Getting Started in Land Paddling: The First Steps to Learn Street SUP

Photo Credit: Austin Neill

Land paddling is the latest installment of paddling to hit the fitness world. If you’re looking to get into this new sport and you’ve never skateboarded, you might be a little intimidated about falling off and about difficulty maintaining your balance. Like anything, it will take time to get comfortable, but there is nothing to fear. Here are some basic instructions on how to begin to learn to land paddle.

Determine Which Foot is Forward

In skateboarding, one foot is forward and the rear foot kicks or pushes the board. Of course in land paddling, you’ll be using the paddle to propel you forward, but your rear foot is still an option. If you do any sport, such as slalom skiing or snowboarding, where one foot is forward, it will be the same for longboarding. If you are unsure which foot should be forward, just know there is no right or wrong. It’s all about what feels most natural. The left foot forward is known as a “regular stance.” Right foot forward is called a “goofy stance.” If still uncertain, just pick one. You can always switch later.

How to Hold a Land Paddle

Before you get on the board, you should make sure you know how to hold your land paddle. This way you don’t get on your board, only to find out you are holding the paddle that you will use for balance improperly. Now that you’ve chosen a front foot in the previous step, you by default have just chosen your top hand on the paddle as they are the same. Hold the paddle with the front hand on top of the grip. The bottom hand should be about shoulder width apart from the top hand if the paddle were to be held parallel to the ground.

Balance Your First Time on the Board

If you’ve never ridden or been on a skateboard before, it can be a little unnerving. In this case, start off next to a wall and use the wall for balance. Stand on the board with whichever foot forward you decided. You’ll want your front foot just behind the screws holding the trucks to the board. Your back foot will be somewhere near the middle or just behind the middle of the longboard. Get comfortable on the board while using the support of the wall. Bend your knees from slightly too deep to see how this aids in balance. Slide along the wall.

Getting on the Board

Once you feel comfortable getting on the board, its time to do so without the wall for support. Rest assured, you will have the paddle to help you balance. Be sure to start off on the level ground. Stand on the ground on one side of the board and hold the paddle against the ground on the other side of the longboard. Step onto the board with your front foot first while using the paddle on the ground as your support. Don’t step on with your back foot until you are sure you have the balance you need. Once on the board with both feet, be sure to bend the knees slightly or as much as you need to for balance.

Slide the Board Back and Forth

Now that you are on the board and holding the paddle properly, use the paddle to move the board forward. Don’t lift the paddle off of the ground. Slide the board forward slightly and then back slightly. Rock back and forth like this getting used to the feel.

You’re Ready to Ride

If you can do all of the above steps without falling off or being nervous, you’re ready to learn to ride your longboard with your land paddle.