10 things you need to know before you try paddleboarding.

Image via Instagram/@barrefaeli.

Jennifer Hawkins has tried it. So have Kendall Jenner and Rihanna.

Paddleboarding is all the rage among the rich and famous, but there’s no reason why you can’t try it too.

Most of the time when we see photos of celebrities paddleboarding, their facial expressions suggest complete relaxation — which might lead you to wonder if it’s actually a good workout.

Turns out, the answer is yes.

“Paddleboarding uses the body in very different ways from most other exercise modalities. Because you are standing still on a surface that is highly variable, paddleboarding is excellent at improving your proprioception,” Thamsin Dunn, National Master Coach, Fitness Instructor and First Aid for the Australian Institute of Fitness, explains.

how to get fit

Kendall Jenner paddleboarding. (Image via Instagram/@Kendalljenner.)

Good proprioception — that is, your body's awareness of itself in space — is what prevents major injury in peripheral joints, which is why we see a lot of athletes paddleboarding during their off-seasons.

"The paddling motion further challenges this proprioception. The body now has to coordinate on an unstable and variable surface, with vast centre-of-gravity changes each stroke. This also helps improve dynamic core strength as the core manages the rotation and flexion through the lumbar spine," Dunn says.

There are also some strength benefits, he adds, particularly for the legs and back muscles. This also helps to improve posture.

10 tips for paddleboarding

1. Get lessons

While it might look super easy, there are skills involved in paddleboarding so it will pay off big time if you get yourself into a lesson to begin with.

"Many people think they would be better off spending their money when they can already do [it] a bit. This is wrong — if you try and teach yourself, you'll learn terrible habits that are hard to break in the future," Dunn explains.

2. Start off slow

You already have enough to think about when learning a new skill, so make it easier for yourself by beginning in calm waters.

"Find the calmest, stillest shallow water possible, don't head straight for Bondi [beach], for example. And always ride the waves that you can handle," Dunn advises.

Jen Hawkins trying her hand at paddleboarding. (Image via Instagram.)

3. Safety first.

The number one rule in the water is to be safe, so Dunn says if you aren't confident confident swimming in open water, get some lessons so you're comfortable before you begin paddleboarding.

4. Learn through 'part practice'.

Dunn explains that the best way to approach paddleboarding is to not focus on everything all at once. Paddleboarding is a skill that can take time, and by focusing on the parts that make up the whole, it will be easier to get the hang of.

"Start by working on your stance and balance, then work on your paddling skills. Then, put them all together," Dunn says. (Post continues after video.)

5. Wear a leash.

There is a leash on the board for a reason! Dunn says there's nothing worse than your body going one way, and the board going the other, so make sure you strap the leash around your ankle.

6. Make sure your paddle is facing the right way.

There are a few little giveaways that will make you look like a bit silly. Just like skis need to go the correct way, so does your board.

"Nothing screams 'novice' more than someone scooping the water," Dunn explains.

So channel your inner RiRi. She knows which way the board needs to go.

Rihanna knows which way her board should be facing. (Image via Instagram.)

7. Keep your eyes on the horizon.

Dunn explains that if you look down, you'll fall off. No one needs that — so keep your eye straight ahead.

8. Slip slop slap.

We are all about sun safety (plus it's cool again, didn't you hear?) here at The Glow, and when you're out on the water, there is all the more reason to be cautious.

"You will have the sun bearing down on you, and the reflection from the water coming back up. If you aren't suitable protected, you'll fry," Dunn says. (Post continues after gallery.)


9. Good quality equipment is a must.

"Go to a specialist surf shop, and get someone to help you choose. This will save a lot of grief in the long run," Dunn explains.

10. Don't give up.

Skills take time, so if you don't get it straight away, don't give up. Get back on the board, because paddleboarding, above all else, is a fun way to get fit.

"Lots of people think paddleboarding is an easy skill that looks cool. Not so – it can be hard work and it is skill based. You could spend a whole summer to just be okay [at it]," Dunn says.

You can usually get a combined board hire with lessons, or hire a board for around $50 for the day, and lessons are around $60. Most major beach towns now offer lessons and hire, so this summer is the perfect time to get started.

Have you tried paddleboarding? How did you find it?

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