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How to Get on a Paddle Board, After Falling & from Dock

One of the hardest things to do as a novice paddle is to get on top of a paddleboard. The waving waters, wind moving from all directions, the unstable board; all these factors make it even harder for you to get onto the board and avoid falling off again.

Here is a guide on what you can do to quickly mount and stand on a paddleboard from the shore or dock and after you fall into the water either as you learn for the first time or take a refresher course.

Mounting the Board and Standing

This section features a step by step guide on what to do to launch yourself on the board safely as a first-timer or in an attempt to learn how to do it. Getting on a paddle board involves two essential steps;

  • Mounting from shore
  • Standing up

Mounting the Board from the shore

  1. Get into shallow waters about knee-deep in height and stand alongside your board. It’s entirely your choice on which water body you want but it’s best to stick to calm and clear waters like the lake or pond. You can also stand on either side of the board.
  2. Check to see the fin is completely submerged in the water and waded off from the shore or dock.
  3. Take your paddle and place it on the board in horizontal position. The grip of the paddle should lay parallel to the side of the board. If you’re on the right side, then let it should be aligned with that side. The blade of the paddle can touch water.
  4. Hold the edges to keep it steady before you attempt to lift yourself onto the board. One hand will grip both the edge and the other some center of the body.
  5. Lift one knee from the water and place it on the board as you pull the board towards you.  Aim to place your knee cap at the center of the board so you can keep the weight balanced. Most boards have a handle that is usually placed in the center. Let it guide you.
  6. Completely lift your body up with the first knee in the middle section and the other one in the traction pad. You should be in a kneeling position now.
  7. Position yourself well on the board so the nose not the tail of the board is coming out of the water.
  8. Let your eyes focus on front and gently start to move about with the paddle to get a feel of the water movement.

How to Stand Up on Paddle board

  1. From the kneeling position, take the paddle from the side of the board and place it in front of you. You’ll have to lean forward and place it horizontally across the board’s deck area.
  2. While holding the paddle, gently lift one knee up into a standing position replacing the knee with the foot while ensuring your weight is still at the center of the board.
  3. Rise to a standing position with your other leg.
  4. Bend your knees slightly to add a base for your weight.
  5. Look at horizon or land and begin paddling.

How to get on a Paddle Board After Falling

Mounting back SUP after falling

Falling is inevitable, especially for novices. One way or another you will lose your stability and before you know it you’re in the water wadding around. For some, this is a frightening moment because you’re unsure of what to do. If you find yourself in such a situation, here’s a guide on the next steps you can take.

  1. The moment you feel you’re about to fall, aim your body towards the water as the board, especially if it is the solid type, can hurt you which will make it even more difficult to get back on the board. Avoid falling feet fast especially in shallow waters.
  2. Immediately after the fall, if have no leash, look for the location of both your board and your paddle. Head for the board first.
  3. As a rule of thumb, when you fall in deep water, the first thing is to try to get into a horizontal floating position. Treading is an option but it won’t help in this case. While in the horizontal position, kick behind you body and get yourself to the side of the board. Avoid kicking below the board as it will be almost impossible to get onto the board.
  4. Locate the center of the board, grab the handle at the midsection using your predominant hand and pull yourself onto the board.
  5. Once on the board, assume a sitting or kneeling position. Paddle with your hands to paddle.
  6. After getting your paddle, follow the how-to-stand steps above and keep on having fun…

Launching a Paddle Board from a Dock

The dock usually has a rather sharp entrance as compared to the shore or the white sandy beach. The water level is most probably deeper than knee length hence it’s not recommended that you stand alongside as there’s nothing you’re going to step on.


  1. Put your stand up paddleboard inside the water from the dock area by setting the nose of the board into the water. You should not try to dive into the water as it can be dangerous especially for a beginner.
  2. Put on your leash the hold the back end of the boat – tail, and gradually lower the board into the water.
  3. Put your paddle in position
  4. Sit on the edge of the dock with your feet on the board close to the carrying handle or center.
  5. Rotate your torso/ hips as your hands hold onto the edges of the dock while your lower body is still on the board.
  6. Lower your weight and get into a kneeling position at the board center.
  7. You should be on your fours now, push yourself away from the dock.
  8. You can maintain the kneeling position or start standing up to assume the paddling position.

Following is a video showing how to launch and dismount to paddle board to a dock.

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