The Ultimate Guide to Stand-Up Paddle Boarding for Beginners

Stand-Up paddle Boarding Category Picture

Stand-up paddle boarding has been a recent and growing trend in Western communities among people of all ages. While it carries a rich history, the cheap nature, un-motorised requirements and calming manoeuvrability has increased its attraction to many water lovers around the globe.

From the traditional surf-board types to the modern and highly portable inflatable paddle board we see today, there is so much to learn about your new hobby.

Here at The Hobby Kraze, we want to bring fun, adventure, relaxation, information and knowledge to your hobby experiences. So, while it might be more fun to talk about all of the beautiful locations you could be stand-up paddle boarding in, we have to cover the grounds of health and safety, first. With that, we’ll be covering the following areas in this article, so be sure to read right through:

  1. Is Stand-Up Paddle Boarding for You?
  2. The History of the Stand-Up Paddle Board
  3. The Jargon of Stand-Up Paddle Boarding UK
  4. Understanding How to Remain Safe
  5. The Tools You’ll Need to Begin Your Stand-Up Paddle Boarding UK Adventure
  6. Types of Stand-Up Paddle Board
  7. How to Mount and Depart with your Stand-Up Paddle Board
  8. The Best Places to Go for a Stand-Up Paddle Boarding UK Tour

Before you go ahead, we just wanted to let you know that there is no obligation to do stand-up paddle boarding. In fact, you could kneel down or sit on your paddle board to make it comfortable and allow for better weight distribution.

Some people even begin on their paddle board laid down; they then paddle with their hands until they are a safe distance away from boats, swimmers, children, the coast or other water sport goers. So, try dipping your toes in the water before diving right in!

Is Stand-Up Paddle Boarding for You?

Is Stand-Up Paddle Boarding for You

Yes. Stand-up paddle boarding is for anyone. Any shape, size, height or age. It can be for multiple people too, for example a parent and child. 

And, paddle boarding can be anything you want it to be as a hobby for stand-up paddle boarding UK. From the relaxing drifters to the racing moguls, each person has their own way of enjoying the stand-up paddle board and what it can offer you. 

The best part to stand-up paddle boarding is knowing that it is an affordable water sport where you don’t have to be trained or certified. Nor, do you have to wait for specific times or distances away from the coast in order to be able to enjoy your hobby. And, that’s why the team here at The Hobby Kraze wanted to bring this hobby to you. 

Check out all of the benefits that building a hobby on a stand-up paddle board can offer you:

  • It’s affordable from the get-go
  • It’s portable, especially with an inflatable paddle board
  • You don’t have to be with other people
  • You can also enjoy stand up paddle boarding UK with other people
  • It is good for the core
  • It is relaxing
  • There is little maintenance
  • You can choose to be fully clothed or wear a swim-suit
  • It is an all-weather sport
  • The board helps with balance
  • It helps you lose weight
  • It is fantastic for building a strong core
  • It boosts your cardiovascular health
  • The board reduces stress levels
  • You can enjoy uninterrupted sunbathing
  • There’s no need to worry about taking your board abroad
  • The parts are easily replaced
  • Many different types of paddle board give you a varied hobby
  • It’s a low impact workout
  • Being in the sun can boost your overall vitamin levels 

The History of the Stand-Up Paddle Board

The History of the Stand-Up Paddle Board

Stand-up paddle boarding has a rich history that has been found in imagery and literacy across the world. Including down to ancient biblical references. However, the first notable accounts appear to have been within the ancient Egyptian rulings. Whereby, the Egyptians would use ‘rafts’ to transport across the River Nile. 

There have also been accounts from Peruvian hunters who would ride out on “Caballitos de Totora” which roughly translates to be a little horse made of reeds. While they would ride out straddling the “Caballitos de Totora”, they would return using the waves while being stood on top. 

Since then, the richest accounts of the stand-up paddle board history stems from the Polynesian routes located within Hawaii. As recently as 1788, a Captain James Cook would watch his villagers ride out on Koa tree boards. As chief, he would have the biggest board of 5 meters long, meaning it is necessary to use a paddle.

Then, in the 1940s, famed surfing instructor Duke Kahanamoku would stand up on his board off the island of Waikiki to have a better view of his students. This method was also adopted by the AhChoy brothers who would stand-up paddle board when teaching new surfers.

