Bases du Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP)

Bases du Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP)

Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) offers a fun way to play on the water, with the added benefit of a full body workout. And, since you’re standing at full height on your board, it gives you a unique vantage point to see what’s underwater and on the horizon.

Before heading out on the water for the first time, it helps to know a bit about SUP equipment and basic technique. To get started in paddleboarding, you must learn:

How to prepare for SUP; you’ll need your paddle board , of course, along with a few other essentials.
Basic SUP paddling techniques; a few skills will keep you from going in circles.
Some useful tips for your first SUP trip (hint: try to make your friend windy).

Prepare for SUP

The good news is that you only need a few key pieces of equipment to enjoy stand up paddleboarding.

stand up paddle board (sup) gear illustrations

Stand up paddle board:

For the first time or two, you might want to rent some gear or borrow from a friend. After that, if you decide you like SUP and want to do more, consider buying your own. Your choice of board is determined by a combination of the paddler’s weight and skill, your intended use and local conditions. Different boards excel in different disciplines, such as recreational paddleboarding, surfing, hiking, running and SUP yoga. If you are renting, the rental store staff will guide you through your choice. To learn more about boards, see Stand up paddle boards: how to choose.


A SUP paddle looks a bit like a stretched canoe paddle with a teardrop-shaped blade that tilts forward for maximum paddling efficiency. The correct length paddle will reach your wrist when you hold it in front of you and raise your arm above your head. Learn more about choosing and sizing paddles in our article, SUP paddles: how to choose.

PFD (personal flotation device):

the US Coast Guard classifies stand-up paddleboards as ships, so if you are paddling outside of a surf or swim area you must have a PFD on board. Adults do not have to wear the PFD, but children do. Check your state’s regulations for age requirements. You can learn how to choose the right PFD for you in our article PFDs: How to Choose.

Safety whistle and light:

The Coast Guard also requires that you carry a safety whistle to alert other boaters. If you plan to go out after sunset, make sure you have a light on board.

stand up paddle board (sup) gear accessories

Appropriate clothing:

During the summer months, on a warm body of water, most people choose to wear a combination of a swimsuit, swim shorts, and a short- or long-sleeved rash guard to keep them cool. protect from the sun. For cool conditions where hypothermia is a problem, wear a dry suit or dry suit.


Généralement vendue séparément, une laisse vous attache votre SUP, le gardant à portée de main si vous tombez. Votre SUP est un grand dispositif de flottaison, donc y être attaché peut être important pour votre sécurité. Il existe des laisses spécialement conçues pour le surf, les eaux calmes et les rivières; assurez-vous d’acheter celui qui convient à votre utilisation prévue.

Protection solaire:

Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and sun protective clothing.

Buy paddle equipment

Techniques de base de paddling SUP

With just a few instructions, most beginners are able to get up and start paddling soon after taking a SUP for the very first time. To get started, here are some tips on:

Falling and recovering

How to stand on your SUP

stand up paddle boarder starting to stand up on the board

Practice this technique to stand up:

Stand alongside the board in water about your knees (just enough so that the fins of the board do not touch the bottom).
Hold the board by the edges and work your way across the board in a kneeling position, just behind the center point of the board (you can quickly locate the center of the board by finding the carry handle).
Keep your hands on the sides of the board to stabilize it, and move one foot at a time to place your feet where your knees were.
Rather than getting up in one motion, start by lifting your chest while keeping your knees bent. Once your chest is vertical, extend your legs to stand up.


Stay balanced on a SUP

a stand up paddle boarder's stance for maintaining balance while on the board

Once you’re on your feet, there are a handful of things you can do to maintain your balance on the board:

Position your feet so that they are parallel, about hip-width apart, and centered between the edges of the board.
Keep toes pointed forward, knees slightly bent, and back straight.
Keep your head and shoulders steady and straight, and shift your weight by moving your hips.
Your gaze should be level on the horizon. Avoid looking at your feet.

