Lake Nicol is just a short drive from downtown Tuscaloosa. This popular man-made lake is the ideal spot for stand-up paddleboarding (SUP). You don’t have to be an expert to hit the lake on your board, but you need to know the basics. Check out these stand-up paddleboard tips that will prepare you for your trip to Lake Nicol.
Standing Up on a Paddleboard
You need to learn how to stand up on a paddleboard before you maneuver around the lake. Head out to knee-deep water and stand next to the board. Grab onto the board’s edges and climb up, placing your knees on the board. Your knees should be directly behind the board’s center point. You won’t have any trouble balancing as long as you keep your hands on the sides. Then, get into a standing position by placing one foot on the board at a time. Once your feet are flat on the board, raise your chest, so it’s vertical. Then, you can stand up.
Balancing on a Stand-up Paddleboard
Getting on your feet is step one. Now, you need to know how to balance on the board when you’re standing. Your feet should be approximately shoulder-width apart, with your toes pointed toward the front of the board. Keep your back straight while slightly bending your knees. You might feel the urge to look at your feet but keep your eyes straight ahead.
Holding the Paddle
At this point, you’ll almost be ready to paddle along the lake. Although, first, you need to make sure you hold the paddle correctly. Your paddle contains a blade that’s shaped like a teardrop. That part of the paddle should go toward the front of the board.
Also, you need to use the proper grip. Let’s say you’re paddling to the right of the board. Then, you need to place your left hand on the paddle’s T-grip. Your right hand will be approximately 3 feet lower. Switch hand positions when you paddle to the left of the board.
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Paddling on the Board
You know how to hold the paddle, so now it’s time to take off. The forward stroke is the most common. Move the paddle approximately two feet ahead of your body in the water and place it in the water, submerging the blade. Pull the paddle toward you. When it’s even with your ankle, lift it out of the water. Keep your arms straight and move your torso rather than your entire body. Remember to go back and forth from left to right. Although, if you need to slow down or stop, you’ll need to perform a reverse stroke. Simply do the forward stroke in reverse.
What if you need to turn? If that is the case, it will be time for a sweep stroke. Assume that you’re paddling on the left of the board. Rotate so your left shoulder moves forward. Then, submerge the blade in the water and paddle in a sweeping motion. If you were to draw in the water, it would look like you were making the letter “C” with the paddle.
These tips will get you started on your first SUP adventure. Review them a few times, and then head out to Lake Nicol for some fun!
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