Whether you grew up on the lake or are a first timer, we hope we can help guide you with helpful tips and techniques on how to paddle board on Lake Norman. We stopped by Aloha Paddle Sports for some lessons and here's what we picked up!
If you don’t own a paddle board, here are some places to rent one from.
Throw on your bathing suit/swimming trunks and grab a paddle and board. You can bring some sunglass croakies and inflatable phone case. Aloha also has them available for use.
We are not Moana, so the law requires individuals to have a personal flotation device when on the water. So grab a life jacket and buckle up or place it on the board in front of you. *Children must have theirs on*
Size Your Paddle
With the paddle standing vertically next to you, raise your arm into the air and place the handle of the paddle comfortably into your hand. Adjust the paddle so that it is approximately 7 inches (give or take a couple) above your head. You don't want your arm fully extended (too long) or bent (too short). Aloha's paddles are adjustable to anyone's height. If you're the size of Maui, Shapeshifter, Demigod of the Wind and Sea, Hero of Men, then you might be out of luck.
How to extend the paddle will vary on the type of paddle. At Aloha Paddle Sports, one can twist the adjuster on the paddle. But if you go to a place like this, they will most likely do the hard work for you.
How to Hold and Use the Paddle
When paddling on the left side of your board, your right hand will grip the top handle and your left hand will hold the center of the shaft. And vice versa when paddling on the right side of your board, you will switch hands so that the left hand is on the handle. Many people tend to hold it like a broomstick, but you must resist!
To paddle straight forward, place the paddle vertically from the front of your board towards the back of the board. When paddling further away from the board helps you turn. Paddling on the left side, it helps turn the board to the right and paddling on the right side, turns the board to the left. To remain straight, switch sides back and forth every few paddles.
If you want to slow down or back paddle, you can swing the paddle from the back of the board to the front for a reverse paddle motion. If reverse paddling on the right side, it will turn you to the right and vice versa.
Get on the Board and Stand Up
To get on the board from a dock, start with the board in the water parallel to the dock. Sit on the edge of the dock and slowly kneel onto the middle of the board. Stay on your knees until you are a reasonable distance from the dock.
When you feel ready to stand, place the paddle down across the board and put your hands down on top of it. Next, bring one foot up and place it where your knee was, and then bring the second foot up next to the other. (Like the pictures below!)
Point your toes forward, knees slightly bent, back straight and keep your eyes up and forward towards the horizon.
Paddle Across the Water and Restore the Heart of Te Fiti
Have fun and paddle around! Stay close to the shoreline for steadier waters and away from the main channel where boats maybe passing.
How to Get Back onto the Board if You Fall Off
Well, that was a refreshing swim but now it's time to get back onto your board. Get you belly to the middle of the board and pull yourself up with both arms. Swing your legs around and you will be lying down on your belly back on the board. It's not the most graceful but you can do it!
Be sure to have you feet shoulder width apart or wider for better stability. If there is a wave, paddle directly into it (not parallel). You can always go to your knees if you feel unsteady or sit on your board for a little break. Also be conscious of the wind as the current will be stronger when paddling against it. You can paddle against the current when you first go out for an excursion and then the wind will help bring you back in when you turn around to come back as you will be more tired.
- Paddle with friends or others around
- Paddle in fairly calm water and avoid dangerous weather conditions. Choose a sunny day with little to no wind
- Paddle with your core and back muscles, not your arms
- Stand about shoulder width apart and in the center of the board (the carry handle marks the center)
- Dip the blade fully into the water and take long strokes
- Share your paddle boarding experience with us by tagging us on Facebook or Instagram @VisitLakeNorman and comment below!