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How To Get Back On A Paddleboard After Falling Off

Posted by Alex Clasper

Falling off is all part of learning how to stand up paddle board, and even the most experienced SUPers will find themselves taking a tumble into the water from time to time. Knowing how to get back on a paddleboard means you can get straight back up and try again, without wasting your energy.

It might seem obvious, however there is also a specific technique you should aim for when you fall in. Knowing how to fall off your board is important for preventing any nasty injuries as you fall down. It’s important to know this before looking at how to get back on a paddleboard.

Tips For Falling Off A Paddleboard 

Don’t Hold On

When you first start to lose balance, your instinct will be to grab onto the board as you fall down. Whilst falling onto an inflatable paddle board isn’t likely to cause a massive impact, it’s much more comfortable to land in the water than on a hard surface. With this in mind, as you feel yourself beginning to topple, don’t try and stop yourself, and instead try and position yourself so that you fall away from your SUP. You should be wearing a leash which means you don’t need to worry about the board drifting too far away from you.

close of woman paddling on Red inflatable paddle board wearing Coiled SUP Leash

Fall Flat

Falling flat on the water, on either your front or your back will prevent you from going too deep into the water, and potentially injuring yourself on rocks or other hazards under the surface. So, when you feel yourself beginning to lose balance and heading towards the water, try and make sure your body isn't falling sideways. Falling flat will also put you in a better position for how to get back on a paddleboard afterwards.

Hang Onto Your Paddle

If you are able to, then it’s always best to hang onto your paddle as you fall. However, if it slips out of your hands or you need to let go of it then don’t worry. It’s much better to fall in a comfortable, flat position without your paddle, than to twist your body and land in an awkward position for the sake of saving your paddle. If you drop your paddle then get back on the board first and paddle with your hands to go and retrieve it.

paddler stepping off Red inflatable paddle board into the water whilst holding onto paddle

Watch Out For Your SUP

Wearing a SUP leash is an essential part of paddle boarding safety. This is what prevents your SUP from drifting off in the event that you end up in the water. However, this does mean that if you fall in with force, there is a chance that the board will pull towards you. So, just be prepared when you go in the water for the SUP to rebound towards you. Inflatable stand up paddle boards are incredibly lightweight and so putting up a hand will be enough to protect your face from taking a bump.

How To Get Back On A Paddleboard

Once you know the best ways to protect yourself when falling in, it’s essential to know how to get back on a paddleboard properly. Luckily, the technique for how to get back on a paddleboard is just as straightforward.

Swim Close To Your SUP & Position Yourself

When wearing a leash, your SUP should never be far away from you, however if you have tumbled a little distance from your board, the first step in how to get back on a paddleboard is to swim back so that you're directly next to it. If you are right handed, position yourself on the left hand side of the SUP, and if you are left handed then position yourself on the right hand side of the SUP. This will put you in the correct position for using your dominant hand to pull yourself up.

Grab The Carry Handle & Rail

The next step in how to get back on a paddleboard is to grab the carry handle with your least dominant hand. This will mean you can use your stronger hand to pull your weight up. At this point, it’s important that you are continuing to tread water to support your weight, rather than leaning too heavily on the board and causing it to flip or ruin your position.With your least dominant hand on the carry handle, lean across with your dominant hand to reach the opposite rail.

man climbing out of water onto paddle board with the help of another man

Kick & Pull Yourself Up

Once you have a firm grip and position,let your legs float up to the surface behind you and start kicking the water whilst using the handle and rail to slide yourself onto the board. Slide your stomach onto the board first before slowly pulling the rest of your body on. Hold on to the handles, and stay lying on the board until the water settles back down again. This is an important tip for how to get back on a paddleboard, as the last thing you want is to fall in and have to start all over again!

Move Into A Sitting Position & Stand Up Slowly

The final stage of how to get back on a paddleboard is knowing how to return to a standing position. For this, you want to start by moving yourself into a sitting position, with your legs either side of the SUP. Putting the paddle across the board, move your weight onto your hands and bring your feet onto the board. Making sure the soles of your feet are flat on the SUP, slowly rise to a standing position. 

With these top tips on how to get back on a paddleboard you’ll be all set to continue enjoying your paddle in no time!