Let’s presume that you would rather take a formal lesson than borrow a friend’s board, how do you choose the right SUP school? There are so many schools out there, that choosing the best one may be difficult. Here are a few hints that will help you make a more informed decision.

Is the school’s primary business SUP?

Many watersports providers have expanded their portfolios by buying a few paddle boards. Learning on equipment that is not matched to your ability can be very discouraging. Be sure that the center is well equipped.

Is the school active in the community?

Look for active schools. Schools that are involved in the development of paddle boarding in the local community are showing their passion for the sport. Participating in, and hosting races and clinics are great ways to keep the sport vibrant. Active schools will keep you involved by offering a range of paddle boarding opportunities like yoga, downwinders and wave riding.

Does the center have certification?

While learning to SUP is not like flying an airplane, there are things that you need to know. Qualified instructors will teach you good technique making the learning curve less steep. Most importantly they will teach safety and self rescue. The sport is relatively low impact but accidents  do happen. Please remind me to post some funny/tragic video later.

What is the lesson location?

Small lakes and harbors offer the best beginner conditions. The most significant factors for beginner paddle boarding are light wind and flat water. Waves can be very destabilizing and are extremely dangerous especially getting in and out of the water with a large board. The wind makes for hard work and will often push exhausted beginners along like little sailboats. Stay away from wind and waves for now and be sure that there is a rescue available.

Do your research!

Read reviews. Any schools that have been in operation for a while will have been reviewed on social media. Run a search on Yelp! or Tripadvisor for a listing of your choice. Join a SUP forum and ask for reviews on your top picks. Maybe a Facebook friend has done a lesson and can answer your questions.