This was because one of the brothers had an accident leaving him unable to swim or kneel, making standing up the best option for teaching.

After that, the true father of stand-up paddle boarding UK and beyond entered the island of Waikiki. And, inspired by these stood-up surfer instructors, he grabbed his board and a paddle and took to the waves. A hobby he would continue on for 60 years until passing at the age of 95. 

Thus, the hobby of stand-up paddle boarding was born along with all the specific stand up paddle boarding tips we have here at The Hobby Kraze.

The Jargon of Stand-Up Paddle Boarding UK

The Jargon of Stand-Up Paddle Boarding UK

With such a limited number of tools and equipment, or regulation surrounding the paddle boarding hobby, it may actually come as a surprise to hear that there’s still a glossary of stand-up paddle boarding terms you may need to know. However, here at The Hobby Kraze, we’ve got you covered. 

From knowing which end is which, to understanding what to call the curve, use this handy A-Z of terms to sound like a pro at the stand-up paddle board hobby:

  • SUP

This is the abbreviation for ‘Stand-Up Paddle’ and is commonly used throughout the water sports community as you can imagine, saying the entire thing over and over can be a little tiring.

  • Nose

This is the name of the top of the stand-up paddleboard. Which, as you may notice, is quite unlike other water sporting vessels such as a boat, canoe, kayak and so on. The ‘nose’ of the SUP would normally be called the ‘bow’.

  • Tail

This is the name of the end of the SUP, traditionally behind you. Again, this has an unconventional reference that would make the SUP stand apart from other water sporting vessels as this is normally called the ‘stern’.

  • Hull

This is the name given to the underside of the SUP. This is where you will also find your fin and fin box. The hull is submerged underwater while you operate your SUP.

  • Deck

Opposite to the ‘hull’, the deck is the top of the SUP where you will stand, be attached and operate the stand-up paddle board. 

  • Cockpit

On your stand-up paddle board you will have an area outlined on the deck. This is likely to be in the shape of an oval and indicate the preferred area to stand on the paddle board. This specific area is called the cockpit as it is where you will be situated when you pilot your vessel.

  • Rail

The sides of your SUP have a name too. While there are no actual rails on your SUP (so, don’t be worried when you don’t find them), this is simply how the manufacturer, seller and paddleboarder will refer to the sides of the stand-up paddle board.

  • Rocker

Also called the nose rocker, this refers to the specific curve and shape of your board. To be efficient in the water and to ensure that you stay afloat while not taking on-board water through the nose, the nose and tail have a slight up-turn. This upturn will depend on the type of board you buy and is called the rocker.

  • Vent Plug

This is a feature that will only be found on hard-shell paddle boards rather than the inflatable paddle board. The vent plug’s purpose is to allow expanded warm air located inside the foam board to escape.

  • Fin

The fin is a downward facing protrusion, perpendicular from the hull of the stand-up paddle board. It is positioned near the tail of the paddleboard and they can often be placed singularly, as pairs or in triples. The fin provides both stability and manoeuvrability.

  • Fin Box

The fin box is the area on the hull where the fin is placed. These are used especially in the place of an inflatable paddle board where the fin needs to be separate for portability and securely attached when in use. 

  • D-Ring

The D-ring refers to the ‘D’ shape of a secure attachment port on your stand-up paddle board. Located in multiple places on your inflatable paddle board, they can be used to attach your ‘leash’ and other belongings.

  • Bungee Cord

Often, at either the nose, tail or both, there is a bungee-style net that is attached. This will be elasticated and will have an access point where you can store and secure paddling essentials and back-pack belongings. 

  • Leash

The leash is the cord that attaches you to your paddle board. It will generically have a Velcro-attachment at the end with can be placed around your ankle. Then, it will be attached to your paddle board through a D-ring.

  • Paddle Blade

When you begin to stand-up paddle board, the name may give away some of the equipment you’ll need. Of course, standing on a board in the water will not do anything without your paddle to propel you in a direction. The flat-headed end to your paddle is technically called the paddle blade. 

  • Dihedral

In the centre of your paddle blade, there is a pronounced and raised ‘spine’. This helps to direct the water to either side of the paddle blade for a water-dynamic flow. It is an essential part of helping you propel forward in your stand-up paddle boarding UK journey. 

