No matter how experienced you are, you’re bound to fall off your paddle board. The hardest thing to learn when you start paddle boarding, is how to balance and stay upright, so when you first get on your board, you’re going to fall off – a lot. The slightest wobble of the board, and you’re in the water trying to work out how to get back on a paddle board after falling. As you get more experienced, you will find it easier to stay upright, and on those occasions when you do end up in the water, you’ll soon learn the best way to get back on.
There are several different designs of paddleboard, but the same procedure can be used for any size, weight or width. You may just need to make a few minor alterations depending on your style of board.
It may sound odd, but before you fall off, you should actually learn the best way to fall, as this can help prevent you from receiving a nasty injury from your board as you go down.
Tips For Falling Off a Paddle Board
Before you practice falling, make sure you are wearing a life jacket. These should always be used, even if you are a strong swimmer, as you never know what will happen if you fall in to deep water.
So just how do you fall off a paddle board?
- When you feel yourself start to fall, your instinct will tell you to try to hold on to the board. If you do, you run the risk of landing on the board or knocking in to it and this could cause you an injury. As soon as you start to feel yourself fall, don’t try to stop yourself. Let yourself go with it and position yourself so that you fall away from the board. This will take some getting used to, as you will automatically want to fall close to your board, but don’t worry about that. As you get more experience and you gain confidence you will soon recognise the beginnings of a fall and you will find you know exactly what you need to do.
- While it might be hard to start with, try to turn your body so that you fall flat in to the water and not sideways. Landing flat on the water will stop you from going too deep in to the water, and if there are rocks underneath could help you avoid an injury. If you can, point your toes down as you fall. This will break your fall and help you to slide slowly into the water. You also need to ensure that your fall doesn’t cause you to plunge underneath the water. Not only is this hazardous if you are in shallow water, but if you are in deeper water you may find yourself picked up in undercurrents.
- If you are able to, hold on to your board, but if you feel it might fall back on to you, let go. Holding on is easier if you have a board leash, but this too has its own hazards. If you don’t fall away from the board, you may find that the leash causes you to bang your ankle on the way down. The leash will also cause the paddleboard to move back to you very quickly so if you’re not prepared it could give you a very nasty bash. If you do not have a leash, make a note as you fall as to where your paddle board has gone.
This may sound like a lot to take in, and in fact it may even sound quite scary, but with practice, falling correctly and being aware of any potential hazards will become second nature to you.
Now that you’ve fallen off, it’s time to find out how to get back on a paddleboard after falling.
TIP Before you start, find a quiet space and practice falling off. Given that you are likely to fall off frequently when you begin, you may find this practice invaluable.
Getting Back On Your Paddle Board
So now you’re in the water, with your paddle board floating next to you. When you first start to paddle board, you may find your first fall causes you to panic, so always try to remain calm. You don’t want to rush getting back onto your board or you may simply find that you fall straight back in.
So let’s have a look at the best way to get you standing back up ready to carry on with your boarding.
1. If you haven’t already, find your board and swim close to it. If you have a leash then your board will always be right next to you and this is where a leash is at its most beneficial. Then, depending on which is your dominant hand, position yourself to the right or left of the board. If you are left handed, climb up from the right and if you are right handed, climb up from the left. When you are in the right position, hold on to the carry handle with your less dominant hand.
2. Always tread water as this will ensure that your weight is correctly placed so that you can get into the best position. Don’t try to get the board to carry your weight. With your less dominant hand on the carry handle, lean across with your dominant hand to grab the rails.
3. Now that you have a firm grip, raise your legs so that they are floating on the surface and kick the water behind you. While you do this, slide your stomach onto the center of the board. If you try to pull yourself up on to the end of the board you’ll simply end up back in the water.
4. Keep hold of the carry handle and the rail and slowly slide the rest of your body onto the length of the board.
5. Don’t let go, and lie on the board while the water calms back down.
6. When you are sure the water is steady, move your body in to a sitting position, with your legs either side of the board.
7. When you are ready, put the paddle across the board, move your weight on to your hands, and bring your feet up on to the board. Make sure your soles are flat on the board to help you balance. Slowly rise to a standing position. Using your paddle in the water can sometimes help with your balance.
Now you’re up, you’re ready to go.
TIP when you find yourself in the water next to your paddleboard, instinct will tell you to grab the side and pull yourself up. If you do this, your weight will not be evenly placed and the board is more likely to simply shoot out from underneath you.
While there are variations in the size, shape and material of a paddle board, the procedure used for how to get back on a paddleboard after falling is always the same. You may find that you have to make some minor adjustments when getting back on the board, but if you stick to the same seven steps you will soon be ready for action again.
Everyone falls, no matter how experienced, and using the right technique can help you fall safely and get back on your board quickly so you can carry on with your fun.
Still think you need some help? Check out this great video below for some more help.