Can You Paddle Board in Waves?
A girl trying to paddle board in waves, against a pink sky.

If you’re a paddle boarding beginner, there’s a good chance that you might’ve asked your more experienced colleagues the following question: wait, can you paddle board in waves? However, there’s a far better chance that you’ve typed the same thing into your Google search bar. Needles to say, this is where we, here at Go Extreme Sports, enter the picture.

Alright, so what have we prepared for today? Besides answering the question highlighted in the title, we’ll try to cover a broader field of paddle boarding-related information. If you’re an amateur, like we’ve assumed, or don’t know anything about this amazing sport, you’re going to like the things we’ll show you in the article below. Stay tuned!

Yes, you can paddle board in waves. While you’re getting ready to catch one, you’ll notice that it’s a lot easier than if you were surfing since you’re already standing up. Also, you’ll enjoy the opportunity to fully endorse the natural movement of the waves. However, keep in mind that you should stick to all the prescribed safety precautions. 

You can’t learn to paddle board in waves (if such a thing’s even possible) simply by glancing at the preview. Feel free to continue reading!

Table of Contents

What is paddle boarding? (FAQ)

Since this is probably the second or third time we mention this amazing watersport on this site, let’s talk a bit about what it actually represents, and other valuable information one would want to hear about it. Without further ado, let’s see what exactly is paddle boarding?

First of all, let’s just mention that paddle boarding is one of the fastest-growing water-related sports out there. It involves standing upwards on a board and using a paddle (well, obviously) to navigate your way through the blue. Folks are either standing up or kneeling while using their arms equipped with paddles to move forward.

Now, this sport might seem most closely related to surfing (and here’s where you’ll find some surfing tips) or kayaking at first sight, but it can actually be an integral part of many activities such as fishing, yoga, and rafting, to name a few of them. You must be wondering: what is the purpose of the sport known as paddle boarding?

What is the purpose of paddle boarding?

You’ll want to know that paddle boarding is mostly a recreational sport. However, there are even some professional competitions. In its recreational form, paddle boarding’s purpose is to give people the opportunity to enjoy traversing the immense fields of water using something educated folks like to call the means of self-propulsion. Sounds a bit bookish, doesn’t it? Anyway, in its competitive form, paddle boarding requires individuals to traverse a certain distance faster than all other competitors (just like you’ve imagined).

Is paddle boarding harder than surfing?

If you were to ask most surfboarding enthusiasts what would they say is a harder activity: paddle boarding or surfing, you’d probably get laughed at. However, things aren’t so simple once we take a closer look. Sure, paddle boarding has a much tamer learning curve and you’ll get into the hang of things pretty soon. Still, once you get past some beginner levels most folks can easily conquer and enjoy, the challenges of the so-called SUP (Standup Paddleboarding) get closer and closer to those you’d face if you’ve tried regular surfing.

Also, if you’re wondering whether one should be strong to try this phenomenal activity, please click right here.

Is paddle boarding safe?

Like every sport you’d care to stumble upon, paddle boarding is a pretty safe activity if you’re sticking to all the necessary safety measures. That should mean:

  • You’re wearing a PFD (Personal Flotation Device). 
  • You’re wearing a leash. 
  • You’re not paddle boarding alone. 
  • You’re not paddle boarding after dark. 
  • You’re not paddle boarding in a dangerous area.
  • You’re not paddle boarding while there’s a thunderstorm outside or something. 

The myth of paddle boarding being all tough and dangerous stems from folks who ignore these safety precautions (you wouldn’t surf during a thunderstorm, would you?). Generally, paddle boarding is a very safe sport since it “happens” at low speeds. Now, let’s see if there’s anything else we’d like to mention in this intro section. Ah, yes, the benefits of paddle boarding!

What are the benefits of paddle boarding?

Okay, so now let’s check out why would anyone ever want to hop onto a paddle board:

  • It does wonders for your whole body. Helps you lose some weight, too.
  • It reduces your stress levels. Also, it provides you with the right setting for meditation.
  • It helps you with balance. This will, eventually, help you “acquire” mental balance, too.
  • It boosts your cardiovascular health. Studies have shown that paddle boarding helps you reduce the risk of suffering from a stroke or heart attack.