  • Shaft

Simply put, this is the long and straight part to your paddle. It has a handle on one end and a paddle blade on the other.

  • Handle

As mentioned, your shaft will have a paddle blade on one end and a handle on the other. This is that handle. It helps you keep a good grip of your paddle and can sometimes have a small lease that attaches to your wrist. This paddle is much like the paddle for a canoe and not like the double-ended paddle for a kayak.

  • Wax

There are two types of wax used in paddle boarding, so it’s useful to have in your water sporting vocabulary. You’ll need to wax your hull for a smooth glide and wax your paddle shaft for a sturdy grip.

  • Clamp

Some paddles for a paddle board are made to be adjustable and telescopic. This allows you to go on a multiple-person stand-up paddle boarding UK adventure without having to lug around multiple paddles. At the point where the paddle shaft can be adjusted, this is called the clamp.

  • Stroke

Your stroke is the motion you complete with the paddle when propelling forward, backward or in a circle with your stand-up paddle board.

  • Catch

The catch is the name given to the part of your stroke when the paddle blade hits the water. This can sometimes be called the ‘contact point’.

  • Cadence

The higher the cadence the faster you will travel. Your cadence is the speed at which you paddle. And, when you paddle faster, it correlates to how fast your stand-up paddle board will move in the water.

  • Stance (Regular and Goofy)

Your stance is the way you stand. It also refers to your positioning on your SUP. Within a person’s stance, there are two ways of standing; goofy and regular. A regular stance has the left foot forward and the right foot behind. While having a goofy stance means you will have your right foot in front, instead.

  • Tracking

A stand-up paddle board is built to have straight tracking and perfect alignment to help your direction of travel be accurate. However, this needs to be checked at regular occasions as small inconsistencies such as a broken fin can cause larger steering issues down the line.

  • Rip Tide (Current)

In open water, or where water flows, there is a ‘path of least resistance’ where waves break, and the water is surging back to sea. This is called the rip tide but also called the current. Using this can be dangerous for non-experienced SUP’s.

Understanding How to Remain Safe

Understanding How to Remain Safe

Now you know all the jargon of the paddle boarding world, it’s time we gave you some stand up paddle boarding tips to help you and those around you stay safe in the water.

Under UK maritime law, stand up paddle boarding UK is classed as using recreation beach gear or small vessels. If your inflatable paddle board or pre-structured board is under 3.5 meters long, it is recreational beach gear (RBG), however if it is over this, it is a small vessel. 

And, if it is classed as RBG, then you must abide by the maritime law which states you should remain within 300 meters of the shore. Yet, if it is a small vessel, you may travel out up to two nautical miles from sheltered areas. But, you will need to have a PFD (Personal Floatation Device) as well as a leash, towing device, trackable and flashlight or high-visibility waterproof.

Here’s some other maritime regulations for your stand-up paddle boarding UK journey:

  • Do not stand up paddle board in swimming areas or around swimmers
  • Always use a leash unless in a river
  • Do not cross port entrances (marked by a red and green cylindrical buoy)
  • Never cross in front of restricted manoeuvrability vessels such as a tugboat
  • Inform authorities when travelling beyond 300 meters from the coastline
  • Always travel with a partner when going past 300 meters 
  • Never abandon your board
  • Try not to overestimate your ability to risk danger
  • Check the weather forecast
  • Abide by ‘one wave, one surfer’ regulations
  • Give way to larger vessels when on enclosed bodies of water

A last addition to the stand-up paddle boarding tips for your watery adventure: if you intend to travel on inland waterways such as canals, then you’ll need to obtain a license from the BCU (British Canoe Union). Having this permit or membership grants you access to these waterways, but you’ll still need to abide by the above regulations such as giving right of way to larger vessels like longboats.

The Tools You’ll Need to Begin Your Stand-Up Paddle Boarding UK Adventure

The Tools You’ll Need to Begin Your Stand-Up Paddle Boarding UK Adventure

Here at The Hobby Kraze, it’s always fun to bring new hobbies and experiences that you can try or cross-off your bucket list. And, what will make it better is being able to tell you the ease of beginning such a hobby or sport. 

