Is Paddle Boarding Hard?

Posted on September 15, 2022 by Reed Naliboff

When looking for a paddle board, you may notice that some boards cater to different skill levels and activities on the water, but before purchasing a SUP board, you may be wondering: is paddle boarding hard? We get it—it's a question we once asked ourselves before taking the leap and paddling out onto the water with our stand up paddle board. Not to be worried, stand up paddle boarding is an incredibly easy water sport to learn, and you can become an expert paddle boarder in no time. People of all ages and fitness levels are capable of learning to paddle board in just a few hours with proper instruction.


Not only is paddle boarding easy to learn, but it's fun, gets you outside, and is a great full-body workout. As a huge plus, there are also a plethora of mental health benefits as you use your paddle board in therapeutic ways, helping you to practice balance and endurance. We could go on all day about the benefits of paddle boarding, but today we're going to focus on why paddle boarding isn't as hard as you may think, how to paddle board, and why it's a great full-body workout.



While paddle boarding is not hard, it is a skill to learn, and is one that gets better with time. In just a few simple steps, you will be paddling like a pro in no time. First, here are a few stand up paddle boarding tips you should know:

  • Make sure you’re on a beginner paddle board because they offer the most stability and will be the easiest to learn on. An inflatable paddle board is a great choice for learning because of its overall versatility, although a hard paddle board can also perform well for beginners.
  • Go to a calm, flat-water destination like a lake in the morning or evening when the wind has died down. Because of the chop, we suggest you avoid the ocean for learning.

Don’t fret if it takes you a couple of tries to stand up. Normally, it takes people a few tries to realign their balance on the water.




  1. Before heading out on the water, you’ll want to make sure your SUP paddle is sized properly. Learn how to correctly size your paddle here.
  2. Prior to paddling out, you'll also want to make sure that you are wearing a PFD (personal flotation device) and/or make sure that you're following all local PFD guidelines.
  3. When entering the water with your SUP, clear your fins of any sand or debris from shallow water.
  4. With one knee kneeling on your SUP, push off to launch.
  5. Get comfortable on your knees prior to standing up.
  6. Once you feel balanced in a kneeling position, it’s time to stand up.
  7. Place your paddle perpendicular in front of you on your SUP.
  8. Place your hands on your board for stability.
  9. Now place your feet, one at a time, shoulder width apart on the center of your SUP. The center grab handle is good point of reference for optimal balance and paddle efficiency.
  10. Be sure to grab your SUP paddle on the way up from standing.
  11. Keep practicing standing up until you feel comfortable.


For a video tutorial on how to paddle board, click here.




When you’re learning how to stand up paddle board there are a lot of common SUP mistakes paddle boarders make. To avoid making these mistakes, here are more paddle boarding tips for beginners:

  • The more momentum you have on your paddle board, the more stable you will be. Just like riding a bike.
  • Posture and stance are important to ensure that you have the most effective stroke and will improve your paddling technique.
  • Don’t stand too far forward on your SUP.
  • Never look down while you’re paddling. If you do, you will lose your balance and potentially fall off your SUP.
  • If you need help maintaining your balance while paddling, focus on something on land or in the water and begin to paddle towards that subject to help you to glide across the water.
  • When standing, you want to be upright with your knees unlocked.
  • Be sure to place your SUP paddle’s blade fully into the water and with the logo facing away from you.
  • To turn your paddle board, you will want to submerge you paddle’s blade into the water and push backwards. This will rotate your SUP. Be sure to plant your feet comfortably, prior to doing so.




After reading this, you’re probably going to want to cancel your gym membership. Paddle boarding is a great full-body workout for any fitness level. It burns more calories in an hour than most sports because it incorporates all the key elements of a full-body workout: strength, balance, core, and endurance.


Whether you are recreational paddling, SUP surfing, SUP racing, SUP touring, or doing SUP yoga, you’re guaranteed to get a solid workout. Also, it doesn’t matter what fitness level you are, beginner or expert, everyone can exercise by paddle boarding.


When paddle boarding, your back, core and leg muscles are constantly maintaining balance, while your arms, back and shoulders are engaged when propelling your paddle board through the water. Continuing this pattern of movements at a normal pace for a duration of time will act as an incredible workout.


If you want to further enhance the natural workout, increase your pace and the duration of time paddling. We came up with five fun ways to get fit on a paddle board for those who like a nice change in their paddle board routine.




  • Improves your balance
  • Connects you with nature
  • Stress relief
  • Boosts your endurance and stamina
  • Allows you to spend quality time with family, friends, or your significant other


All in all, whether you choose to venture out on an inflatable SUP or a hard board, you'll find that paddle boarding is not as hard as you thought. Paddle blade to the water, and eyes set on nature's surroundings around you, you'll never see time on the water the same again—it'll only get better from there. So, go and try some paddle board yoga, become a record-breaking paddle boarder, paddle with your pets, or try breaking waves with SUP surfing. Whatever it is you choose to do though, just know that it will help you live better in balance like never before.


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