One of the first lessons I learned (the hard way) while standup paddling was how to fall off my board properly. Luckily I was learning in a beach break that had little to no rocks or hazards. I noticed when I was falling in, my natural instinct to fall feet first would kick in. Doing this repeatedly actually led me to injuring my foot and was in pain for weeks after.
I learned quickly that you need to fall properly in order to avoid injury. Here’s how:
1. Distance yourself from your board as far as possible.
2. Fall shallow…Meaning you don’t want to pencil dive in with your head or feet first. You should lead with your butt and try to fall flat.
3. Make sure your paddle slices through the water vs. slapping it as this could cause you to pull your arm and lose the paddle.
4. After you fall in and are coming back to the surface, lead with your hands and not your head. Other standup paddlers, surfers, or your own board could be approaching if you fell in front of it…This will help you avoid getting smacked in the head!
5. Often times when you fall you will still be in the impact zone. Make sure you get back on your board at the center point and continue to lie down with your paddle secured under you shoulder and thigh and paddle to safety as quickly as possible.