Its not uncommon for some folks to have difficulty climbing on their paddle board.  Here’s a few videos and blog posts I’ve done on this topic of how to get on your sup after a fall..Getting on a SUP from the Rail – By the Tail (Add: Kicking hard to get on – not in video).

The middle of the board is the widest and thickest part of the board, thus hardest to get on.  Here’s a few easier ways to get on..

  • Along the rail (side) but near the tail (back). You can reach across to the other rail to grab, then do a whitewater kick to raise your body to the surface as you pull up and on.  Hold on to your paddle.
  • Lasso Technique – Using a car rack strap or rope, attach it to the D-ring, handle or leash string at the tail of your board. When you can’t get back on, dangle it in the water over the tail (not side). Adjust the rope (before or during) so you have a loop to place your foot through, then stand up and onto the board. Its a step onto the board.  Kick with the other leg to help out.  Keep on board if you have difficulty getting on.
  • Getting on at the tail can be difficult for larger folks as the nose will pop out and you’ll be climbing up to get on on the board. Attach a knotted rope from your handle to the end of the board, then to the above mentioned stirrup to help pull yourself back on easier.
  • Whenever you climb on, always do a whitewater kick with one or both legs. This raises your body to the water surface so you pull on horizontally vs pulling you body up and out of the water.
  • Worse case – Know the flip rescue (search my blog for video samples). This is a method used to pull someone else out of the water. If you have difficulty getting on, you can direct others how to pull you out of the water. Or you can rescue others.

More Tips for Getting on Easier:

  • If you’re under 5′, get a 4″ thick inflatable board. A 6″ thick will be difficult to climb up and onto.  ULI makes a great 12-6 that is 4″ thick.  Or get a light hard board as the tail will taper and be thinner, just be easier to get on.
  • Learn how to get on your board in shallow water before venturing out further.
  • Always wear your leash. Losing your board off shore isn’t a good idea, and if you struggle to get on, keeping it within reach is important.
  • Hard boards often aren’t as thick as inflatables, thus are easier to get on. Hard boards have rocker (tail is thinner) unlike inflatables.
  • Dress for the water temp. If you’re really cold, your energy will be sapped thus preventing your from getting on.
  • If you can’t get on your board, don’t go out!  You’re putting yourself at risk and others as well if they have to rescue you.
Need more info or to take our classes give me a holler..
Rob Casey
Seattle, WA USA


Salmon Bay Paddle SUP Tips

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