Is Paddleboarding Hard? Not If You Nail These 5 Skills.

Is paddleboarding hard? For some, but not for others. Without knowing you, I can’t tell you whether or not it will be easy or hard for you.

What I can say is that it may be easy for you and hard for others. For example, you may have the coordination of a baby giraffe, in which case it will be hard!

In this article I’ve broken down how to make paddle boarding easier, shared some ways to improve your skills and highlighted the numerous benefits associated with this popular water sport.

girl wondering is paddleboarding hard

Is Paddleboarding Hard?

For someone with the balance and coordination of a surfer, is paddleboarding hard? Not likely, it’s most likely considered easy.

However, if you’ve never stood on a board in your life, it could be hard for you. But don’t worry, most people pick it up within a few hours of practicing.

If you have these skills, great! If not, never fear, we will work on them together!

  1. Balance: One of the main challenges, when you start paddling, is maintaining balance while standing up on the board. However, there’s no shame in starting out in a kneeling position.
  2. Coordination: Paddling, while balancing on a board at the same time, requires a lot of coordination.
  3. Strength: While paddleboarding doesn’t require extreme levels of fitness, having decent upper body and core strength certainly helps make it easier.
  4. Stamina and Endurance: Your whole body is engaged when you’re on the water so you have to have the endurance to make it back to shore.
  5. Determination: You will fall and that’s okay. You just have to have the determination to get back on the board and try again (it’s the only way you’ll get better.)
thumbs up to determination

If you’re still uncertain about your ability to paddleboard, enlist the help of an experienced instructor at a nearby paddleboarding spot for some paddle boarding tips.

Also improving your physical fitness will boost your confidence and make paddle boarding easier.

5 Tips To Improve Your Paddleboarding Skills

When people ask you, “Is paddleboarding hard?” We want you to be able to say “Heck no, it’s easy!” Get really good at these 5 things and it will be.

1. Nail Your Technique

The key to efficient paddling is having a solid technique. 

Start by gripping the paddle with one hand on top of the handle and the other halfway down the shaft. 

As you stroke, keep your arms straight and use your core muscles for power – this will prevent fatigue in your arms and shoulders. 

Remember: it’s all about smooth, fluid movements. Keeping a steady pace as you glide through the water makes this easier.

2. Improve Your Balance

Balance is crucial when it comes to paddleboarding – after all, nobody wants an unexpected dip in the water. To improve stability:

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart on the centerline of the board.
  • Bend slightly at the knees while keeping your back straight.
  • Maintain focus on the horizon rather than staring at feet or water.
  • Incorporate yoga exercises into your routine for increased flexibility and strength.

3. Learn How to Turn Efficiently

Tight turns are essential when navigating crowded waters or avoiding obstacles like rocks and buoys. The two most common turning techniques are:

  1. Back Paddle: To turn left, paddle backward on the left side. For a right turn, back paddle on the right.
  2. Sweep Stroke: Reach forward with your paddle and sweep it in a wide arc away from the board’s nose to change direction.

4. Practice Falling (Yes, Really.)

Falling off is inevitable when learning to paddleboard – but don’t worry; it happens to everyone. 

The key is knowing how to fall safely.

In order to fall safely, you want to fall away from your board and into the water feet-first rather than headfirst or belly-flopping. 

And always remember: hold onto that paddle.

falling off paddle board

5. Join a Community

Paddleboarding can be even more enjoyable when you’re part of a community of like-minded enthusiasts who share tips and experiences while exploring new locations together. 

To practice paddling with friends, check out local clubs or online forums such as Stand Up Zone.

Key Takeaway: 

Nail your technique, improve your balance, learn efficient turning techniques, practice falling safely, and join a community of like-minded enthusiasts for an even more enjoyable experience on the water. 

Dedication a practice will make paddle boarding easy for you!

Paddleboarding Techniques for Beginners

Coming from someone who was once a beginner, here are some things that I learned:

  1. Stand on the board in shallow, flat water with feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. With your knees slightly bent for better balance, grip the paddle with one hand at the top (called the T-grip) and the other about halfway down its shaft. The blade should be angled forward when you’re paddling.
  3. To start paddling, dip one side of the blade into the water near your toes while keeping your arms straight. Push through water by rotating your torso until the blade reaches your hips – that’s one stroke. Repeat on the opposite side.
  4. If you have to, start in the kneeling position until you are comfortable.

Being a full body workout, paddle boarding engages your core, your upper body and your leg muscles. If you’re still wondering, “Is paddleboarding hard?” – don’t be, with practice, it will become easy.

bend your knees

“Must-Know” Things About Paddleboarding

Now that you’ve decided to try paddleboarding, let’s talk about the gear you’ll need and some safety precautions to know about.

