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SUP Balance Issues: Can Paddleboarding Cause Vertigo?

Paddleboarding is becoming an increasingly popular and accessible recreational activity worldwide.

But with the rise in popularity of paddleboarding, many questions have been raised about the potential risks associated with the sport.

One such question is, can paddle boarding cause vertigo?

Paddleboarding can cause vertigo. This is because the sport requires one to stand and balance in one position on the board. This will cause the vestibular part of the inner ear, which is responsible for balance, to lose its normal function. It can cause vertigo.

So, vertigo is a big issue for many new to paddle boarding. Now, there are many other causes for this and quite a few solutions as well. Keep on reading to learn more. 

two people riging paddleboards together on the water

Causes Of Vertigo From Paddle Boarding

Vertigo is a type of dizziness that can cause a person to feel like the environment is spinning around them. It can be a very disorienting and uncomfortable experience. Vertigo is usually not a severe condition. But understanding its potential causes can help protect you while you enjoy your time on the water.

Many factors may cause this, ranging from a simple ear infection to a more serious underlying condition, such as stroke or multiple sclerosis. When it comes to SUP, there are a few potential causes of vertigo that you should be aware of.

Motion Or Balance Sensitivity

One of the potential causes of vertigo while paddleboarding is motion or balance sensitivity. As paddleboarding involves navigating the water, it can be very easy to become sensitive to motion and balance changes. This can lead to dizziness and vertigo.

If you’re not used to paddling boarding, it can be easy to experience vertigo from sudden or unexpected movements. To combat this, it’s essential to take breaks, focus on visualization techniques, and practice good balance and stability.


Dehydration is an important factor when it comes to vertigo. When you’re out on the water, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water, and you can quickly become dehydrated. And when you are dehydrated, your blood volume decreases, and you can quickly feel dizzy and disorientated.

Moreover, when you become dehydrated, your body will pull fluids from other parts of your body to maintain fluid balance. And this is where the problem starts, blood can’t reach your brain the way it’s supposed to, and your inner ear can’t function as it should.

This can cause vertigo, nausea, and even loss of balance. Make sure you stay hydrated when paddle boarding and be aware of any sensations of dizziness that may arise.

Changes In Pressure And Temperature

You may find that the weather changes quickly when you are out on the water. This can cause your body to become unbalanced and lead to dizziness. Changes in pressure and temperature can also cause vertigo from paddle boarding. If you are in a location where the weather changes quickly, it’s essential to take a break and adjust to the new weather.

Also, if you’re sensitive to changes in pressure and temperature, it’s essential to be aware. You should take the necessary steps to reduce your risk of experiencing vertigo. Make sure you’re wearing the appropriate clothing for the weather. Also, consider taking breaks in covered areas when available.


Over-exertion is another potential cause of vertigo while paddle boarding. Paddle boarding is an excellent form of exercise, but it can put a lot of strain on your body. If you overexert yourself, you can experience the symptoms of vertigo, such as dizziness and disorientation. It’s important to take regular breaks and not push yourself too hard.

If you’re prone to over-exertion, it’s important to take frequent breaks throughout your session and ensure you’re not pushing yourself too far. Listen to your body and take the necessary steps to reduce your risk of vertigo.

Vestibular Neuritis And Labyrinthitis

Vestibular neuritis and labyrinthitis are two forms of inner ear infections that can cause vertigo. Vestibular Neuritis is an inflammation of the vestibular nerve responsible for balance and coordination. Labyrinthitis is an inner ear inflammation that can also cause vertigo.

Both conditions can be caused by a virus or bacteria and usually require medical treatment. If you have either of these conditions, it’s important to consult a doctor to get the proper treatment and reduce your risk of vertigo from paddle boarding.

Meniere’s Disease

Meniere’s disease is another medical condition that can cause vertigo while paddle boarding. It’s a disorder of the inner ear that can cause sudden and severe episodes of vertigo, hearing loss, and tinnitus. It can also cause nausea, vomiting, and motion sickness.

If you have been diagnosed with Meniere’s disease, it is essential to speak to your doctor about ways to manage the symptoms.

Side Effects Of Medications

Another cause of vertigo can be the side effects of certain medications. Certain medications, such as Anti-hypertensive agents, Tranquilizers, sedatives, Cardiovascular drugs, and Anti-inflammatory and antidepressants, can cause vertigo, as can recreational drugs.

If you are taking any medications, discussing the potential side effects with your doctor before participating in paddle boarding is important.

How To Avoid Vertigo While Paddle Boarding?

As a paddleboarder, vertigo can be a real challenge. It can be disorienting and make you feel out of control, so it’s important to take preventative measures to avoid it. But if you’re prone to vertigo, the last thing you want is to be out of balance and off-balance. Here are some tips to help you avoid vertigo while paddle boarding.

Keep An Eye On The Horizon

One of the best ways to avoid vertigo while paddle boarding is to keep your eyes on the horizon. This helps your brain better process the movement of the water and makes it easier to maintain balance.

Many people experience vertigo when out on a paddleboard because they’re not used to the unfamiliar motion. When you focus on the horizon, your body can better adjust to the movement of the paddle board, and you’re less likely to experience motion sickness.

Know Your Medication

If you take any medication, it’s important to be aware of its potential side effects. Some medications can cause dizziness or vertigo, so it’s important to know how they might affect you while on the water.

Talk to your doctor to ensure your medications won’t adversely affect your paddle-boarding experience.

Use Earplugs

Another way to reduce the feeling of vertigo while paddle boarding is to use earplugs. This will help your body block out the sound of the waves and the sloshing of water and reduce the feeling of dizziness.

It’s also important to wear the right earplugs for your activity. Using earplugs allows you to concentrate on the horizon, which will help keep you balanced and make you less likely to get vertigo.

Drink Plenty Of Water

Staying hydrated while paddle boarding is essential. You will be exposed to the sun and the elements when out in the water, which can lead to dehydration.

This can make you more prone to vertigo. Make sure to bring plenty of water with you and often drink to avoid dehydration and its side effects.

Avoid Over Exertion

Paddle boarding is a great way to exercise, but avoiding over-exerting yourself is essential. This can be a major cause of vertigo. This is because the increased physical activity can put too much strain on your body.

If you push yourself too hard, you can become lightheaded and dizzy, increasing your risk of vertigo. Take your time and pace yourself to ensure you don’t overexert yourself while paddle boarding.


No one wants to experience vertigo or motion sickness while on the water. So, can paddle boarding cause vertigo? Although paddleboarding can cause vertigo, there are ways to prevent it while paddle boarding.

Following the tips mentioned above, you can avoid vertigo and motion sickness while paddleboarding.