Paddle Boarding FAQs and Resources

Welcome to the PaddleOutside’s FAQs and resources page! Here, you’ll find a wealth of information about SUP, all in one convenient location.

Whether you’re looking for tips on improving your technique, advice on choosing the right gear, or just want to learn more about the history of paddle boarding, we’ve got you covered.

We’ve also included a section of frequently asked questions to help answer any questions you may have along the way, whether you’re a seasoned paddler or just starting out.

Use this page is your go-to source for all things paddle boarding. With links to informative articles and instructional videos across the website, we’ll help you get get your board and get in the water.


For the Beginner Paddle Boarder

Why Can't I Stand Up on My SUP?

If you are having trouble standing up on your paddleboard, there could be several reasons. Here are a few common causes and some tips to help you improve your balance and stability:

  1. Improper stance: Make sure you are standing with your feet parallel and hip-width apart, with your weight evenly distributed over the board. Keep your knees bent and your body relaxed, with your eyes focused on a point in the distance to help maintain your balance.
  2. Incorrect paddle placement: Make sure your paddle is in the correct position, with the blade perpendicular to the board and close to your feet. Having the paddle too far away from you can make it difficult to maintain balance.
  3. Poor balance: Practicing balance exercises, such as standing on one foot or using a balance board, can help improve your balance and stability on a paddleboard.
  4. Board instability: If your board is unstable, it can be difficult to stand up and maintain balance. Make sure your board is properly inflated and the fins are in good condition.
  5. Water conditions: Certain water conditions, such as choppy or windy conditions, can make it more challenging to stand up and maintain balance on a paddleboard. Try to paddle in calm, sheltered waters until you have more experience and confidence.
  6. Fear or anxiety: Fear or anxiety can make it difficult to stand up and maintain balance on a paddleboard. Take deep breaths and try to relax, and remember that it’s okay to fall off the board and try again.

By following these tips and focusing on your technique, you can improve your balance and stability on a paddleboard and enjoy this fun and rewarding activity.

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Why Do My Legs Shake When I SUP?

Shaking legs while paddleboarding can indicate that your stabilizing muscles in your legs are working hard to maintain balance and stability on the board. This is normal, and a lot of people struggle with this in the beginning.

The legs contain several muscle groups, such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles, that play a crucial role in keeping you upright and balanced on the board. When these muscles are fatigued, they can start to shake, making it more difficult to maintain proper form and stability.

To help prevent your legs from shaking while SUPing, it’s important to engage your core and use proper form. Keeping your knees slightly bent and your weight centered over the board can help engage your stabilizing muscles and reduce fatigue. Strengthening these muscles through exercises such as squats, lunges, and calf raises can also help improve your stability and reduce the likelihood of leg shaking while paddleboarding.

Taking breaks when needed and focusing on proper breathing and relaxation can also help reduce muscle fatigue and improve stability on the board.

Paddle Boarding and The Water

Can You Paddle Board if You Don't Know How to Swim?

While swimming ability is not a requirement, knowing how to swim can certainly enhance your safety on the water.

If you’re not a confident swimmer, it’s important to wear a life jacket and take a lesson with a qualified instructor. They’ll be able to teach you the basics of paddleboarding, including balance, steering, and safety.

It’s also a good idea to paddle in calm waters, away from any heavy boat traffic, and with a buddy. Make sure to bring along a waterproof bag to store your phone, keys, and other valuables, and always keep an eye on the weather conditions.

Can You Paddle Board in Shallow Water?

Yes, you can paddleboard in shallow water. In fact, many people prefer to paddleboard in shallow water because it offers a calm and sheltered environment, making it a great place to practice your skills.

Shallow water also allows you to touch the bottom with your feet, which can give you added stability and confidence. However, it’s important to be aware of any underwater hazards such as rocks or submerged branches that could cause damage to your board or injury to you.

