Top 10 Common Paddle Boarding Mistakes

Top 10 Common Paddle Boarding Mistakes

Paddle boarding is great. You can rock up almost anywhere, pump your board up and get on the water. This is what has led to the recent boom in popularity. Also how simple it is to get going. But with this simplicity also comes room for mistakes. So here we will look at the top 10 common paddle boarding mistakes people make. 

group of paddle boarders holding their boards as they enter the water

  1. The wrong board – getting the wrong board for what you plan to do can make life hard. Having a short one for surfing when trying to paddle long distances, or a long narrow racing board for yoga. Make sure you have the right board for the paddling you are doing. 
  2. Under Inflation – having your board under inflated will mean it is missing the rigidity that makes paddling easy. You’ll find the board to be unstable and lead to you spending more time in the water. 
  3. Over inflation – pumping too much air into the board will lead to damage. Putting the glue and stitching that holds the board together under too much pressure. This will be even worse in the warmer months as the air also expands in the heat.
  4. Wrong Leash – wearing the wrong type of leash, attaching it to the wrong place, or not wearing a leash. These mistakes are far more common than they should be. Always wear a leash, and it should be the correct one for your environment. Check out our easy guide here
  5. Buoyancy Aid – people often think they don’t need one as they are on flat calm water, or because they have a leash attaching them to a huge inflatable board. However, this isn’t true. You should always wear one because you don’t know what might happen. You may find yourself in the water without your board, struggling to float. So make sure you always wear this life saving piece of kit and ensure it is fitted correctly. 

a man on a paddle board on his knees wearing a buoyancy aid

  1. Paddle the right way – having your paddle the right way round makes life a million times easier. The blade actually angles away from you, meaning as you pull the paddle past your body the blade is vertical in the water. And make sure all the blade is in the water!
  2. Standing in the wrong place – this can massively affect your balance. Too far forward and the nose will dig in making paddling hard. Too far back and you’ll be wobbling around on the tail. As a rule of thumb, look to have your feet either side of the grab handle in the middle of the board. This should give you a good position to balance. 
  3. Check the weather – being stood up on a board makes you way more vulnerable to the elements. The wind will blow you off course, and make life difficult. Rain will soak you through. And the cold will get to you quicker. So check the weather forecast before you go out and plan and dress accordingly. 
  4. Eyes down – looking down at your feet is going to make you more wobbly and paddle off course. If you look up at where you are going to then you will be more stable and much faster. 
  5. Research your paddling spot – make sure that where you are off to paddle is the right place for you. If you are new to paddle boarding then look for a quiet calm patch of water. Avoid any potential hazards you aren’t experienced in. 

a solo paddle boarder on a lake with a large hill behind her

The mistakes aren’t limited to these top 10. So any time you are heading to the water make sure you check out our safety advice, brush up on your paddling skills by taking a course or two, and look to go with one of the British Canoeing Delivery Partners