on your board.
  • A common issue is having your legs under your board. Put the wind to your back and get your legs behind you to help kick and slid you onto the board.
  • If you’re wearing an inflatable waistbelt PFD, rotate it behind you to help get it out of the way as you climb back on.
  • Everyone is different. Practice what works best for you, your equipment and in different environments.

Getting on from the SIDE of your board

  1. Place your paddle parallel with your board on the opposite side you’ll be climbing on.
  2. From the side of the board use the carrying strap to help pull your chest over the center of the board. Kick to help assist.
  3. With your other hand grab the far rail (side) of the board.
  4. Keep pulling yourself up. Bend your knee or swing your legs around to the tail of the board where you can get back to the center of the board with your knees.
Getting back on your paddle board from the side

Getting on from the TAIL of your board

  1. Put your paddle on the center line of your board and push it to the front, away from the tail.
  2. Push the tail of the board down and slide your chest on.
  3. Grab the rails of the board or place your hands on the board to help wiggle, worm and kick your way onto the board until you’ve reached the center.
Getting back on your paddle board from the tail

Getting on your board with a ROPE or STRAP

  1. Attach a rope to the center handle of the board with a foot loop at the other end.
  2. Keep the rope laying on the center of your board in a neat pile.
  3. When you fall in the water take the rope to:
    • A: Use it as a stirrup or step to assist in getting back on your board from the side.  Follow the rest of the instructions from getting on your board from the side.
    • B: Use it to help pull you onto the board from the tail. Follow the rest of the instructions from getting on your board from the tail.
Getting back on your paddle board with a rope

Swim to Shore

  • This is not recommended as you can only paddle close to shore and be able to swim in all types of water and conditions.
  • If you choose to go with this option be sure you’re wearing a leash. Your board will follow behind you and will always be within reach in case you need a break.
swimming and towing a paddle board with a leash

Get out when it’s safe to do so, take a friend – make it fun, practice to gain confidence and learn what method works best for you and your equipment! It doesn’t have to look good. 

Watch the full instructional video:

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