When Should I Start Paddle Surfing?
A man paddle surfing in the water.

So, we heard you’re planning to jump straight into your first paddle surfing adventure? Also, aren’t you a bit old to wonder if you’re old enough to start paddle surfing? It seems we’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves here. Anyway, sorry for the lame intro, here’s our take on the when-should-you-start-paddle-surfing issue!

Are you aware that paddle surfing is one of the most talked-about watersports out there? Additionally, the whole paddle surfing/boarding craze doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon. Therefore, we’ll write more about this topic in our future texts. Besides answering the main question proposed in the headline, today we’ll cover some neat beginner’s info concerning the sport known as paddle surfing. Stick around!

Unless you’re younger than a five-year-old, any time is the best time to start paddle surfing. No matter how old or young are you, you’re able to enjoy this phenomenal activity. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take some safety precautions before getting up on that board. That stands for both young and old, experienced and inexperienced. 

Don’t paddle away from this article now that you’ve read the preview. In other words: enjoy the whole thing!

Table of Contents

What is paddle surfing?

Before we continue our little talk about the proper age to start paddle surfing, it’s absolutely vital we define this fantastic activity first! So, what does paddle surfing represent?

Paddle surfing, sometimes also known as SUP (Standup Paddleboard) surfing, represents a variation of good ol’ traditional surfing (and here you’ll find some tips related to the sport). Here’s where the two activities differ: instead of lying down on the board paddling their way towards the wave, paddle surfers stand on the board and paddle using a so-called SUP paddle. If you’ve been to the coast recently, you’ve probably seen a bunch of paddle surfers, as the sport is gaining more and more popularity.

Oh, but what about waves? Isn’t that also a thing that divides paddle boarding and surfing? Let’s take a closer look.

Can you paddle board in waves?

Out of many questions that folks like to pose in relation to this phenomenal human activity, this one sticks out as one of the most popular. Anyway, you’ll be very happy to know that you can actually paddle surf or paddle board (however you choose to call it) in waves. Of course, the whole approaching-the-wave process is a lot easier when you’re paddle surfing. That’s simply because you’re already standing on your board. So, how does one approach/catch a wave on a paddle board?

Okay, so instead of following the wave right down to its edge, while approaching the wave on a paddle board you’ll mimic the wave’s natural movement, by going from one side to the other. Unless you’re goofy, you’ll want to approach the wave on the right. Otherwise, you know what to do (start from the left). Anyway, the nose of your paddle board should be directed towards the place where you want to “catch” the wave. Paddle your way towards the wave.

Once you’ve realized: okay, so I’m riding this wave alright, it’s time to terminate the paddling. Simply put your paddle’s blade flat on the wave to provide yourself with some additional balance, and maneuver your trust board with your shoulders. If you don’t think this is enough info on the subject, click right here.

Now that we’ve covered some basic info concerning paddle surfing, it’s time we consider the best age to try out this amazing watersport. In other words, let’s see when should a person start paddle surfing!

Five people paddle boarding in the water.

When should I start paddle surfing?

First things first, let’s just emphasize the fact that there’s no “best age to learn paddle surfing”. The best age to try out this amazing activity is whenever you feel ready and interested. However, that’s not the whole story. Let’s elaborate!

The thing is, there’s still one age-related requirement one must fulfill in order to try paddle surfing: you want to be at least five years old. We’ll take a wild guess and say that you’re most probably older than a five-year-old kid. Anyway, if you’re showing paddle surfing to your kids, just make sure that they’re five years old (or older) and that the board is the correct size. In other words, you’ll need to find them a board that’s designed for children.

Also, let’s not forget all the safety measures you’ll have to handle. Eliminating the risk of an unfortunate event happening is a prerequisite for enjoying this watersport. Shall we take a closer look at this issue?

Paddle surfing safety tips

Without further ado, let’s see how you can make your paddle surfing practice less stressful, safer, and more enjoyable:

  • Paddle surfing’s always better with a friend. If something’s to go awry, you won’t have to go through it alone.
  • Try to avoid offshore winds. That’s because they’re able to quickly push your paddle board far from the shore, making your return a bit difficult.
  • Don’t forget your PFD (Personal Flotation Device). Opt for a lifejacket that enables you to freely paddle with your arms.
  • Use a paddle board with an appropriate leash. A leash will allow you to be connected to the board at all times. If in the event of a fall, you won’t have to swim towards it.
  • Check the forecast before and tide times you begin. Needless to say, if the water’s just too darn choppy, you won’t have a good time. Just like you wouldn’t want to surf during a thunderstorm.
  • If you’re going alone, notify someone. Make sure that folks know where you’ve set out to paddle and what’s the approximate time of your return.
  • Wear a waterproof pouch. Since many folks like to take pictures with their smartphones while on their paddle boards, a waterproof pouch will keep their favorite devices from getting wet.

Don’t think these tips are only meant for beginners or kids or something. Regardless of your age and experience, you should absolutely follow each one that we’ve mentioned above. Also, if you’re wondering whether one should be strong to paddle board, here’s an article about the subject.

Now that we’ve seen all the safety precautions you’ll have to keep in mind, let’s check out exactly HOW should folks start their paddle surfing adventure!

How to start paddle surfing?

One of the first things folks like to ask when starting out is: how do I stand up on the board? Needless to say, that’s the issue we’ll tackle first!

How do I stand up on the paddle board?

Here’s the thing: you’ll always want to begin your adventure in calm, flat water. Also, you want to obtain a nice, wide paddle board. The one we’d recommend for most beginners is a 30-inch paddle board that’s somewhere about 11 ft. long. However, if you don’t feel comfy and able to keep your balance after a couple of times you’ve tried standing on it, opt for a wider one. Oh, and speaking about paddle board models, here’s an article about whether you can use an inflatable paddle board during winter.

So, how does one stand up on the paddle board?

  • First, you’ll want to place your board in water deep enough that the fin isn’t hitting the bottom. 
  • Next up, you’ll need to get on the board and remain in a kneeling position. Feel free to take a couple of strokes with your paddle on each side of the board. 
  • Now, get up in a slow, calm manner using one foot at a time and try to remain in the middle of the board. Your feet should be parallel to the so-called stringer. 
  • Don’t forget to keep a slight bend in your knees. Also, make sure that your core is centered over the paddle board. 

There’s a chance you’ll fall a couple of times during your first session. That, of course, shouldn’t discourage you from further involvement with the sport.

Dos and don’ts of paddle surfing

Here we’ll show you the so-called dos and don’ts of paddle surfing, just so you know how to avoid some of the most common mistakes beginners make. Let’s see what we have here!

The DOS:

  • Hold your paddle in a proper manner, by keeping one hand on its top and the other on the shaft. 
  • Place your feet parallel and keep them at shoulder width from one another. Keep your toes pointed in the direction of the nose (of the board).
  • Simply dip your paddle’s blade deep into the water and do one large stroke. That way, you’ll let your larger back muscles handle everything. 


  • Avoid using your paddle like a broomstick or something. In other words, you don’t want to keep both hands on the shaft.
  • Don’t try to imitate the so-called surf stance since there’s a good chance you’ll fall.

Final thoughts on the subject of paddle surfing

Alright, so that’s that on the subject of paddle surfing (for today). Now you’re well aware that the best time to start paddle surfing is, well, any time. Unless you’re younger than a five-year-old, that is. Anyway, if you’re looking for more info concerning various (water and non-water) extreme sports, pay a visit to our blog page.

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