Of course, there are many other things we’d like to mention here, but we reckon this is more than enough to get anyone slightly interested in trying out paddle boarding. Anyway, that should’ve done it for this intro section. Let’s consider the main issue: can you paddle board in waves?

A man trying out a paddle board, surrounded by no waves.

Can you paddle board in waves?

So, shall we unveil the mystery? Yes, you’ll be very happy to know that you can actually catch and ride waves while you paddle board. Anyway, we’ve gathered some good info about the “process” and we’ll gladly share it with you!

Okay, so getting ready to “catch” or “take” a wave while you’re paddle boarding is a whole lot easier than trying to do the same thing once you’re on the surfboard. Because? Because you’re already standing up on the paddle board. This should also mean that, rather than following the wave right to its edge, you can now begin from one side to the other to further “support” the natural movement of the desired wave.

Now, before you take off on a wave you’ve chosen, you’ll first need to choose the side of it you’ll be riding. Typically, folks tend to go on the right, unless they’re goofy. Anyway, you’ll want to place your board parallel to the incoming wave, and the nose of your board will have to be directed at the place where you want to take off. Next up, paddle like there’s no tomorrow in order to launch your board onto the wave. The thing is: the pivot effect of your trusty paddle will prepare your board for the so-called take-off.

Of course, stop paddling as soon as you get the idea that your board is riding on the wave. Afterward, just put the blade of your paddle flat on the wave for extra balance. You’ll maneuver your paddle board by turning your shoulders and that’s about all there’s to say about the act of riding a wave by using a paddle board!

How to paddle out through waves with a large board?

This might be a question that surfers are more prone to propose, let’s answer it anyway since one can’t get enough of wave-knowledge (if such a category exists). Excuse the lame humor, and we can begin:

  • If you’ve noticed that the waves you’re planning to paddle through are breaking diagonally left and right, you’ll want to zig-zag your way out of there by going for the unbroken parts of the waves. That way, you won’t get pushed back by the stream of the white wash. Once you’re out of there, you’ll have to paddle like mad in order to avoid getting hit by the incoming set. 

Can you paddle board in the ocean?

Yup, you’re absolutely able to paddle board in the ocean, and you’ll find many folks that choose it as a backdrop for their paddle boarding adventures. However, you should keep in mind that you’ll need a top-quality epoxy or an inflatable stand-up paddle board for increased safety. Also, you might want to opt for an inflatable stand-up paddle board that comes with a wider deck as it will enable you to enjoy a steadier stance for increased balance.

Additionally, one shouldn’t ignore the importance of the shape of a paddle board. For a better ride on the waves, you’ll want to opt for a board that has a pointed nose as it will enable you to glide without much effort. 

Lastly, make sure you’re totally comfortable with swimming in some rough water since that’s something you’d call a prerequisite for paddle boarding in the ocean. Not to mention the fact you’ll have to take all of the safety precautions we’ve mentioned upstairs.

Oh, and there’s something we forgot to mention while talking about epoxy boards: we’ve published a guide on how to get water out of it.

Won’t my paddle board attract sharks?

Well, yes, it might. However, we’re not trying to discourage anyone from trying this amazing activity since it would be absurd to think that only a paddleboarder might encounter a shark. It’s the same thing with surfers, kayaking enthusiasts, or any practitioners of other surface-level water activities. Also, you should keep in mind that most of the time sharks won’t find your paddle board to be even mildly interesting. It’s either that, or they’ll probably be scared of it. Whatever the case – you’re totally safe.

In the rarest scenario of you encountering a shark while paddle board, here’s what you’ll do:

  • simply steer clear of making any sudden or erratic movements and try not to attack the shark in an attempt or scare it off or something. Your best bet is to calmly paddle away from that situation.  

That should complete our talk about paddle boarding safety!

The bottom line

So, we’ve reached the last chapter here, there won’t be any further talk about paddle boarding or any similar activities, at least when it comes to this article. Anyway, if you’re curious to find out more about various extreme sports (including, of course, paddle boarding, surfing, or other water-related activities), simply pay a visit to our blog page.

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