When paddleboarding in shallow water, make sure to choose a board that’s suitable for the conditions. Some boards are designed specifically for shallow water and have a shallow draft, which makes them ideal for paddling in these conditions.

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Fitness and Stand-Up Paddle Boarding

Do You Have to Be Physically Fit to Paddle Board?

You do not have to be physically fit to paddleboard, but being in good physical condition can certainly make the activity more enjoyable and less challenging.

Paddleboarding requires a certain level of core strength, balance, and endurance to maintain good posture and control on the board. If you’re not used to physical activity, you may find yourself getting tired more quickly or struggling to maintain your balance.

However, paddleboarding is a low-impact water sport that can be adjusted to your fitness level. You can start with short paddles in calm waters and gradually increase the distance and intensity as your stamina and strength improve.

In conclusion, while physical fitness can enhance your paddleboarding experience, it’s not a requirement. With proper technique, safety measures, and the right equipment, anyone can enjoy this fun water sport.

How Do I Prepare for Paddle Boarding?

Here are some tips to prepare for paddleboarding:

  • Get the right equipment: Invest in a high-quality paddleboard, paddle, and life jacket that fit your needs and level of experience. Make sure your equipment is in good condition and fits well.
  • Take a lesson: Consider taking a lesson with a qualified instructor to learn the basics of paddleboarding, including balance, steering, and safety.
  • Warm up: Before you get on the water, do some light stretching or a short warm-up to prepare your muscles for the activity.
  • Stay hydrated: Make sure to drink plenty of water before and during your paddleboarding session to stay hydrated.
  • Know the conditions: Check the weather and water conditions before you go, and choose a location that’s appropriate for your skill level.
  • Paddle with a buddy: It’s always a good idea to paddle with a friend or in a group, for safety and companionship.
  • Bring essentials: Pack a waterproof bag with essentials such as sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and a phone or personal locator beacon.

By following these tips, you’ll be well prepared for a safe and enjoyable paddleboarding experience.


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What Muscles Do You Use When Paddle Boarding?

Paddle boarding is a fun, full-body workout that uses a wide range of muscles:

  • Core muscles: The muscles in your torso, including your abs and back, are used to maintain balance and stability on the board.
  • Shoulder muscles: Your shoulders are used to power your strokes and control the direction of your board.
  • Arm muscles: Your biceps, triceps, and forearms are used to grip the paddle and provide the force needed to move through the water.
  • Leg muscles: Your legs are used to maintain balance and stability on the board, and can also help with steering and maneuvering.
  • Gluteal muscles: Your glutes help maintain posture and control on the board, especially when making sudden movements or adjusting your balance.

By using a combination of these muscle groups, paddleboarding provides a full-body workout that can improve strength, balance, and endurance.

Best of all, because paddleboarding is a low-impact activity, it’s a great option for those who want to exercise without putting extra strain on their joints.

Is SUP Good for Posture?

Yes, stand-up paddleboarding can be good for posture. When you paddleboard, you need to maintain good posture and balance on the board, which helps engage and strengthen your core and back muscles.

Good posture on a paddleboard involves keeping your head up, shoulders back, and chest open, which can help improve your posture in everyday life as well.

In addition, the repetitive motion of paddling can help improve posture by stretching out tight muscles and releasing tension in the neck, shoulders, and back.

However, it’s important to maintain proper technique and posture when paddleboarding to avoid strain or injury. If you have any pre-existing conditions or concerns, it’s best to consult with your doctor or a qualified instructor before starting the activity.

Does Paddle Boarding Hurt Your Back?

No, paddleboarding itself should not hurt your back, but poor posture or technique while paddleboarding can lead to strain or injury.

To avoid back pain while paddle boarding, it’s important to do a light warmup before you get in the water, and maintain good posture and proper technique while you paddle.

Furthermore, if you get tired, take a break! It is easier to strain your muscles if you are feeling discomfort and fatigue. A break to stretch your back muscles is a great opportunity to get some SUP Yoga in.

