Teaching SUP to your friends – Vinni Martins

Written by Vinni Martins

Photos: Thorsten Indra, Samir Kurtagić, Anna Veronica

How to teach your friends and to share paddling tips

One of the most enjoyable things for any sport is to share and exchange knowledge in a way that everyone gets better and has more fun, and with Stand Up Paddling it’s not different. Doesn’t matter if you just paddled for the first time yesterday or if you are a professional with years of experience, everyone has something to learn and everyone can teach something new. So here are 5 points that I think will help you sharing what you know about SUP with your friends and will make their learning curve faster, doesn’t matter their level.


1 – Most of the times it’s better to explain it out of the water first

Usually the best way to start talking about some new paddling technique is on land, where you will have much more comfort and will be able to go through the basics and the details more calmly. Doing this you will make sure that your friends will focus totally on your explanation, in opposition to the environment on the water, in which they will be worried with many other things at the same time.


2 – Make sure the conditions are the best possible for what you are trying to teach

It’s better to learn in favorable conditions and them slowly try to make it work in harder and harder situations. If you take someone to learn downwind on a 45 knots wind day or on a flat day it will be very hard for your friends to read the bumps or even stand on the board! Better looking for the perfect downwind conditions. Same thing for buoy turns in choppy conditions, SUP surfing and so on. You don’t want to make anyone scared or unmotivated.


3 – Step by Step

It’s important not to rush when teaching someone, as people have different learning curves and the key is to respect that. If your friends are still not comfortable on the waves, first make sure they can balance and turn very well on a lake for example. Sometimes it’s better to take one step back before giving two big steps forward.


4 – The right equipment

Just like the point number 2 in this list (environment conditions): the right equipment can also change everything. If someone wants to get better on technical beach races but their board is very narrow, it can be a problem. Same thing with starting to do downwinders on a very flat water oriented board. If you want to help someone, make sure they are choosing the right equipment for what they want to learn.


5 – Make them want more

Never force your friends, girlfriend or boyfriend to learn something they are afraid of or just not interested about yet. Instead, relax, choose the right words, praise their development and explain them how much fun they can have after getting better in the sport. It can be to catch waves, to glide in downwinds or even just to cruise paddling to the next beach. Observe them and give some tips to change this or that. Someone interested will always learn faster.


I hope these ideas can be useful for you on helping people to enjoy Stand-Up Paddling even more.


See you on the water!

Vinni Martins