Rob Casey is the owner of SUP school Salmon Bay Paddle in Seattle, co-founder for the PSUPA and is the author of two paddling guides.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

4 Common Fears about Learning to SUP

As an instructor, potential customers regularly express fears about SUP that have kept them off the water. We work with those folks to reduce their fears by discussing our methods of reducing potential stress.

These are 4 common concerns we regularly hear from students..

1. (People tell me) I have bad balance.

Solution: We place students on large stable boards, sometimes larger than what we'd normally put them on. Sometimes we have students stand up from the ground on shore before trying it on a board. We also use other techniques such as crossing boards in a T criss-cross shape then having the student stand up on this very stable platform, before releasing them on their own board.

2. I'm not a strong swimmer.

Solution: Guess what, neither am I.  But if you wear your leash and a vest style lifejacket, you won't be separated from your board and will be floating on your own, thus won't need skills like an Olympic open water swimmer.

3. I'm too old.

Solution: We have worked with students in their mid 70's. Those in that age category vary in flexibility but with patient knowledgeable instructors, we can get most anyone standing. There's even a 69 year old gal that participates in our Monday night races.

4. I don't want to fall.

Solution: We've heard "I've paddled 2 years and haven't fallen yet!" We embrace falling. Falling is normal with stand up paddling. Learning to fall safety (which means falling flat) gives you the opportunity to learn how to climb back on your board (in 3 ways).  We often get students wet before their class to reduce fears of falling and preach that falling means you're learning and having more fun.  Worrying about not falling creates stress and reduces fun on the water.


Check out our SUP classes in Seattle - Beginning to advanced instruction including freighter and tug wave surfing, coastal surfing, rivers and racing, plus PSUPA Certification.