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Why Do My Thighs Hurt After Paddle Boarding?

Thigh pain after paddleboarding is a common issue. Overuse of the leg muscles, particularly the thighs, due to repetitive movements while paddleboarding can lead to fatigue and discomfort. Poor posture and dehydration can also contribute to thigh pain.

If you have imbalances in your leg muscles, such as stronger quadriceps and weaker hamstrings, you may experience pain in your thighs after paddleboarding.

If your paddleboard or paddle is too big or too small for you, it can lead to improper form and discomfort in your thighs as your body strains to balance on the board.

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Troubleshooting Your Board

Why Does My Paddle Board Sink in the Middle?

If your stand-up paddleboard (SUP) is sinking in the middle, there could be a few reasons behind it. Overloading the board with too much weight or not inflating it properly can both cause it to sink. Additionally, a damaged or worn-out board or incorrect center fin placement can also be contributing factors.
To help ensure your SUP stays afloat, make sure you are within the weight capacity of the board, keep it properly inflated, check for any damage or wear-and-tear, properly align the center fin, and paddle in calm, sheltered waters until you have more experience.

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Why Is My Paddle Board Not Inflating?

If your stand-up paddleboard (SUP) is not inflating, the issue could stem from several causes. The valve on your board could be damaged or clogged, preventing air from entering the board. The pump you are using to inflate the board may not be working properly or could be the wrong size for your board. Additionally, there could be a hole or tear in the board or the material that is preventing it from inflating.

To find the root cause of the problem, check the valve and make sure it is clear and functioning properly. Make sure the pump you are using is working and is the right size for your board. Also, inspect the board and the material for any holes or tears.

How to Fix a Paddle Board?

If you have a damaged inflatable paddle board, fixing it depends on the specific issue you are facing. Some common problems with SUPs include punctures, cracks, and delamination.

To repair a puncture, you will need to patch the hole using a repair kit. For cracks, you can use fiberglass resin to reinforce the damaged area.

Delamination is a more serious issue that occurs when the layers of the board separate. This often requires professional repair or replacement of the board.

Before attempting to fix your SUP, make sure you have the proper materials and skills. If you are unsure about how to fix the issue, it is best to seek the help of a professional. Keeping your SUP properly maintained and stored can help prevent damage and prolong its lifespan.

How Do You Stop Air From Coming Out of a Paddle Board?

If air is escaping from your stand-up paddleboard, you should first identify the source of the leak:

The first step is to inspect the valve. Ensure that the valve is tightened securely and that there are no cracks or damage to the valve or the surrounding area.

If the valve appears to be in good condition, the next step is to check the seams of the board. Look for any cracks, splits, or gaps that may be allowing air to escape. In some cases, you may be able to patch the issue using a repair kit or sealant.

If you cannot find the source of the problem or are unable to repair it, it is best to seek the help of a professional.

Can You Over-Pump a Paddle Board?

Yes, you can over-pump an inflatable paddleboard. Paddleboards are designed to be inflated to a specific pressure range, which is usually listed by the manufacturer.

Over-pumping the board can cause it to become too rigid and increase the risk of damage to the board or the valve. An over-inflated board may also be more difficult to control and maneuver on the water.

To avoid over-pumping, it’s important to use a reliable pump with an accurate pressure gauge and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for the recommended pressure range. If you are unsure about the proper pressure for your board, consult the manufacturer’s instructions or reach out for support.

Most standard-use single-person inflatable paddleboards will inflate to 15 PSI.

Paddle Boarding Difficulty

Is Paddle Boarding Harder Than Kayaking?

No, paddle boarding is generally easier than kayaking.

Paddleboarding requires more physical exertion than kayaking, as you need to use your arms, legs, and core to control the board and paddle. This can be challenging for some people, particularly if they are not used to this type of physical activity.

On the other hand, paddleboarding provides a unique perspective on the water, allowing you to enjoy the scenic surroundings and wildlife in a way that is not possible in a kayak.

