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Paddling a SUP: Do You Need Lessons For Paddleboarding?

Many live under the impression that they must take SUP classes to begin paddle boarding.

While beginners may find it easy to participate in this sport, mastering some skills alone might seem overwhelming.

So you might be wondering: can you paddle board without lessons? Let’s find out!

If you want to try stand-up paddleboarding, you won’t need classes. All you need to understand are the fundamentals of getting on a board, placing yourself correctly on it, maintaining balance while paddling, turning the board perfectly, and the safety procedures. 

Then again, learning the basics makes paddleboarding a lot more fun and safe.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons of getting the necessary SUP lessons before diving into the sport.

If you are having trouble making an informed decision regarding this issue, stick around till the end!

Dad teaching a kid on a paddleboard how to paddleboard

Do You Need Paddleboard Lessons To Enjoy The Sport? 

If you have trouble standing up, you should take classes to learn how to maintain your balance while riding a stand-up paddle board. But if you’re going to enjoy the sport and take it easy, you can learn it yourself!

You can learn the correct paddle boarding techniques with lessons, but are they essential? Paddle boarding is fantastic because it’s simple to understand and doesn’t require a lot of equipment.

You may learn to stand by yourself on a SUP the best way possible by getting out on the water and giving it a shot. 

You are likely to trip up at first when learning a new sport, but that’s normal! Falling and getting back up does not spoil the fun of riding a paddleboard.

It enhances the experience and is essential to become an expert paddleboarder.

If you’re a newbie, you can easily practice standing up on the SUP while paddling on your knees to get accustomed to the board’s motion.

Even though you’ll need some balance and leg strength, if you already surf or snowboard, this will be simpler.

If not, don’t stress too much about it because paddle boarding is still fun, even if you aren’t standing up!

Pros And Cons of Learning Paddleboarding Without Lessons

You will undoubtedly enjoy many advantages if you start paddleboarding without getting a single lesson! Of course, there will be many disadvantages as well.

Let us go over both of them so you can make the decision yourself whether you can do without lessons:

Pros of Learning Paddleboarding Without Lessons

1. More Affordable 

The first reason you may want to skip the lessons is that it’s a more affordable option. Simply hiring a board will be less expensive than taking classes.

Renting a paddleboard and jacket should be at most $20. But if you decide to enroll in classes, there is no doubt that it will cost you significantly!

2. Out in the Water in No Time!

Let’s be honest; many of us are fans of taking classes and having to listen to lectures about paddle board setup and safety procedures.

Yes, they are necessary. But if you are an adventurous person who would rather take on a challenge, it’s best to get out on the water as soon as possible!

Cons of Learning Paddleboarding Without Lessons

1. Maybe too Challenging for a Beginner

Paddleboarding may be a beginner-friendly sport, but there are many challenging aspects to it as well.

For starters, many newbies need help learning to stand on the paddleboard for the first time. 

Additionally, proper posture, maintaining balance, getting back on the board after falling off, and various other things can be difficult to grasp without help.

Not everyone can learn these by themselves.

2. Safety Issues

Safety comes first, no matter what sports you plan to try out. Even if you go over the safety rules before getting out in the water, learning them properly in a class can make you more careful about them.

You may skim through them when you are teaching yourself about safety rules. Thus, I recommend enrolling in a class if you are worried about safety. 

Pros And Cons Of Learning Paddleboarding With Lessons

If you are concerned about your safety and maintaining the rules, enrolling in a paddleboarding class is always the better option.

Even so, let’s look at all the advantages and disadvantages of getting SUP lessons so you can weigh them against the pros and cons of learning the sport yourself and decide for yourself!

Pros of Learning Paddleboarding With Lessons

1. Safer Option

First and first, safety is of the utmost importance, especially if this is going to be your very first-time stand-up paddle boarding.

Being in a group makes you much safer since you can watch out for one another. 

It’s not a good idea to head out on the water unprepared if you’re unfamiliar with the currents and waves at your SUP destination.

Getting lessons helps you get familiar with everything you might face in an unfamiliar SUP area!

2. Find the Right Gear For You!

Those who have never tried paddleboarding and don’t know if they would like it don’t have a board. So if you want to try, rent one from your local watersports store, no problem!

But if you want to know whether it’s the perfect one, add an experienced teacher to your gear for a little more money!

You’ll have everything you need to get started and be using equipment tailored to your height, weight, and build while you train.

The school should also provide a wetsuit if the water is particularly chilly. Those unfamiliar with wetsuits have a lot to find out.

3. An Expert Teaches You How To Do It!

An expert paddle boarder will take good care of you and teach you the basics, so you don’t have to worry about it.

You’ll be able to enjoy your time on the lake more without having to deal with as much hassle. 

In addition, taking SUP classes will reduce the time you need to learn the sport.

The instructors typically cover a wealth of information throughout their courses, including how to use equipment safely, the risks involved, and how to improve your technique.

Cons of Learning Paddleboarding With Lessons

1. Higher prices

Lessons for stand-up paddleboarding tend to be more expensive than renting a board and paddling on your own. The cost of stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) classes can range widely. 

The cost may depend not only on the instructor’s rate per hour but also on how many students are in the class, the total time spent in instruction, and other variables.

You must choose for yourself if the investment is worthwhile.

2. Large Groups Mean Slower Progress

You’ll need patience if you get into a group lesson with more people than expected. When there are more students in a group, things go more slowly.

It takes more work for a single teacher to provide personalized attention to multiple newbies.

It’s only natural that there would be more inquiries and delays as the instructor worked with a single student.

Everything You Should Look For In Paddle Board Lessons 

If you’ve read this far and are still undecided about taking stand-up paddle boarding classes, then it’s time to decide.

To make your first SUP outing worthwhile, you must do your homework before making a reservation.

So, here’s what to keep an eye out for:

1. High-Quality SUP Gear

Before enrolling, be sure your chosen school has access to high-quality SUP gear. So, you want to go stand-up paddle boarding, but you have yet to learn what quality equipment looks like.

Fortunately, it’s not as hard to understand as it seems. 

Most people judge a school primarily by the availability of various equipment. There’s a better chance of finding your ideal partner if they offer multiple boards to choose from.

It’s also best to inquire about inflatable SUP boards in the classroom.

2. Expert Teachers

Many schools that take great care to employ only certified teachers promote it on their homepage. Teachers can earn a variety of credentials in their field. 

All programs focus on safety and provide teachers with the skills to administer CPR and First Aid.

Furthermore, certified educators are more likely to use effective methods in the classroom.

3. Fewer Students Per Teacher

As was already said, you want the ratio of students to teachers to be low. Too many students also mean that progress will be plodding. 

So, schedule a session when there will be a few students. That way, the teacher will be able to give each of you the individual attention you need.


Can you paddle board without lessons is a popular question among SUP newbies.

If you plan to take on the sport, you might also be curious about the answer!

So, in this article, I have shared with you all the pros and cons of taking paddleboarding lessons. 

I hope the discussion has helped you make an informed decision. Thanks for making it to the end!