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How To Launch A Paddle Board Expertly

Posted by Alex Clasper

When learning to paddle board, naturally you’ll spend a lot of time learning how to stand up on the board, and more importantly, how to stay balanced without falling in the water. However, one of the most important skills to learn that is often overlooked, is how to launch a paddle board. From the sidelines it might look pretty easy, however unless you’ve mastered the technique of how to launch a paddle board, it’s all too easy to fall in the water, whilst your SUP goes in the other direction. That’s why we’ve put together the following guide on how to launch a paddle board like a pro. 

Step 1: Check Your Location

Choosing a safe location to paddle in should be a top priority. If you are a beginner, you should avoid paddling in tidal water and instead go for flat water conditions, such as a lake. Before you leave home, it’s essential you check the weather to ensure that conditions are safe at your chosen location. Wind and heavy rainfall are a big no no, and so if you’re at all concerned about weather conditions you should postpone your trip until conditions are safe. Make sure to read our SUP safety advice before you plan your next trip.

Step 2: Find A Calm & Quiet Launch Spot

A crucial step in how to launch a paddle board properly is finding a quiet and calm spot to set off from. You want to ensure you have plenty of distance between yourself and other water users so that you don’t interfere with their time on the water and so that you can take your time launching. Make sure you’re in a calm area of water in order to make launching easier.

Step 3: Wade Into Knee-Deep Water

The next step in how to launch a paddle board is to wade into knee-deep water with your SUP pointing in the direction you are headed. The water needs to be deep enough that the fin on your SUP won’t scrape along the bottom once you’re standing on the board. Knee-deep water is usually deep enough to give the fins on most SUPs enough clearance.

two women walking into the sea carrying paddle boards

Step 4: Position Your SUP

When discussing how to launch a paddle board successfully, taking your time is key. That’s why one of the key steps in how to launch a paddle board is positioning your board and paddle. Hold your SUP to one side, facing in the direction you want it to go, and place your paddle along it, on the opposite side of the board from where you’re currently standing.

Step 5: Start In A Kneeling Position

Keeping one hand on the paddle to stop it from falling off, grip the rails for stability and place one knee on the SUP. Next, raise the other knee so that you’re kneeling on the board. You want to aim for the centre of the board to ensure that your weight is properly balanced.

group of people stand up paddle boarding with one person kneeling and paddling

Step 6: Or Start Lying Down

If you’re struggling to start by kneeling, then starting in a lying down position is another option for how to launch a paddle board.  You can start by lying on the SUP and using your hands to paddle out, like you would on a surfboard.

Step 7: Standing Up

Once you’re on the SUP (either kneeling or lying down), the final stage in how to launch a paddle board is of course standing up. There are different techniques for standing up, however we recommend the following tips:

  • Starting from a kneeling position, put your hands on the sides of the board to stabilise it, and move each foot to where your knees were
  • As you start to stand up, put the majority of your weight onto your hands for stability
  • Stand up into a tall position slowly by keeping your knees bent and raising your chest up
  • Once your chest is vertical, start extending your legs up to a standing position


Once you’re up and on your feet all that’s left to do is enjoy your paddle! 

If you’d like any further advice on how to launch a paddle board, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, and make sure to check out our paddle boarding tips to perfect your skills.