I’ve found paddleboarding to be a great complement to kayaking. It takes less time, it’s a full-body workout, you can practice yoga on the board, it doesn’t require a shuttle (unless you’re whitewater SUPing) and, as far as viewing under water wildlife like manatees, the vantage point is a step above. If you’re a kayaker you already have the paddle strokes you need to successfully maneuver a paddleboard. The challenge for kayakers is getting proficient standing up and moving around the board. Here are the steps on how to start moving around your SUP with ease.
Phase 1: Shuffle back and forth on your board. Place your paddle in front of you for stability and shuffle forward and backwards as far as you can go while maintaining balance.
Phase 2: As you feel more comfortable with shuffling, start lifting your feet up so your walking back and forth on the board.
Phase 3: Jumping on the board. Some people find this strange, but it is a great way to get a workout and it will come in really handy if you ever decide to whitewater SUP. It’s common to have to jump back and forth into different stances when you’re maneuvering in whitewater.
Phase 4: Step between hybrid stance and neutral stance. Once you feel good with this you can also practice jumping from hybrid stance with right foot forward to hybrid stance with left foot forward. Again, great workout and fun!
Phase 5: Stepping back into surf stance and cross-stepping. This is the part that surfers are good at. Essentially you are moving back and forth on your board crossing one foot behind and one foot in front of the other. For this you want to think about moving the board with your feet, not moving your feet on the board. I know that can sound confusing, but it is more stable to think about moving the board underneath you.
The key with learning how to move around on the board is to be ok with falling in. In fact, you may just want to go ahead and fall in first so you take that part out of the equation! Moving around the board increases balance and builds core strength. Have fun!