Beginner Activities On A SUP

In General, SUP Activity Recommendations by Perfect Paddles

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In order to try something new, we must first have the courage it takes to be a novice and all that comes along with it. This may entail feelings of uncertainty, failures in the early stages, and overwhelming frustrations. We may find ourselves not wanting to continue with the activity, instead looking towards the horizon, landing on the next venture to either succeed or fail. But that’s okay. These feelings are only natural at the beginning of any endeavor. And the beginning stages of SUP can be no different.

The team at Perfect Paddles have been involved in the sport for a multitude of years. We have seen all types of successes and failures on a board. On occasion new participants take naturally to the feeling of standing on the water, while others have a hard time even balancing on their knees. Multiple factors may contribute to these early failures- from board type, instructor competence and even weather. But what we have also seen multiple times is perseverance to overcome these early hardships. Mix in a little determination, and almost everyone successfully stands on a board.

That is, of course, what we strive for when undertaking anything new- success. And yet, the hardest part can just be accepting our early struggles at the onset. It is in these lessons we can understand more deeply who we are. And often, in just trying something new, we may find in ourselves a strength yet untapped.

Early struggles on a SUP often lead to joyous successes. And luckily, one of the most attractive aspects of SUP are the multitude of lessons and activities offered to even the most inexperienced paddler. So, once you are ready to face the feelings of being a beginner, check out these numerous activities listed on Perfect Paddles. This can be your chance to use SUP as a conduit to learn, grow, become stronger and most importantly, get on the water!

Flat Water
In its simplest form, stand up paddle boarding takes place on what is called flat water. This may include lakes, ponds, bay tributaries, or the bay itself. The idea is to keep new paddlers on a calm surface of water, shielded from the elements and other activity in order to provide the easiest environment possible for beginners. When the water is calm, so is the paddler.

Outfitters and shops will often have a specified spot on land in order to hold beginner lessons next to the flat-water paddling area. It is here instructors will discuss certain nuances of paddling such as the proper way to hold a paddle, the correct length, paddle stroke, how to successfully stand on a board once it is in the water, and also how to get back onto a board if you find yourself swimming in the early stages.

After the on-land lessons, instructors will guide students to the launch area where they will equip them with a paddle and help them onto a board. Once the paddler is free from any obstructions, it is then time to give standing a try. If done successfully, the instructor will guide the class in a slow-paced paddle through the various areas of the waterbody they find themselves in. Often, beginner lessons on flat water will last anywhere between 45 mins to over an hour, at which time the instructor will paddle back to the launch spot and assist in getting the class back on land.

Paddling flat water is the best way to break into the sport of SUP. The calm surface provides the easiest environment for the novice paddler to become easily acquainted to the feeling of kneeling, standing, and paddling. For those with serious beginner anxiety be sure to start here.

Check out these participating Buddy Deal shops on Perfect Paddles for a calm flat-water paddle:


Full Moon

Being a night person is an acquired taste. Because of this, night owls often find themselves with limited options to enjoy an evening with friends. Mostly relegated to bars, restaurants or clubs, the possibilities of doing something unique often shrink alongside the streaks of sun fading over the horizon. But that is where SUP comes in.

Maybe instead of reaching for the cell phone to look up which live band is playing in your favorite bar, text your friends about paddle boarding at night under a bright full moon. Sounds a tad more interesting, doesn’t it? And the good news is, most shops holding full moon paddles open them to all skill levels, including beginners.

Once you are scheduled to participate, grab a headlight (if you own one), your favorite drink, your best friends, and meet at the designated launch spot provided by your local shop. Instructors running the event may or may not hold a quick lesson, after which you will be launched on the body of water to paddle around, reveling in the fact that night people have a more exciting option regarding how to spend an evening. Full moon paddles may last around an hour and are an excellent way to spend a unique evening in the natural beauty of the moon spotted landscape. As a bonus, on a clear night you may not even need a light!

Check out these Buddy Deal shops for a Full Moon paddle:

Glow Paddles

Falling under additional interesting night activities, Glow Paddles include a SUP outfitted with LED lights which illuminate the surrounding surface of the board to give the paddler adequate light to see where they are paddling as well as their fellow participants.

Often guided by an instructor, the paddlers will follow a set course around a specified calm body of water where they can uniquely experience areas such as marinas, open bays, and sometimes even dock bars. In addition, paddlers are often provided with other glow-stick paraphernalia where they can wear them on their heads, wrists, even ankles (as long as it doesn’t interfere with your leash!). Experience an exciting evening with friends as you bring the feeling of clubbing to the water. And see onlookers gaze at the energy you bring to any scene!