How to hold a SUP paddle

the correct way to hold and use a sup paddle

It is quite common to see novice paddlers holding their SUP paddles the wrong way round. To avoid making the same mistake, here are two things to know when grabbing your paddle:

Assurez-vous que la lame en forme de larme de la palette s’éloigne de vous et vers le nez de la planche.
Lorsque vous pagayez du côté droit de votre planche, votre main gauche sera sur la poignée en T et votre main droite quelques pieds plus bas sur le manche. Lorsque vous changez de côté, inversez les positions de vos mains.

Tomber et remonter

a stand up paddle boarder getting back on their board after falling off

Malgré tous vos efforts pour rester en équilibre sur votre planche, vous allez tomber à l’eau à un moment donné. Même les pagayeurs expérimentés franchissent le pas de temps en temps, donc si vous vous sentez un peu bancal, ne vous en faites pas et rappelez-vous que le SUP est un sport nautique, alors vous pouvez vous mouiller.

Pour ces moments inévitables où vous perdez votre équilibre:

Aim to the side, so that you are falling in the water and not on the board. Falling on the board is more likely to cause injury.
Try to hang on to your paddle while falling. If you are separated from it, first grab your board and wind it up, then paddle with your hands to retrieve the paddle.

To get back to your SUP after a fall:

Stand next to your board and near the center.
Grasp the handle in the center of the board with one hand.
Let your legs float to the surface behind you, then slap your legs while pulling on the handle to glide across the board.

SUP shots

This is where the real fun begins. As a beginner in SUP, there are three basic movements that will help you get moving:


Forward stroke

a paddle boarder illustrating the forward stroke on her sup

This basic stroke propels your board forward through the water.

Plant the paddle in the water reaching about two feet forward, then push the blade completely below the surface. Return the paddle to the water up to your ankle, then out of the water.
Keep your arms straight and turn from your torso as you paddle. Press down on the paddle handle with your upper hand rather than pulling the paddle back with your lower arm. It is helpful for some people to think about pulling the board past the paddle rather than pulling the paddle through the water.
To go in a reasonably straight line, you will need to alternate strokes on either side of the board. There is no set number of moves per side; try about three or four strokes on one side, then switch to the other.
The more you keep the paddle vertical, the straighter you will go.


Reverse stroke

a paddle boarder illustrating the reverse stroke on her sup

The reverse stroke is simple to perform and can be used to slow down, stop and turn. It’s basically the opposite of the front run.

If you are paddling to the right, come back behind you and plant the paddle in the water near the tail of your board. Make sure the blade is completely below the surface of the water.
As with the forward movement, keep your arms straight and turn from your torso rather than pulling the blade forward with your arms.
Doing the reverse stroke on the right side of your board will turn the nose of your board to the right and vice versa.


Sweep stroke

a paddle boarder illustrating the sweep stroke on their sup

The sweep stroke is useful for spinning your board while standing still or in motion.

If you are paddling to the right, rotate your shoulders so that your right shoulder is moving forward.
Go ahead and plant your paddle in the water, submerging the entire blade.
Sweep the paddle away from the board in a large arc motion from the nose of the board to the tail, rotating your torso and using the leverage of your legs and hips.
Sweeping to the right side of your board will turn the board to the left and vice versa.

Tips for your first SUP trip

a stand up paddle boarder setting out on their paddling adventure in calm water and winds
  • Before you grab your board and head out into the water for the first time, here are some simple tips for planning your SUP outing:
    Pick a small, calm body of water, like a lake or pond, without a lot of obstacles like boats and buoys.
    Look for a sandy beach or other place where you can wade through the water to easily launch your SUP.
    Choose a sunny day with little or no wind.
    If your itinerary requires you to paddle into the wind, do so on the way out so you can take advantage of the wind on the way back when you are tired.
    Go with a friend to keep tabs on the other.
    Plan to paddle for about an hour on your first outing.

if you want to read the french version  read here

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