Video: How to stand-up paddle like a pro

Estimated reading time: 1 minute

Focusing on 5 tips to get you started on a stand-up paddleboard

I first learned how to stand-up paddle in Hawaii. I was instantly hooked, prompting me to paddle on every future vacation involving a body of water. I mean, how can I say no to exploring at sea and strengthening my core? It’s a win-win.

What I love about the fastest-growing sport at sea is it’s easy to learn—I promise, I just my taught my parents. Think of it as choose-your-own-adventure activity: You can take it one stroke at a time on a glassy lake, or channel your inner Kelly Slater and surf some waves. Either way, you always have your paddle for balance.

Eventually, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) on vacation wasn’t going to cut it—I wanted to do the sport all the time—so my husband and I purchased boards to live the vacation lifestyle at home. And because a SUP skews bigger, sturdier, and more buoyant than a typical surfboard, we bring our 30-pound dog, Mr. Nacho King (featured in this article about traveling with our furry friends), along for the ride.

Thinking back to my favorite SUP-centric travels, the best place I learned was in a protected ocean lagoon at The Fairmont Orchid on Hawaii Island. I recently returned there on vacation and shot this how-to video in the calm and easy-breezy bay. Check out the reel below for five “getting started” SUP tips, plus an epic moment involving yours truly and a curious turtle!

5 tips to get you started

1. Make sure your paddle is long enough. It should reach the top of your extended arm.

2. When you get in the water, start on your knees for optimal balance and safety.

3. Once you’re standing, your legs must be mid-board and shoulder-width apart for a stable paddling experience.

4. For the best propulsion, the paddle’s blade must angle away from you.

5. When paddling, reach to the front of your board, alternate your strokes on each side, and start on your path to stand-up paddling like a pro!

Have you ever tried stand-up paddling? If not, is it something you’d like to learn on vacation?

Expedia compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site, such compensation may include travel and other costs.

Trip Styler

Trish Friesen chose an unlikely profession given her fear of flying and propensity toward car, air, boat, train, and chairlift sickness. Thanks to Gravol, Sea-Bands, and cruise ship stabilizers, the reluctant—yet enthusiastic—jetsetter packs her bag once every two weeks to swim with sharks in the Great Barrier Reef or to sample the latest libation in Portland. Trish unpacks her suitcase in Vancouver, Canada, Eh! where she’s the editor-in-chief of, a travel lifestyle website for aspiring jetsetters. Find her moonlighting on Expedia, Fodor's, Jetsetter, and as a travel expert on TV while circumventing the globe with her entourage: a MacBook Air, an Olympus camera, and the biggest carry-on she can fit on the plane.

Latest posts by Trip Styler (see all)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *