How to Get Back on Your SUP Board

Whether an intentional or unintentional dunking happens while you SUP, getting back on your board is something you need to learn…

SUP paddle and board

Our friends at Heliconia produced this short video about getting back on your SUP from the water:


Do you hesitate to try this popular paddle sport because you’re afraid of falling off your paddle board? Well, you don’t have to let that stop you.

First of all, part of stand-up paddleboarding is embracing the water! As veteran SUPer, Karla Briones, recommends:

“You’re going to fall in the water! Just accept it. The best thing you can do is practice falling off the board and then practice getting back on. That eliminates the fear and stress of falling and gets you used to being wet.”

So…let’s break down the video’s suggestions…

Keep Safety Top-of-Mind

There are two safety items you need: a PFD (personal flotation device) and a leash between you and your board.

There are several different types of PFDs available at various price points. Read “Safety First: Wear a Life Jacket When You SUP” for an overview of what’s out there. Choose what fits your budget and what will make you comfortable for your own safety.

A leash will attach to your board on one end, and around one of your legs on the other. Leashes can be either coiled or straight, depending on your paddling conditions. For more info, read this article on SUP Magazine.

How to Safely Fall Off a SUP Board

You want to fall away from your board, with your paddle held out to the side—you don’t want to land on either of them. Be careful you don’t dive head-first, unless you’re absolutely sure what’s under the water’s surface.

If you have to choose between keeping your board or your paddle after a fall, always choose your board. You can use your board to retrieve your paddle, but not the other way around. Of course, if you have a leash, you won’t have to choose!

Get Back on Your Board

You can climb back on from either the side or back of your board. If you’re on the side, grab ahold of the carry handle. Use your feet and legs to kick you out of the water while you pull with your arms.

how to get back on a SUP board

Climbing back on from the tail-end is easiest with boards that will submerge slightly. Pull yourself onto your belly (watching so your PFD doesn’t get hung up) and up the board.

Hold your paddle, come to your knees, look ahead rather than down (your balance will be better) and plant your feet one at a time. Press up like you’re doing a squat, with your back straight—and you’re ready to go.

If you’re in surf or rough conditions, you may want to stay on your belly and hand-paddle to calmer water. Keep your paddle tucked underneath you so you don’t lose it.

Time to get out and practice!

Let us help you choose a SUP paddle—contact our Wisconsin-based Customer Service team today: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]

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