The Art of Falling Off Your Paddle Board & How To Get Back Up

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You’re not reading that incorrectly. There really is an art to falling off your SUP. No matter how good of a paddle boarder you are, you’re going to fall off your board. It’s not a question of if, but when. So when that time comes, and all the times that follow, you need to know how to get back on your paddle board after falling as well as how to fall correctly in the first place.

I’m going to explain what the art of falling is and how you can get back on your board after it happens. So what are we waiting for? Let’s dive in!

How to Fall Off Your SUP the Right Way

Fall Off Your SUP the Right Way

There is an art form to falling because we want everyone to paddle board with their safety being the first thing they think about.

Paddle boards are heavy, and falling off and getting hit by a rogue board can hurt, and worse, could knock you out. The last thing you want to be is unconscious underwater; it’s likely not going to end well.

You need to fall away from the board and away from any objects that look potentially dangerous. Additionally, don’t try and fall backward onto the board itself, as that’s going to hurt worse than hitting the water ever could.

If you’re worried about losing your gear, then get a leash which is something you should have already. They’re cheap and the best tool you have to ensure nothing goes missing and that you have something to get back onto when you’re ready.

If you feel yourself about to fall, launch off your board away from it, and anything dangerous around you. You need to realize quickly what’s going on and react just as fast to remain safe from potential injury.

Why Does It Matter?

It matters purely for safety reasons. For example, it can be hazardous to fall off your paddle board in a way that could injure you and impair your abilities to get back to the board to get back to the shore. Therefore, you need always to be vigilant and understand what falling feels like and how to counteract and prevent anything bad from happening.

Tips for Falling

Here are some tips for falling that could come in handy if you ever find yourself in a situation where you’re about to you’re going down faster than the Titanic.

Don’t be Irrational

The sensation of falling isn’t an enjoyable one as the mind races to try and prevent anything bad from happening. However, when we overthink falling, we often find ourselves making it far worse than it might have been if we’d just allowed ourselves to fall the right way.

How to fall off may be an art, but the artist isn’t Picasso. It’s not complicated to understand and implement without even thinking about it! So don’t overthink fall. It’s easier than you think.

Maneuvers to Try Adding In

When you’re falling, try and turn your body to avoid falling into the water on your side. It’s going to sting a little falling in flat, but it’s better than falling in on your side, causing you to go deeper into the water.

Try avoiding tensing up as this can cause stiffness in your fall, which might make things worse.

Finally, avoid at all costs making any contact with your board on the way down by any means necessary. Whacking into your board as you fall off it will be painful. Considering paddle boards are usually solid and heavy, you’ll want to avoid this before causing an injury that can make getting back to the shore difficult.

Getting Back On Your Paddle Board after Falling: Step By Step

Getting back on your paddle board after you expertly fell off isn’t difficult, but there is a process to it as well. Here is a step-by-step process of getting back on your paddle board.

Step One: Locate Your Board

Now that you’ve fallen and you’ve done everything the right way to avoid injuries, you need to locate your board. Again, the leash that you’re definitely, 100% wearing will make finding your board a straightforward process.

Step Two: Get Into Position

Using your dominant hand, position yourself on the left or right side of your SUP. You’re going to choose the opposite side of your dominant hand. So if you’re left-handed, you’re going to the right side of your board and vice versa. Now that you’re in the correct position, you’re going to want to hold onto the carry handle with your non-dominant hand.

Step Three: Kick and Pull

While in position, you should still be continuing to tread water to make sure your weight is correctly placed. As you start trying to mount the board, don’t rely on your SUP to take all your weight without you doing some work yourself.

You’re going to want to grab the opposite sides rail with your dominant hand. Once you’ve got a firm grasp, you’re going to tread the water before raising them as if you’re floating. Then, kick the water behind you as you pull yourself back onto the board lying flat on your stomach.

Don’t pull yourself up; it will fail, and you’ll find yourself back in the water real quick.

Step Four: Prone To Paddle

Before you attempt to stand back up, allow the water around you to chill out a bit after you kicked the hell out of it!

When the water is steady, get into a sitting position with legs on both sides of your SUP. When you’re ready, place the paddle across the board. Grab the paddle as you move your weight towards your hands as you firmly place your feet up on the board. Make sure your soles are flat and breath. It’s like you’re in a downward dog position, nothing crazy.

Rise up and use the paddle for support by placing it in the water and getting back to a comfortable and sturdy stance before continuing to paddle.

Take it slow, go with your comfort levels, and don’t rush anything, or else you might just end up falling in all over again.

Now these are the basics, but there more tactics described in this quick video that discuss other situations. I recommend brushing over these real quick!

Final Thoughts

You’re never going to be able to avoid falling off your SUP. It likely won’t happen every single time you’re out on the water, but it will happen once in a while. Even the pro paddle boarders fall into the water once in a while. As long as you follow the steps and tips for how to fall in, you’ll be fine! Just follow the procedure and get back on the board and carry on like it never happened.

Remember, the number one priority is always SAFETY FIRST! There are common injuries in this sport and practicing the techniques in this article will help cross some of these injuries off the list.

Let me know in the comments how these tips and tricks worked for you, and if you know a clumsy or uncoordinated paddle boarder, then share this with them to help them out!

The Art of Falling Off Your Paddle Board & How To Get Back Up


Paddleboarding has been one of the few activities that's allowed me to take a mental break from life and just be in the moment. Whether you're looking for an outlet, a method for physical fitness, or even just a way to meet new people, paddle boarding can put you on a path to achieving all these goals. Every article I post on this site is made with the intention to spread sup love and get more people to stand up and paddle!

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