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Avoid These 3 Common Stand-Up Paddle Boarding Mistakes

Stand-up paddle boarding is the fastest growing water sport for good reason: it’s a fun and challenging way to explore! Durango, Colorado is a beautiful place, and stand-up paddle boarding is a unique way to enjoy the water and get a great workout at the same time. Durango Rivertrippers & Adventure Tours is proud to offer you everything you need to get started. We’re you’re one-stop shop for paddle board rentals, where you can get everything from wet suits and personal flotation devices to classes for beginners. If you’re new to stand-up paddle boarding, check out our posts on how to handle your paddle board and paddling 101. To help you be even more prepared for your first paddle boarding adventure, today’s post will cover four common mistakes beginners make when they first try stand-up paddle boarding. Read on and reserve your paddle board from Durango Rivertrippers today!

Holding the Paddle Incorrectly

Many beginners on their first stand-up paddle boarding adventure make the same mistake — they hold their paddle like a broomstick. It probably feels more natural to hold the paddle with both hands on the shaft, since holding a paddle while standing upright mimics the feeling of holding a broom. The motion of paddling is much different than sweeping, however, and requires a different stance. It will probably take some time to get used to the correct stance, even if you have experience canoeing and kayaking.

How to Fix It

To hold your paddle correctly, you should have only one hand on the shaft. Your other hand should be on top of the paddle handle, so you can put more of your weight and power behind each stroke. You should also make sure to keep your hands shoulder-width apart, since a shorter grip can also limit the power of your stroke. Reverse the positioning of your hands every time you switch which side of the board you are paddling on and keep the tear-shaped blade of the paddle angled away from you and the nose of the board. For more tips on paddling with confidence, check out our paddling 101 post!

The “Surfer” Stance

Even if you have never gone surfing in your life, all of us have probably seen enough of surfing in movies and pop culture to know what the stance looks like. Plenty of beginners take that stance without realizing it when they first try stand-up paddle boarding, angling one side of their body to face the front of the board and placing their feet to face one side of the board. While you probably feel pretty cool, the surfer stance is unstable and will make paddling much harder.

How to Fix It

It may feel counterintuitive, but you should face the nose of your board straight on when stand-up paddle boarding. Keep your feet parallel and shoulder-width apart to give yourself a stable foundation and a strong base for paddling. Your upper body will twist and move in order to paddle, but your toes should stay pointed toward the front of the board.

Paddling with Your Arms

The instinct for many new to stand-up paddle boarding is to paddle using the muscles of your arms. This is especially true for adventurers with more experience paddling canoes or kayaks. You can still get from point A to point B, but your strokes will have limited power and you will miss out on the full-body workout stand-up paddle boarding can provide.

How to Fix It

Remember that when you are stand-up paddle boarding, you have a far wider range of movement than if you were limited to a kayak or canoe. Take advantage of it! Use your core and back muscles to put real power behind each stroke. Dip the paddle blade fully into the water at the front of your board, keep your arms straight, and twist from your hips to draw the paddle through the water. It can be exhausting for those new to the movement of stand-up paddle boarding, but each stroke will be more effective than if you were only using your arms.

Stand-up paddle boarding is the perfect choice for anyone looking for a unique Durango adventure! You have a chance to immerse yourself in the beautiful Colorado landscape and try a challenging new water sport in one great experience. Remember to maintain the right stance, avoid holding your paddle like a broomstick, and use your core muscles to paddle instead of your arms to avoid the most common mistakes made by beginner paddle boarders. Explore all our posts on stand-up paddle boarding beginner tips, from the three strokes you’ll use to instructions on how to mount your board to prepare for your Durango adventure. Durango Rivertrippers & Adventure Tours also offers in-person lessons the day of your rental so you can get some hands-on experience and advice. Choose between a full day or half-day experience and reserve your paddle board today!

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Join us on a raft trip down the San Miguel River in Telluride, CO. In the spring and early summer this snowmelt-fed river plunges from the high peaks of the San Juan Mountains. NOTE: This river flows typically during the end of May and stops at the end of June. The dates we have loaded are the dates we are running this river. If you are looking for rafting in July and August check out our Durango River Rafting page.