Stand Up Paddleboarding in Dorset | A Beginners Guide

Jun 7, 2019 | Stand Up Paddleboarding, Outdoor Adventure Safety

Want to learn to stand up paddleboard but don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered! We love stand up paddleboarding, there’s a reason it’s one of the world’s fastest growing watersports. Records of earlier types of paddleboarding date up to 3,000 years ago! Modern stand up paddleboarding (or SUP) originated in Hawaii as an offshoot of surfing. We run beginners sessions in Dorset, as well as longer trips for more experienced paddlers. Here’s how to get started:

learn to stand up paddleboard dorset

How Do I Learn To Paddleboard?

We’ve all seen groups of paddleboarders serenely gliding along the surface of the sea, effortlessly propelling themselves along. They make it look oh so easy- but how do you even start?

The easiest way to begin to learn to stand up paddleboard is ‘prone’- which is a posh way of laying down!

Using your arms either side of the board you can paddle as if swimming front crawl. This is often the best way to get around if you’re in a particularly windy area, or trying to get past breaking waves at the beach.

Learn To Stand Up Paddleboard In Dorset

learn sup dorset old harry rocks

Once you’re comfortable ‘prone’ you can graduate to kneeling as you continue learn to stand up paddleboard. Staying in the centre of the board, and keeping your knees about shoulder width apart, you can begin to use your paddle to propel yourself through the water. Again, being lower can help in wind or chop as you’ll be more stable with a lower centre of gravity.

At this point, if you’re feeling brave, you can try standing! Most people find it easiest to go on all fours, and stand one foot at a time. Top tips here are to keep your focus on the horizon. (If you’re looking down at the water, chances are that’s where you’ll fall!) Try and find something that won’t move to focus on. Additionally, get your paddle in the water as quick as possible, as this will give you an extra level of balance.

Most boards have a handle in the centre, put your feet either side of the handle. It’s also a good idea to keep a slight bend in your knees to help with balancing.

Remember that most beginners will usually fall off so don’t be disheartened! Jump back on and keep trying!

Taster Sessions For Just £40pp

learn SUP surf explore adventure

What Else Do I Need To Know?


A vital element when you learn to stand up paddleboard. Holding the paddle the correct way will help you paddle in the most efficient way. Most will have a ‘T’ grip at the top so you can hold this, while using your other hand to grip the shaft.

SUP paddles also tend to have an offset blade, meaning you need to paddle with the blade bending away from you. This means your paddle will catch the greatest amount of water, therefore helping you paddle more easily

There are many methods to measure your paddle to fit you perfectly. A good rule of thumb is with the paddle vertically in front of you (on dry land) you should be able to hold the T grip with your arm extended above your head. Check your paddle length by ensuring the blade is completely submerged in the water without you needing to bend down to reach.

surf sup sea adventure

Learn To Stand Up Paddleboard –  Kit

The conditions you paddle in, and your own skill level, will dictate what kit you’ll need for paddling.

If you’re SUPing in the great British weather, a wetsuit is normally helpful to keep you warm (especially if you’re going to fall in!) and a PFD or buoyancy aid is an important piece of kit to keep you safe.

Learn to SUP in Studland With Us This Summer

Last but definitely not least- don’t forget to always wear the leash to attach you to your board, this is an important safety feature. Learn more about leashes here.

durdle door dorset learn sup stand up paddleboard coast explore

Want To Learn More?

If we’ve whetted your appetite for all things SUP, why not come and join us in Studland! With awesome Old Harry Rocks in the background, our instructors will help you feel comfortable as you learn to stand up paddleboard in Studland!

Learn More & Book Your SUP Session In Studland With Us!

learn stand up paddleboard surf sup sea adventure


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