Equipment Essentials

  • Paddleboard: There are various types of paddleboards, such as inflatable boards or solid epoxy boards. Check out this guide on choosing a paddle board from REI.
  • Paddle: Select a paddle that is about 6-8 inches taller than your height.
  • Personal Flotation Device (PFD): Make sure you have a US Coast Guard-approved life jacket or PFD when you engage in all water sports.
  • Leash: This attaches your ankle to the board so it doesn’t drift away if you fall off – especially important in open waters.

Safety Tips for Paddlers

  1. Buddy up. For optimal safety and enjoyment, it’s always preferable to paddle with someone who can watch out for you (especially when whitewater paddling.)
  2. Dress appropriately: Wear clothing suitable for weather conditions, like wetsuits during colder months and quick-drying materials in warmer climates. Don’t forget sunscreen and a hat.
  3. Check the weather: Be aware of conditions such as wind speed, tide changes, and potential storms.
  4. Know your limits: As a beginner, stick to calm waters like lakes or bays before venturing into more challenging environments such as rivers or oceans.
calm lake
Key Takeaway: 

Before trying paddleboarding, it’s important to have the right equipment such as a stable all-around board, a properly sized paddle, PFD and leash. 

Safety tips include checking weather conditions and paddling with friends or family members. 

As for technique, beginners should start in calm waters while keeping their knees slightly bent and rotating their torso for each stroke.

The Benefits of Paddleboarding

Paddleboarding offers a myriad of benefits for both your physical and mental well-being.

Physical Health Benefits

  • Full Body Workout: Paddleboarding engages almost every muscle in your body – from your core to your arms, back, and leg muscles. This makes it an excellent full-body workout.
  • Calorie Burn: Did you know that a leisurely one-hour session on the water can burn up to 430 calories?
  • Low-Impact Exercise: Unlike high-impact sports like running or basketball, paddleboarding is gentle on joints while still providing cardiovascular benefits.
  • Better Balance & Coordination: Staying upright on a moving board requires focus and balance; over time, these skills will improve as you become more proficient at paddling.

Mental Well-being Perks

  • Nature Therapy: Being surrounded by nature has been proven to reduce stress levels and increase happiness. Paddling through serene waters provides ample opportunity for relaxation and mindfulness.
  • Social Connection: Paddleboarding with friends or joining local groups allows for social interaction. Visit websites like Meetup to find paddleboarding groups near you.
  • Boosts Confidence: As your skills improve, so will your confidence. Conquering new challenges on the water can translate into increased self-esteem in other areas of life.

Eco-Friendly Fun

Last but not least, paddleboarding is an environmentally friendly activity. With no need for fuel or noisy engines, it’s a great way to explore nature without leaving a carbon footprint. 

You can even buy boards made from sustainable materials such as recycled plastics and plant-derived resins.

environmentally friendly footprint

FAQs in Relation to Is Paddleboarding Hard?

Is Paddleboarding Hard for Beginners?

Paddleboarding can be hard for beginners but with basic instructions on stance, balance, and paddling techniques, most people can gain the basic skills to paddleboard within a few hours.

Do You Need to Be Strong to Paddle Board?

While physical strength can be beneficial in certain situations like battling currents or wind while paddleboarding, it’s not a requirement. Proper technique plays a more significant role in efficient paddling than raw strength.

As long as you maintain good posture and use your core muscles effectively during strokes, even individuals with average fitness levels can enjoy this activity.

Is Paddle Boarding Harder Than Kayaking?

Paddleboarding involves standing upright on the board which requires more balance; however, kayaking demands greater upper body strength due to its seated position. Ultimately, personal preference will determine which sport feels easier or more challenging.

Is Paddle Boarding at Sea Hard?

Paddleboarding at sea can be challenging due to factors such as waves, currents, tides, and winds that affect stability on the water surface.

It’s essential for those attempting ocean SUP (Stand Up Paddling) sessions to have adequate experience handling these conditions before venturing out into open waters.

Is it Hard To Fall Off a Paddleboard?

In my experience, when you’re just beginning, no, it is very easy to fall off a paddleboard. However, SUP is a sport that many people pick up quite quickly, so your chances of falling off are slim.

Is Paddleboarding Safe For Non-Swimmers?

Paddleboarding is safe for non-swimmers as long as you wear a life jacket at all times. Avoiding whitewater paddling, and practicing on flat water instead, is highly recommended.

What is the Hardest Part of Paddle Boarding?

The hardest part of paddle boarding (according to most people) is learning how to balance on the board. Once you nail this it will become one of your favourite water sports.


If you’re still wondering “Is paddleboarding hard?” I recommend renting one and giving it a go anyways! Worst-case scenario, you’ll get a full-body workout and have a story to tell.

Still unsure? Have you ever thought about surfing? Check out my article below to learn the differences between paddle boards and surfboards.

Surfboard vs Paddle Board