This wholly unique and fun activity can be experienced at these participating Buddy Deal shops, or search on Perfect Paddles for one in your area:


The best way to break into the sport of SUP is by signing up for a beginner lesson. As with any new activity it is often necessary to consult an experienced paddler before taking the leap into standing up on the water. Besides the tips and tricks, SUP instructors are trained in rescue as well as CPR if something were to go wrong. Having the instructor involved in the lesson provides an added safety-net as well as piece of mind, especially if a parent has a young child participating in the lesson. Think of them as a supervising lifeguard for the duration of the paddle.

Instructors will guide participants through a 101 course of paddling on a body of water. This includes the proper technique of holding a paddle. Often beginners will find themselves paddling with the scooped edge of the blade when the correct way of paddling requires the use of the flat edge to push water in a more efficient manner. In addition, lessons on proper stroke technique, tips on how to stop, turn around, and of course stand up successfully are crucial for any beginner taking on the sport. And if you were to fall into the water and were unable to get back onto the board, instructors are also trained in the technique of using the board as buoyancy to propel the paddler back onto the safety of the board. Starting off on the correct path regarding SUP should include a beginner lesson for any novice.

Find a beginner lesson at one of these Buddy Deal locations:

  • Go Stand Up Paddle in Rio Verse, Arizona offering an additional hour for free
  • Paddles Up in Ocean Springs, Mississippi offering 5% off all services and retail
  • Rodanthe Watersports in Rodanthe, North Carolina offering 15% off camping and 25% off board rentals- great deal for those in the NC area!


Maybe you are a confident soul looking to try a new activity and do not require any background knowledge or lessons. You’ve conquered everything before and now you are looking for another realm to prove your excellence. That’s great! Well, consider renting boards your preferred way of entering SUP.

Most shops and outfitters offer customers the ability to rent a board, paddle, lifejacket and leash for an hour, a day, even 24 hours before having to return them. With this option you are not guaranteed a lesson, but you have the ability to learn in the most effective way possible- through experience. By finding your own way through the trials of trying to stand up on a board and paddle, you may gain the knowledge to not only make SUP a large portion of your life but teach it as well. Just be sure to sign all waivers provided by the shop before heading out on your solo adventure!

Check out board rentals and other options at these select shops or search for one in your area:

  • Paddle Works in Manasquan, New Jersey offering 10% off all services
  • Goff Tours in Laguna Beach, California offering 15% off lessons and tours
  • Demo Sport in San Rafael, California offering 10% off all services

Sunrise and Sunset

One of the most beautiful ways to spend a morning or an evening is sun gazing. The act of watching the sun rise or set can be healthy ways of resetting the body and mind, getting yourself ready for the day ahead or leaving the day behind. An interesting twist on this relaxing activity is experiencing it on a standup paddle board. And whether you are a morning person, or you enjoy evenings better, SUP has you covered.

Shops and outfitters across the globe recognized the opportunity SUP gave them to beginning and ending their days on a positive note. As such, many offer sunrise and sunset paddles where participants will meet with a group of paddlers along with an instructor. The instructor will set them up with a paddle and board, possibly provide a quick guideline to paddling and then usher everyone onto the water to either see the sunrise across the water, starting your day off right, or watch the sunset behind the darkening landscape, letting their worries of the day melt away.

This can be a great way to supplement your daily meditation practices as it provides beginning paddlers with a relaxing, enjoyable start or end to any day of the week. To see shops who offer Buddy Deals on Sunrise and Sunset paddles check out the list below:

SUP Yoga

Inhale fully, exhale slowly. You feel it. Your body in the familiar poses. The silent ache of stretching in downward dog, the release of guiding yourself into upward dog. Let the breath propel your practice. You've done this before, a thousand times. And yet, something is different. Close by, birds begin to chirp in the early morning summer haze. The sun bathes your skin in flame, sprouting waves of energy through your veins. And there's movement underneath your mat coupled with gentle sounds of water lightly tapping against a hard surface, pushed in your direction by the early morning wind- the first signs of awakening on a lazy summer morning. This is yoga on a SUP. And this is why it has become so popular.

Through the early 2000’s yoga exploded on the East and West Coast of the United States. The hot classes full of muscle stretching poses helped countless people relieve chronic issues throughout their bodies. As its popularity has grown so has the market for other interesting opportunities for yogis to expand their practice. One of these ways is on a SUP.

Classes consist of a small group of people paddling to a select, calm spot of water, usually on a bay or lake, where they can drop anchors and practice a full yoga class in peace. While this activity may be ideal for the beginner paddle, as it usually does not involve an immense amount of paddling, it may not be suitable for a novice in yoga. Long time participants of yoga will agree, some of the poses can be difficult, and that is on land. Now couple that with the unstable surface of a SUP and the potential for falling into the water intensifies. If you have experience in taking multiple yoga classes and have confidence in your balance, then you are qualified to take a SUP yoga class as they are ideal for the beginning paddler. It can be an excellent combination of being in nature, practicing yoga, and adding a new activity to your list: paddle boarding.

