STAND UP PADDLE SPLIT
Hi, everyone! I’m Marino and I am part of Stand Up Paddle Split Adriatic team. Do you wish to visit Split Croatia and paddle along? I’m sure you do.
Let me introduce you to Stand Up Paddling world in Split and say a few words about us.
Our SUP Center can be found on a Campsite beach in a beautiful small town called Stobreč, situated 5km from Split. We are heart and soul of the Stand Up Paddle Split scene and its region. We offer a wide range of services connected to the Stand Up Paddling. Either you want an adventurous SUP tour or just a casual paddle? Buying a board and don’t know what to seek? Need an advice regarding stand up paddling? Feel free to drop us a text!
HOW TO PADDLE?
In order to start your first paddle, it would be wise to learn some basics of Stand Up Paddling. Although SUP is for everyone and it is a pretty intuitive activity, the best way to fully enjoy it is to acquire some skills. Proper technique can save you energy, reduce muscle soreness and make your SUP experience more
For every beginner paddler, the hard SUP board is the right choice. Our team takes care to always have the right amount of hard boards as well as inflatables. The difference between two is obvious – hardboards are more stable, it has better feel on the water and you won’t ever feel sinking of the foot like on some inflatables. Even though the inflatables have come a long way in terms of construction and quality, no inflatable can replace hardboard and even a beginner can see the difference.
After choosing a board, it is important to determine your base on the board. With most boards, it’s pretty straightforward since your base should be at the carrying handle in the middle. That is where you should plant your feet, shoulder-width apart when you paddle.
Every board has its natural curve line which determines where the nose and tail are. Usually, the nose is a pointy and elevated part and the tail is cut off for better stability. If the tail is not cutoff and it is an oval or pointed shape it will decrease the stability of the board. Another factor that contributes to the stability of the board is its dimensions usually stated in inches. The standard dimension for all-round inflatable SUP board is 10’8” in length, 33” wide and 6” deep. The height of the board for an inflatable board should be 6” in most boards for maximum stability.
Hard boards don’t require that height and stability can be achieved with a thinner board.
If you have a hard time finding a nose or tail just turn the board over and look for the fin. The fin is always on the tail of the board and it will determine the direction of the movement. It’s time to figure out the role of the fin and how to mount it to the board.
Fin basically helps the board to maintain its course and for the board to track better on the water. If the fin is damaged it should be replaced immediately. The curved part of the fin must point to the back of the board so it can cut the water without drag. Mounting the fin on hardboard is pretty easy. Most of the US box fins come with a hard plastic fin, small metal plate and a screw that fixes the fin for the plate. The fin position is adjustable in the fin socket on the board.
The position of the fin determines maneuverability of the board. If the position of the fin is more to the center of the board it will track better and keep the straight line when paddling. If it’s positioned more to the tail of the board, you will have more maneuverability. Opposite of that, you can have more stable, no-turning drive.
SUP paddles usually come in three construction options. Three parts, two-part and one part paddles.
All of them have their pros and cons and we are going to explain the important ones!
Three-part paddle is easy to carry and since it’s collapsible, it fits into most backpacks. After a longer period of use, it can get shaky on the connections which reduce the stroke power. Most of the adjustable paddles come with a tightening plastic belt to adjust the wanted size of the paddle. Some of them come with an easy clip-on connection.
Two-part paddles are our favorite ones since they come with a lot more stability than three
parts and they can also be adjusted to the wanted size.
One part paddles are usually carbon paddles intended for the professional paddle boarders and they are custom fitted to the paddler. Carbon paddles are very light but durable and they produce a lot of power in the stroke.
When having our Stand Up Paddle Split tours, we are having mostly two part paddles.
ADJUSTING A PADDLE AND PADDLING TECHNIQUES
When adjusting your paddle to the wanted size, pay attention to the top part of the paddle where the handle is. It’s important to get a handle on quickly adjusting your paddle size since you will sometimes want to re-adjust in the middle of the paddling.
There are few methods of determining your paddle size and this is the easiest one. Put your paddle in front of you with a released connecting clip and lay your wrist on the handles. Pull out the handle shaft all the way up until your hand is fully extended. Tighten the clip with your other hand and there you go. You have your paddle adjusted to your size. When adjusting paddle try to keep the handle shaft parallel with a blade of the paddle.
The face of the blade should be always pointing towards you when paddling!
The proper way to hold a paddle is to grab it for the handle with one arm and with the other hand somewhere in the middle of the paddle. The distance of your hands should be shoulder width apart.
One of the most important things to remember when paddling is to keep your arms always extended. Try to paddle more with your core muscles. Usual beginners mistake is to include too much of arm paddling which can be very exhausting. Also, keep in mind to keep your strokes close to the rails of the board with the blade fully submerged into the water. Keeping the strokes close to the rails with a blade fully submerged generates a lot more power. For a proper stroke, you should reach out with a paddle as far as you can in front of you. After reaching your point, submerge your blade vertically onto the water. Then pull yourself to the paddle using core muscles.
Keep in mind to keep the strokes short and no longer than 1 meter or until you reach your heels. Change your hands every 5 to 6 strokes in order to keep the straight line. The important thing to remember is to keep your hands stacked one on top of another for a more natural swing.
These would be the basics of paddling and we are going to cover some advanced tips and tricks in another blog post. On every Stand Up Paddle Split tour we take brief paddling lessons to our participants.
READY FOR A TRIP
Your first Stand Up Paddling should start by getting your board out on the water. The easiest way to get yourself in a position is to start on your knees first. Place them on the middle of the board and gently push yourself from the shore. Keep in mind to place your board in a water deep enough so you don’t damage the fin when you stand on the board. When on your knees do a couple of strokes to get a feel of the board and the water. Once you are comfortable press your palms in front of you to put you weight. Now find a position of your feet on the board and slowly stand up.
At first, you will sense your legs and core muscles struggling for balance. The shakes last for a couple of minutes until you relax on your board. Interestingly enough, what gives more balance is actually paddling and moving on the water. Same as riding a bike. So use your paddle and go for it! Keep your knees slightly bent to bounce off any incoming waves or ripples in the water. After a while you won’t be struggling for balance or minding your strokes. You will be able to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery around you.
Stand Up Paddling is certainly one of the most entertaining ways to explore natures beauty.
Book Your Stand Up Paddle Split tour around its coastline and have a memorable experience!
Good luck on your first paddle and If you ever have a chance to visit Croatia, join us on stand up paddle split tours and let’s paddle along!