Stand Up Paddle boarding- Getting Back to the Basics

Stand up paddle boards (SUP) offer a fun, relaxing way to play on the water. With a minimum of gear, you can paddle ocean surf or placid lakes and rivers.

Paddle boarding delivers a full-body workout and thus has become a popular cross-training activity. And since you stand at your full height, you can enjoy unique views of everything from sea creatures to what’s on the horizon.

When you’re new to the sport, it’s best to start out in flat, calm water that’s free of obstacles like boats and buoys.

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At first, you may find it easier to kneel on the board rather than to stand upright. Here are the steps to get you started:

  • Standing alongside the board in shallow water, place your paddle across the deck of the board and use it as an outrigger. The paddle grip is on the rail (edge) of the board; the blade rests on the water.
  • Hold the board by the rails. One hand will also be holding the paddle grip.
  • Climb onto the board in a kneeling position, just behind the center point of the board.
  • From that kneeling position, get a feel for the balance point of the board. The nose shouldn’t pop up out of the water and the tail shouldn’t dig in.
  • Keep your hands on either side of the board to stabilize it.
  • Once you’re ready, stand up on the board one foot at a time. Place your feet where your knees were. You might also bring a friend to help stabilize the board as you get the hang of standing on it.

SUP Stance

To maintain your balance as you stand upright on the board:

  • Your feet should be parallel, about hip-width distance apart, centered between the board rails (edges). Don’t stand on the rails.
  • Keep toes pointed forward, knees bent and your back straight.
  • Balance with your hips—not your upper body.
  • Keep your head and shoulders steady and upright, and shift your weight by moving your hips.
  • Your gaze should be level at the horizon. Avoid staring at your feet.
  • Much like bicycling, when your forward momentum increases, your stability increases as well.

SUP Stroke

Once you’re comfortable balancing on the board in flat water, it's time to take off on a longer excursion—where the real fun begins.

Here are some Quicktips on Paddeling and Stroke:

Stand up paddle board myths


Myth #1: Stand up paddle boards are REALLY heavy!

Reality: Though at first glance the stand up paddle boards look as though they could be heavy due to the beautiful wood veneer surface coupled with the length of the boards, they are actually significantly lighter than they appear. Each board has an ultra-light EPS core and are built using lightweight yet durable wood veneers such as pine and paulownia. 

In fact, the heaviest stand up paddle board that Celilo Paddle Company offers is a mere 29 pounds, the average weight of a 3 year old child! So if you can pick up a child, you can carry a SUP.


Myth #2: You have to be a very experienced paddler to ride anything but an all-around board.

Reality: Nope. It really comes down preference. If you already know which type of board you prefer, ride that one. If you are a beginner unfamiliar with the varieties, try them all and see what you like! We promise there are no rules against taking a race board for a leisurely paddle!


Myth #3: I don't have good balance so I won't be able to paddle board.

Reality: The stand up paddle boards at Celilo Paddle Company are remarkably stable! They remain stable even if the water gets a bit rough. Those who are very young to the very old and many in between have had success staying atop a paddle board. Some even prefer to kneel or sit on the paddle board, making their chances of falling in the water a bit less. And in the event that you do fall in the water, you'll probably only get a little wet but will be no worse for the wear!


Myth #4: I can only paddle board in perfect weather/river conditions.

Reality: Many things have an effect on the weather and river conditions but, unfortunately, our preference isn't one of them! Fortunately, board manufacturers, including Latitude 44, have designed their boards to adapt to various weather conditions. A couple nice examples of this are our 12' Cascade and our 12'6 Metolius with their pointy noses and wide tails that glide beautifully through the water even when it gets a bit choppy.