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HOW TO START STAND UP PADDLEBOARD (SUP) ?

You've heard of stand up paddle and this activity tempts you. 

Problem : You don't know anything about it. What does it consist of ? Is it too technical for a beginner? What gear and outfit do I need ? What activities are possible?

Our experts give you all the advice you need before you take the plunge!

What is Stand Up Paddle ?

men doing stand up paddle in wetsuit

Captain John in Stan wetsuit

Stand up paddle or SUP is a water sport practiced standing on a wide and long board while rowing with a long paddle.

Sup is the ancestor of modern surfing. It was first played in Polynesia, where the pioneers of this sport played on huge planks cut directly from tree trunks.

After having been sulked in favor of traditional surfing, the practice was brought back to the fore and the popularity of this sport has continued to grow and become more professional.

That's all well and good you will tell us, but as a novice, what are the advantages of getting into SUP?

Why start stand up paddle boarding ? Advantages

You don't have to be a board expert or a sports junkie to practice SUP! This sport is accessible to everyone from 7 to 77 years old because it's one of the easiest water sports. Pro riders who can no longer practice surf, kite or sail due to age or injuries generally turn to the sup.

Another advantage is the versatility. You can really do anything thanks to SUP: surfing, races etc. We will detail all of this a little below.

This activity also helps not to soften too quickly. Believe in our ambassador Paul Conrad Delaere, great enthusiast and physiotherapist:

“Sup is the ideal sport for beginners because we progress very quickly and above all, instead of lying around all day long on the beach, we create ourselves a crazy body. SUP works all the muscles in the body. I think it's the reason why this sport attracts more and more followers. "

That's it, you've made up your mind, you want to get down to Stand Up Paddleboarding.

But what do you need? And where to start?

What conditions and material to do sup ?

man on neoprene wetsuit Stan with his paddle board

Stephane Krause takes the plunge in Stan's wetsuit

Ideal for beginners is to practice in still water. You can start on a lake or a pond. If you want to jump straight into the deep end, in sea or ocean, you can but watch out for the weather conditions! Choose a day when the wind is not blowing and keep in mind that the weather can change dramatically from minute to minute.

In terms of equipment, there are two types of boards for stand up paddle, rigid and inflatable. Rigid boards, while more stable, are more conducive to performance.

To begin, we recommend you to choose an inflatable board that is wide, long enough (for stability) and that matches your weight.

For example, a person weighing less than 80 kg will choose a 10 foot (about 3 m) board. You can find models from 300 euros. In terms of inflation, a pump is usually supplied with the board, in five minutes it's done.

For the paddle, it should be 15 to 20cm longer than your height. Prices start at 30 euros for an aluminum paddle and go up to 300 euros for a carbon model. We suggest you to choose a removable paddle in three parts.

Also consider purchasing a leash. Connecting your ankle to your board, it's the "lifeline" that protects you and others. However, we do not recommend it for a practice in the river because it can get stuck in stones.

Also, if you are not comfortable in the water, consider a personal flotation device (life jacket).

Ok, now that you have the right gear, what about the outfit ?

Which outfit to do paddle ?

Mother Nature decides! Even if you practice standing on the board, you spend a lot of time in the water, so outfit is essential.

While the majority of water sports clothing brands focus on a single activity, at Saint Jacques, versatility is the key word. Thus, our range is suitable for all board sports including stand up paddle.

In cold climate, we advise you to wear a neoprene wetsuit, a chapka neoprene cap, a pair of gloves and some neoprene boots.

woman doing stand up paddle in lisa wetsuit

Ingrid Ulrich braves the cold in Lisa neoprene wetsuit


BoardshortUV protection lycra and summer slippers will be necessary in hot climate.

Also consider waterproof sunscreen and apply it regularly, we recommend the Sunright 50 by Beautiful Lili. The brand is a leader in the anti-aging field and their products are manufactured to the highest quality standards. 

Also equip yourself with glasses and hat when the sun is beating down.

man in boardshort doing stand up paddle

Paul-Conrad wearing Saint Jacques boardshort

Are you ready to go riding? Yes, but you still have to carry all your gear!


How to transport your Stand up paddle equipment ?

homme transportant son équipement de sup en voiture

Paul-Conrad on his way to his favorite spot


It depends on the material you have chosen. Many sports enthusiasts own a large car or even a van, so there is no transport problem for them.
As a beginner, you don't need to budget for a new car to start stand up paddleboarding since you have opted for an inflatable paddle board and a removable paddle!
You can simply store your equipment in your backpack and go to your future favorite spot by car, motorbike or bicycle.
For the outfit, board sports practitioners usually put on their wetsuits directly on arrival at the spot. If the idea of showing your butt to the whole parking lot doesn't tempt you too much, you can opt for a surf poncho, which can also serve as a bath towel.
After the session, the easiest way is to keep your neoprene wetsuit on you and take it off once in the shower at home! For this we recommend our neoprene car seat covers, which protect your seats from sand, sweat and humidity.

You arrived at the fateful moment, at the water's edge, paddle in hand and there, a question arises: How to paddle??

How to do stand up paddle ?

Now is the time to get in the water, but be careful, not just anyhow!
  • Walk forward, board in hand until you have water at your knees.
  • Then climb on your paddle.
  • Place yourself not standing but kneeling on the board and begin to row out to sea. Once in deep water, you can get up:
  • Place your paddle horizontally on your paddle while you bend your knees, then grab it again and finish getting up.
  • Once standing, start rowing again and look straight ahead. This is how you will find your balance.
  • To do this, place your paddle vertically, one hand at the end of the handle and the other in the middle. Be sure to sink enough your paddle into the water when paddling.
  • To back up, row upside down.
  • To reorient yourself, row right or left depending on the direction you want. 
  • To stop, simply sink your paddle vertically into the water.
  • In case of unexpected waves, face the waves and row in their direction. This will allow you to keep your balance and avoid falling.
That's it, you know how to Stand Up Paddle! We can now take a tour of the activities available to you!

What activities does SUP offer ?

man doing stand up paddle in neoprene wetsuit


As said above, one of the big advantages of stand up paddleboarding is the versatility! Some people think that SUP only allows you to do walks and hikes, they are wrong!


Alone, accompanied or in a small group, there is no shortage of other activities :

SUP fishing: SUP boards are quiet and allow you to move faster than with a boat. They are therefore perfectly suited to the practice of fishing. A rod, baits, a cooler, a neoprene top or anti UV lycra, sunscreen and you have the good life.


SUP yoga: SUP and balance go hand in hand. As a result, more and more paddle yoga classes are being organized. The opportunity to strengthen your muscles while enjoying the landscape!

The waves and the races: After a few sessions of stand up paddle, you will be able to access the next level and discover the waves and the courses.

Note that we do not use the same material for these two practices.

The racing boards are 12'6 (384cm) or 14 feet long (426cm) and are very narrow to go as fast as possible on the water.

The wave boards are shorter and a little wider. They must be as manageable as possible to get closer to a classic surf.

More and more races are organized in the world each year, you will inevitably find one near you, adapted to your level.

man doing stand up paddle in waves

Xavier Leroy in Clovis chest zip neoprene wetsuit

you would have understood it, there's nothing to be afraid of, just to get started ! Know that SUP practitioners have a very good mentality. No mockery with us, even in the event of an acrobatic fall!

Still have questions in mind? You can contact us here.

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