How to Land Paddle: Learn How to Street SUP

Photo Credit: Austin Neill

The relatively new phenomenon of land paddling rightfully belongs to the skateboarding genre of sports as people don’t typically think of paddling occurring on land. But still, even if it is a sport that takes place on concrete while riding a longboard, the use of a “paddle” can’t be ignored. It is, after all, the solid ground version of standup paddleboarding and the reason why some people call it Street SUP. These are some instructions on how to land paddle.

First Steps: “The Basics”

Before you get on and ride a longboard with the goal of land paddling, you must first know how to ride a skateboard. If you have never been on a skateboard, or if its been a while, be sure to read “the basics” which will instruct you on how to perform the following fundamentals of land paddling.

  • Determine Which Foot is Forward
  • Balance Your First Time on the Board
  • Getting on the Board
  • Holding the Paddle

Using the Paddle to Propel the Board

Push against the ground with the paddle and ready your body for movement. Maintain pressure against the paddle through the push to help your balance. You can even push back and forth without lifting up the paddle to basically rock the board back and forth to get a feel for the rolling. Once you are ready to actually roll, place the paddle on the ground toward the front of the board and pull the board alongside the paddle. Once it passes your body, the pull will turn to a push.and push. Allow the board to roll freely with the stroke. Lift up the paddle and roll.

Ongoing Paddling

The paddling motion is similar to the forward stroke in paddling canoes and SUPs. While people think the arms are the main muscles used, paddling is actually achieved through torso rotation and uses the entire core. Using just the arms will wear you out very quickly. Learn how to do the paddling forward stroke to do this most efficiently.

Switching Paddling Sides

You can switch sides when paddling to even out your workout. In doing so, you will place your back hand on the top of the paddle grip and your front hand on the shaft. You will push against the ground on the opposite side from where you are facing. This will seem awkward at first.

Pushing while Riding

While land paddling is obviously mostly paddling, there is nothing wrong with pushing with the rear leg. You can even alternate pushing with paddling. If you’re a skater this will come naturally to you. If not, be careful. When you start pushing you might realize that you’d rather adjust your stance.

Turning a Street SUP

Turning a skateboard is a simple concept. You lean the board, in the direction you want to turn. If you lean your toes down, the board will turn in that direction, if you lean with your heels it will turn that way. Practice swerving from left to right to get the feel of it. When turning, you’ll need to lower your center of gravity and lean the board. Planting your paddle on the side that you want to turn will help stabilize the turn. As you increase in your ability and advance in the sport, you will actually be able to use the paddle to carve the turn.

Braking, Slowing Down and Stopping a Street SUP

To slow down and break you simply drag the paddle tip behind the board. It also helps to make turns and carve to help slow the board down. Stepping off the board will guarantee your stop. Just make sure not to do so at high speeds and to grab your board as you dismount.


Of course, there is much more to learn but these basics will get you on the board and moving. With practice and balance, you’ll quickly outgrow these fundamentals and begin making your own maneuvers. Be safe, and have fun!