The #RoxyFitness event is right around the corner. Roxy rider Viktoria Burgess gives you the run down to help you get started.

Get Started

The basic equipment you need when starting to paddleboard is: : a board, a paddle, fins, a leash and a pfd.  While there are many different types of these pieces of equipment, the best idea is to start with the basics and move around from there after you have experience and have tried new things to see what your personal preference is.

Board

Roxy Fitness Get Started

Photo: Roxy

The average board that people use when starting to paddleboard is what is known as a ‘recreational paddleboard’ or sometimes can be called ‘surf style’. (unlike a raceboard).  The sizes that people are most comfortable (depending on your balance skills) is anywhere from a 10’2, 11’6 and up.  Always keep in mind when selecting your first paddleboard that you pay attention to the size and weight, as you will be hauling it on and off your car and to the beach.  Boards are usually made of fiberglass, carbon fiber, or a composite of both.  Carbon fiber boards are usually lighter and very durable, but also more expensive.  

Paddle

Your paddle ranges in the material that it is made of, to the size of the blade and type of paddle.  This is a small piece of equipment but one of the most important. 

There is nothing worse than paddling with a heavy paddle.  You will put stress on your body that is unnecessary and these days you can pick up a nice light carbon paddle for a decent price, so I recommend buying a quality paddle. 

Roxy Fitness Get Started

Photo: Roxy

The blade on the paddle is what is used to pull the water and propel you.  The larger in diameter the blade is, the more water pulls (however it makes it a bit more difficult to pull) Think about a bike.  The higher the gear, the harder to paddle, but once you get going you cover more area.  The smaller the blade surface is like a lower bike gear-your arms will be moving easier through the water, but you wont gain as much distance per stroke.  This is not necessarily important when recreationally paddling, but starts to make more of a difference once you get into the racing end. 

To determine your paddle size- stand up straight with your arm up to the sky.  Place the paddle blade on the ground.  Reach up with your arm and the handle should come to the crease of your wrist.  This is to know the proper length of the paddle.

Fins

Roxy Fitness Get Started

Photo: Atlantis SUP

Some boards come with fins, some don’t, but any standard fin setup for when you are first starting is fine.  The straighter the center fin, the more in a straight line you will go, so be sure not to put too small of a fin or you will find yourself paddling in circles.      

Leash

Roxy Fitness Get Started

Photo: Paddleboard City

It is important to keep your leash on at all times when you are starting to paddleboard so keep the board close at all times.  You do not want a least too short because then if you fall off, it may snap the board back quickly at you, so you want a leash that is the same length of the board or slightly longer.  Two types of leashes commonly used in SUP is a coil leash or a straight leash.  The coil leash is nice because it keeps the leash out of the water, which prevents it from getting caught on things such as seaweed, and creating a drag.

PFD= personal flotation device.  It is required by law to have one on your board at all times.  Most paddlers wear a waist PFD because it is the most versatile, however you can always use a standard vest one and either wear it or keep it tied to your board. 

Stroke Technique to Help You Get Started

Roxy Fitness Get Started

Photo: Roxy

First as you know you stand on the top of the board with the fins down and in the back of the board.

When you paddle, you want to make sure your blade is facing the correct way, which is the FLAT side of the paddle facing the rear of your board.  A lot of times people think of a paddle like cupping the water (like a kayak blade), but this is not correct.  You do not want your blade to cup the water, but rather to PUSH the water.

As you stand on the board you want to stand as much in the center as possible, which is usually where the handle is.  Keep your knees shoulder width apart and slightly bent.

Four Simple Steps

There are four steps to the paddle stroke: the reach, the catch, the pull and the release.  As you reach you want to have the blade enter the water on a slight angle.  Before you start pulling your paddle back towards your feet, you want to enter the blade into the water (while your arms are reached out).  Then after it has entered the water, you pull the paddle back towards your feet.  Once the paddle reaches your feet, release the paddle out of the water.  Often we tend to pull way far back past our feet, but this is unnecessary and just wastes energy.

Remember EVERYONE falls!  You will fall once, twice, ten thousand times…  So I have learned to embrace your fall and learn to fall gracefully.  When you feel as if your board is tilting one way or the other, try to balance yourself out by pressing down on the opposite side.

And if that doesn’t work?  Well..you land in WATER 🙂 And nice warm water in April it will be!

Then you get up, laugh, and go at it again!!

Training

Roxy Fitness Get Started

Photo: Roxy Fitness Gold Coast Event

When it comes to any type of training, specificity of course is always the key.  If you plan on paddling in races, paddle training is most important.  You first want to find the race you plan on doing and seeing the distance of the race.  From there you start to train. Mixing it up on the board is key. Some days do short HIIT training, some days do fartlek training and then other days do a long steady state cardio training.  

Paddling is a sport that targets your whole body and puts a lot of stress on your arms and back.  Therefore, it is important to build your arms up so you remain injury free and less sore after a day of paddling.  Simple calisthenics can assist in this. Consider doing push ups and pull ups as well as upper body exercises at the gym.  When in the gym also remember to focus on strengthening your legs as well.  My personal leg favorite is squats, because when paddling this is a motion that is repeated throughout the paddle.

Cardio training is another training aspect that cannot be overlooked.  Simply going out for a jog or doing some sprints can aid in this.  

There are so many ways to mix up training to make it interesting and also enhance you paddle skills.  The sky is the limit!  So go ahead, grab your gear, heart rate monitor and don’t forget your hydration and get your workout on. And, don’t forget to enjoy!

Roxy Fitness Get Started

Photo: Roxy