Be sure to check out these Buddy Deal shops to get on the water and expand your yoga practice:


An interesting take on beginner activities on a SUP can involve taking a long paddle board tour. These excursions usually last longer than the traditional beginner lesson. Instead of the typical 45 minutes to an hour, participants will get to experience paddling for up to 90 minutes. The reason for this extension of time is due to the sights seen and the distance covered during most tours.

The location of the tour will dictate the length and scenery you will experience along the way. But the point of taking a tour is just that- to experience new scenery. Whether you find yourself in the Florida Keys, hopping from one tiny island to another, gazing at the abundance of marine life swimming in the clear waters, or along the California coast, setting your sights on the sheer rock cliffs, you are guaranteed to have a fun and exciting time on the water. The possibilities of what you can see are only limited to where you are on the map.

To check out what tours are available in your area search on Perfect Paddles! And be sure to check out these participating Buddy Deals shops:


When some people look at the activity of SUP, they see a peaceful way of getting on the water, enjoying nature, all while getting some light exercise. It’s a leisurely endeavor filled with good times and even better friends. But on the other hand, some people see the potential SUP holds to drastically raise their overall fitness and get into the best shape of their lives. The mechanisms behind this idea are varied.

While traditional resistance training will target each muscle group separately, when you paddle board all the core muscles come into play working together just to keep you standing and dry. As you balance yourself, you are moving around your body weight, shuffling it between your feet and at the same time using the paddle to exert balancing/propelling force on the uneven water surface. Additionally, to propel and drive the SUP forward, you must rely on a controlled and coordinated rhythm of paddle strokes. Other than core muscles, paddle boarding is excellent in developing specific muscle groups in the shoulder, upper back and chest region. Because of the dramatic results paddle enthusiasts have been seeing, working out on a SUP has become to be quite popular.

Most shops have recognized this growing exercise demand and have added additional classes involving fitness and SUP to push the new paddler in becoming stronger and faster in the water and on land. These classes are typically around 45 minutes in length and are labeled as SUP Bootcamp, PaddleFit, or other obvious names. Just be sure you are looking for a SUP workout when you sign up and not a beginner lesson or you may be in for a surprise!

Check out these Buddy Deal shops holding SUP workouts:

Something Different

This is the most interesting category for beginner paddles to consider. As we know, almost every shop or outfitter usually provides the standard beginner lesson, rental, tours and yoga class. But due to the growing nature of SUP certain shops have taken the idea of paddling to new and interesting places. An example of this can be seen with a company called Paddle and Strum.

Led by Jodie Lee out of Longmont, Colorado, her classes take beginners through a standard course on paddling at sunset where participants will learn the necessary technique to feel confident on the water. The paddling section of the evening lasts around an hour. After the initial lesson though, Jodie will then circle everyone up on their boards and proceed to lead the class in a ukulele lesson, completing teaching on two songs that the class will learn. By combining her two passions, Jodie has created something truly different to experience on a SUP!

Additionally, Portsmouth Paddle Co in New Hampshire offer paddlers a unique take on the SUP tour by offering what they call and Eagle Nest Tour. Their location in New Hampshire holds a unique opportunity to view the resident bald eagles who call the surrounding waters their home. It is not unusual to see these eagles swoop down and snag a fish all from the seat of your standup paddle board!

SUP Pups California, located in San Diego, are also offering a wholly distinctive take on paddle boarding by offering beginner lessons and tours for owners and their dogs. Through a 1-hour long course, instructors will take participants from being on land to the water, where they will feel exceptionally comfortable on the board. From there, they will slowly introduce your dog to the board and the water, eventually getting your pup on board and paddling right along with you! Their fees include the lesson, human flotation device and even one for your dog. With their long-term experience in paddling and getting dogs on the water, owners will feel confident in getting themselves on the board as well as their pups!

You may also find ideas such as a SUP n’ Sip which entails a guided bar crawl on a paddle board, SUP fishing tours where you can cast a line off the side of your board, or even demo days offered by select shops where they allow potential customers to try different boards before buying one. These are just a few of the unique opportunity’s beginners can find listed on Perfect Paddles under the section “Something Different.” Be sure to check out what your local shop or outfitter has to offer as this category is limited only by their imagination!

Participating Buddy Deal shops include:


Stand up paddle boarding has many different avenues beginners can take in order to introduce themselves to the sport. At Perfect Paddles we recommend for the first time SUP enthusiast a beginner lesson with a qualified teacher at a shop or outfitter in your area. This will give potential paddlers a far-reaching sight of everything SUP- from paddle stroke to water regulations and everything in between. By starting with this solid foundation rest assured you will have the necessary tools to be a successful paddler. But, as is the case with almost everything in life, not everyone takes the same route. And because of this, shops and outfitters have created a variety of options for the beginner paddler to get on the water in new and exciting ways. Be sure to check out what your local shops offers, sign up using our Buddy Deals, and we will see you out on the water!

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Perfect Paddles

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