There’s very little in the way of tools and equipment within your ultimate guide to stand-up paddle boarding for beginners. Simply because there’s three things to have: You, your stand-up paddle board and your paddle blade. And, voilà, you’re ready. 

However, for the best experience on your stand-up paddle boarding UK adventure, we have some extra stand up paddle boarding tips and tools for you to have and take. Check them out:  

  • A Paddle Board to Suit Your Needs
  • A Paddle Blade
  • A Swimsuit
  • A Flashlight
  • A Leash
  • Sun Lotion (factor 100 if you can, we can’t be dealing with any unwanted spots)
  • Water (both to drink and to paddle on)
  • Food 
  • Your PFD 
  • A Rescue Whistle
  • A Headlamp
  • Your GoPro (or, another adventure-capturing device)
  • A Beautiful Location (E.g. the Lake District)

How to Mount and Depart with your Stand-Up Paddle Board

How to Mount and Depart with your Stand-Up Paddle Board

So, you know the language you’ve got your tools and you’ve got your board (don’t forget your paddle), let’s get going to the fun part. Knowing how to get on, stand up and get off. 

Really, you’ll want to blow up your inflatable paddle board on a hard and flat surface before ever thinking about taking it for a swim. Then, you can stand on it, move your weight around and get used to the feel. However, do bear in mind that the hard floor will suddenly become unstable water. 

When you’ve chosen a beautiful location (even if you’ve not, we’ll help you with that in a moment), you’ll need to make sure you have a location where you can put your paddleboard down and straddle onto the centre of the cockpit. It’s best to find a wall with high-water or walk your paddleboard out into the water until it is at waist-height.

When you’re ready, place your paddle on your paddle board, stand to one rail at the centre and look over your board. Jump on top and then bring one leg over until you are straddling the board and facing the nose. 

Staying sat down, paddle until you are at a safe distance away from waves, boats, vessels, swimmers or marine life. 

Then, lean forward on your paddle board, placing both hands towards the top of the cockpit and bringing your feet onto the board. Slowly gather your balance and bring your legs up into a downward dog. Walk your feet into the centre of the paddle board cock pit and space them to either side of the width. 

If you’re feeling confident, put all of your weight into your feet and lift your hands off the board. Slowly stand straight (don’t forget your paddle!) and you’re ready to stroke forward. 

To dismount, simply follow these exact steps in reverse. Or, a more simple way is to jump off. But, we highly recommend against this especially with a stand-up paddle boarding UK adventure because the water is a little nippy. 

The Best Places to Go for a Stand-Up Paddle Boarding UK Tour

The Best Places to Go for a Stand-Up Paddle Boarding UK Tour

At first, your view may consist of your feet, the board, the paddle blade and the water directly in front of you. But, as you begin to progress with your ultimate guide to stand-up paddle boarding for beginners’ journey, you’ll be able to look up and experience the beauty that is the UK. 

With that in mind, we wanted to end The Hobby Kraze’s stand-up paddle boarding tips and introduction with a small list of the most stunning places in the UK for a stand-up paddle board tour. 

Check them out:

  • The Lake District
  • Loch Harport at the Isle of Skye
  • West Kirby
  • Strangford Lough
  • Formby
  • Mawddach Estuary through Mid-Wales
  • Devon’s Burgh Island
  • Kingston upon Thames in London
  • Pembrokeshire’s Stackpole Quay 
  • Symonds Yat in Wye Valley
  • Hampshire’s Hayling Island
  • The Rabbit Islands 
  • The River Cam in Cambridge
  • Penzance, Cornwall
  • Around the Island of Anglesey
Girl on a standup-paddle board


And, there you have it: the ultimate guide to stand-up paddle boarding for beginners. So, from the Polynesian routes of surfing while being stood up and finding your own paddle board to embarking on your own stand-up paddle boarding UK voyage, we hope you’ve found this article useful.

If you’ve dipped your toes in and found stand-up paddle boarding isn’t for you, then check out all of the other adventures you can undertake with the hobbies here at The Hobby Kraze. We’ve got everything from The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Knitting to the Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Rock Collection and other articles where you can find out how rocks are formed, altogether. 

So, let us know your thoughts, like, share and stay tuned for more ultimate guides!

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Picture of Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.
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