Improving your balance is key to becoming more confident and relaxed when stand up paddle boarding and it will also help you to move into different disciplines within the sport of Paddleboarding.
If you are happier moving about and balancing on your paddleboard then you will feel more confident and be better able to go out in choppier conditions and even starting to have some fun out in the surf and catching waves. Having a better understanding of how to adjust the trim of the paddleboard will also help with SUP racing when progressing onto a narrower board, positioning yourself most effectively for speed and mastering those step back turns.
Here are a few of the challenges we like to try when teaching our SUP Lessons at Polkerris Beach. They are a great way to loosen up, start falling into the water and really start having fun on the SUP!
The Side to side wobble- This helps to get comfortable with where you can put your weight on the paddleboard and get a good feel for side to side stability of the SUP.
The 180 and 360 degree Jump - I would start with trying to do little jumps on your paddleboard and see how they feel. You’re likely to find this move easier than you think! Eventually you are likely to get wet but it’s very helpful to get use to falling in and it will ultimately develop your confidence on the SUP.
Toes over the nose- This move will particularly help with your step-back-turns. Start by seeing how far forward you can shuffle and then try moving towards the back of the paddleboard. At either point find somewhere comfortable and try paddling and see what happens when the nose is in the water and when the tail is sunk right down. This is great for improvement your general balance and really shows the effect of trim on the SUP and how much standing in the right place helps you to go in a straight line
One foot yoga poses- Another good all round balance practice and confidence builder. This is a good exercise to help build your understanding of you weight distribution in relation to the centre of the paddleboard and how to feel stable on your SUP.
One foot paddling- This one is more advanced than the others but it can really give you a good understanding of how to use the paddle as a support. It is a good progression from the one foot yoga poses as you will need to think about placing your foot on the centre line and start to brace your weight with the paddle.
Headstands - Only try this if a headstand is part of your regular practice. Once the students have completed all the other challenges. It looks very impressive. My top tip for mastering the headstand on the paddleboard is to plant your arms really wide.