Overall, paddleboarding is a safe and enjoyable activity that provides a sense of freedom and adventure on the water, and it is easy to pick up, whereas kayaking takes a lot more upfront skill despite being seated.

Paddle boards are also less expensive than kayaks, and it is easier to store and transport an inflatable paddle board than a kayak.

Is It Easy to Fall Off a Paddle Board?

Yes, it is possible to fall off a paddleboard. The likelihood that you will fall off depends on several factors such as your skill level, experience, balance, and the water conditions. Some people are naturally inclined to better balance and control than others as well, so it is difficult to say whether it is easy or not.

Beginners may find it more challenging to maintain balance on a paddleboard, particularly in choppy or windy conditions, which can increase the difficulty of balancing. Learning proper technique and developing good balance can help reduce the risk of falling off a paddleboard. With practice and experience, you will find it easier to stay on your board, no matter the conditions.

How Can I Strengthen My Feet for Paddle Boarding?

Strengthening your feet can help improve your balance and control on a paddleboard, making your experience more enjoyable and safer. Here are a few exercises you can do to strengthen your feet for paddleboarding:

  1. Toe raises: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and slowly raise up onto your toes, then lower back down. Repeat for several repetitions, gradually increasing the number of reps as you get stronger.
  2. Foot balance drills: Try standing on one foot while maintaining your balance. As you get better, try closing your eyes or using a wobble board to increase the challenge.
  3. Foot and ankle strength exercises: Try exercises like ankle circles, heel walks, and calf raises to build strength and stability in your feet and ankles.
  4. Yoga: Certain yoga poses, such as warrior III and tree pose, can help improve your balance and stability, which will translate to better balance and control on a paddleboard.
  5. Practice: Regular practice on a paddleboard will also help improve your foot strength and balance. Start in calm, shallow water and gradually work your way up to more challenging conditions as you become more confident and comfortable.

It’s important to remember to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of your exercises as your strength improves. Incorporating these exercises into your regular routine can help you build the strength and stability in your feet needed for successful and enjoyable paddleboarding.

Do You Need Core Strength for SUP?

No, you do not need good core strength to begin paddle boarding.

It is true, however, that having strong core muscles can help improve your balance and control on a paddleboard. Your core muscles – which include your abs, back, and hips – play an important role in maintaining stability on a SUP. A strong core helps you maintain good posture, control your balance, and make quick, accurate movements as needed.

Additionally, using your core muscles helps distribute the effort and strain across your entire body, reducing the risk of injury and making your paddling experience more comfortable.

It’s important to remember that having a strong core is just one component of successful paddleboarding. Good technique, proper body alignment, and proper balance are also crucial.

Does Paddling Build Muscles?

Yes, paddleboarding can help build and tone several muscle groups in your body. Here are a few specific muscle groups that can benefit from paddleboarding:

  1. Arms: Paddleboarding involves repetitive, full-body motions, which can help build and tone your arm muscles, particularly your biceps and triceps.
  2. Shoulders: Your shoulders play an important role in maintaining balance and control on a paddleboard, so regularly paddleboarding can help build and tone your shoulder muscles.
  3. Core: As mentioned earlier, maintaining balance and stability on a paddleboard requires a strong core, so paddleboarding can help build and tone your abs, back, and hips.
  4. Legs: Paddleboarding engages your legs, particularly your quads, hamstrings, and calves, helping to build and tone these muscle groups.
  5. Glutes: Paddleboarding requires you to engage your glutes, which can help build and tone this muscle group over time.

Paddleboarding is a low-impact exercise, so it’s a great option for people who may be looking for a gentle and fun form of exercise.

About Paddle Outside

We believe paddle boarding is about more than putting a board in the water and leaving shore. It’s about the unique adventures you can have, and about finding peace on the water and having fun while you’re doing it.


Learn more about the mission and goals of the website on our About page. It’s time to go on your next paddle boarding adventure!