Paddle Boarding In Winthrop

Learning how to stand up paddle board is simple and just takes a few minutes to catch on. Paddling provides a great full body and core workout. Many athletes have used SUP as a cross training tool for other sports or simply taken it up as their primary sport. It doesn’t take a whole lot of experience or equipment to get started. Here is the low down on how to start walking on water in no time!

What To Expect

At Methow River Raft + Kayak, we've got everything covered for a great day of paddling at the local lakes. We'll provide you with all the gear you need and can also direct you to some awesome local paddle spots. 

SUP Basics

Although it might seem intimidating, our paddle boards are large and wide and you'll soon find your balance and see that it's a lot easier than it looks.  Here are some basics to get you started: 

Setting Your Stance

For some it helps to practice setting your stance on the beach before you get in the water. This way you are comfortable with the motion of getting up on your board. Here are some key points on setting stance on your SUP:

  • Your toes should be facing forward with your feet parallel and about hip to should width apart depending on the width of your board.
  • Be sure to not stand on the rails of your board.
  • A relaxed slight bend in your knees will help you stay balanced out there.
  • Stand with your head and shoulders upright with your eyes looking ahead and not down at your feet.
  • Forward movement of the board through the water will help increase your stability. 
  • Make minor adjustments if needed forward or backwards depending on how the board is riding.

Getting On Your Paddleboard

Now that you have the basic motion down to getting on your board we are ready to get in the water. It is always best to start in calm water if you are a beginner. Another thing to consider is the amount of boaters, buoys, and other paddlers in the area. You want to avoid as many obstacles as possible when you are starting out so you can put your full attention and focus on getting down the basic motions. Here are some steps to get on the board:

  • If in shallow water place the board face up so the fin is not dragging in the sand and rocks.
  • Walk the board out to around knee high water with the paddle laying across the deck of your board. 
  • Grip the rails (sides) of the board and pop onto the board in a kneeling position slightly behind the center of the board.
  • In the position you can get a feel for balancing on the board. You can feel the side to side and front to back balance point.
  • From the kneeling postion you can actually start paddling if you prefer to get comfortable with a lower center of gravity first.
  • Once you feel comfortable place your hands on the sides of the board and stand up at that balance point you felt.
  • You are now standing on your board and ready to start your stroke!

Basic Strokes

Now that you are up and balancing on your board it is time to get to paddling. This is not as challanging as most people think. Here are some basics to get you started:


You want one hand wrapped over the top of the paddle and the other gripping the shaft of the paddle. When paddling on the right side of the board your left hand will be on time and vice versa. 

The Basic Stroke

  • Keep your arms straight with just a slight bend in the elbow.
  • Maintain a straight back and bend at the knees to avoid injury. Do not hunch over.
  • Think of the power come from your core rather than upper body.
  • Extend the blade forward as far as comfortable and fully submerge the blade.
  • Only after it is full submerged pull the paddle back towards your feet.
  • The more straight up and the paddle is the more straight it will propel you.
  • Shorter strokes are best to start with when you are a beginner.
  • Do 3-4 strokes and then switch sides with your paddle. Reverse hand positions when doing this.

Back Paddle

The backwards paddle is a quick way to turn your board around. Simply reverse the direction of your stroke while still facing forward. This will create a 180 degree turn almost completely in place.

Fall And Recovery

As easy as it is to catch on to SUP, at some point you will loose your balance and fall off the board. As your skills develop you experience a lot less of this. Here are some pointers when you feel you are about to fall:

  • Always be aware of any objects around such as other paddlers, buoys, or other watercraft.
  • When you feel yourself loosing your balance and about to fall, give the board a little push away as you fall. Falling in the water is a lot better than falling into your board.
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