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New Zealand SUP instructor Stuart Murray showed me this method of getting on your board. For boards which have less volume in the tail, this is the easiest method of getting on after a fall.

Many struggle to get on their boards in the middle due to the higher volume – width and thickness. Most non inflatable boards have less foil (thickness) and width in the tail this making the tail section easier to get on top of with less effort.

There’s two ways to get on using the tail:

  • From the rear of the board, called the Cowboy Rescue – Video at bottom
  • And using the last 1/3rd of the board adjacent to the tail – See diagram below.

Step by Step Technique:

– Approach the board from the side, adjacent to the tail (see diagram above)

– Holding the paddle with the hand facing the nose, place both hands on the tail and lean onto it. On surf style boards you should easily push the tail into the water and slide or lean on the board with less effort.

Pro Tip: Kick your feet behind you if you you’re not on already and need an additional push or lift.  Kicking your feet lifts your body to the surface so you’re pulling your body on over the surface of the water vs pulling up from underneath.

– Once half way on grab both rails with your hands to pull yourself on the deck towards the nose. Kick your feet in the water (vigorously) to assist in getting on.

Tip:  Wax your rails to create better grip for getting on.  We wax our rails especially when paddling in whitewater or surf where falling is common and we’re getting back on in rough water.


About Rob Casey – Named a pioneer in the SUP industry by Stand Up Journal, Rob is the author of “Stand Up Paddling Flat Water to Surf and Rivers” and “Kayaking Puget Sound and the San Juans, 60 Trips.” Rob owns SUP and Kayak school Salmon Bay Paddle in Seattle. He also runs several paddling races.

Salmon Bay Paddle SUP Tips

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