There are many different types of paddleboard lessons available today. You can find lessons for beginners, intermediate, and advanced paddlers. There are also certification programs for water safety and becoming an instructor. In addition, you can also choose to take lessons in not only basic flat water paddling but also paddleboard yoga, standup surfing, river paddling, open water down wind paddling, and racing to name a few.
One of the first things that you want to consider when choosing a paddleboard lesson is do you want to take a private lesson or be part of a group? Group lessons can be as small as just 2 people or as large as 10 or more. Larger groups are usually handled by at least 2 instructors so that everyone gets some face-to-face instruction and help when they need it. Also, instructors can go around and answer questions from all the participants if they have any- and most people do.
Private lessons give you a one on one experience with the instructor that allows for a lot more information to be passed along. If you are stuck on a certain part of your stroke, the instructor can focus on that. If you are having trouble tracking straight- there are little things that he can show you to get immediate results. In this way, with private lessons, you can short circuit some bad habits that may otherwise develop if you didn’t have someone there paying close attention to your paddling technique.
Private lessons obviously cost more than group lessons but in a private lesson you tend to work on the skill sets that you want or need to improve the most. But because you can only address so many things in one session, it may take a number of private lessons to develop a wide range of skills. Private lessons also offer newcomers a relaxed, zero pressure platform that will quickly dissipate any fears or apprehensions they may have from trying something totally new.
Groups can run be as small as 2 people but are usually in the 4 to 10 person range. If there are multiple instructors then a larger group can be broken down into smaller ones. Group lessons are a very cost effective way to get you and your friends started paddleboarding. Beginner group lessons cover the basics including showing you the easiest way to get on and off the board, where to stand, and proper stroke technique.
Group lessons can also be tailored to concentrate on anything new you want to learn. If you’re in a group that has some experience with stand up paddleboarding and you want to learn pivot turns or how to cross-step up and down the board- you can have the instructor spend the time specifically on those things.
There really aren’t too many downsides to group lessons other than the fact that you are not going to get the undivided attention of a private lesson and it’s going to be a little less intense of a learning experience. Normally the instructor keeps it light and fun and concentrates more on the general experience. Whereas private lessons tend to concentrate more on specific skill set development- though they can also be generalized and fun-based also.
There also lessons and clinics available for niche paddling such as SUP flyfishing, river paddling, SUP yoga and many more. Check your local shop’s Facebook page for race events happening in your area. Often these events include clinics with pros who can give you some great tips and instruction to up your skills.
So head down to your local stand up paddleboard shop and tell them what you are interested in trying out. Most shops will customize your lesson to whatever it is you want to learn. Better yet, bring a couple of friends along and share super fun day on the water learning new stuff! And don’t worry if you don’t have a board and paddle- your shop will provide that in the cost of the lesson.