woman standing on top of her paddle board

Where to Stand on The Paddle Board

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I love watching people climb onto their paddle boards and attempt to stand on them in a variety of weird poses with their feet at varying positions and angles. But the simple fact is, is that unless you are a seasoned paddle boarder, you probably don’t know where to stand on a paddle board and it’s something you have to learn.

Therefore, to take away your struggles and give you a headstart, I explain where to stand on a paddle board for beginners below including the location on the board, and the position of your feet.

Why Your Standing Position Matters

So you don’t fall off….

There we go, question answered! But seriously, let’s look a little deeper into why your position on a paddle board matters. It is of course for balance and stability but there are specific effects that can happen as a result of poor positioning.

If you stand too far forward on your board towards the nose, you apply too much pressure there and the nose will eventually start to dip into the water and your board can sink. You will topple forward and could be catapulted head-first into the water!

In contrast, standing too far back on your board towards the tail can cause the nose to lift up and surf too much over the water. Depending on the current and water movement your board could slip out from under your feet and you could fall backwards into the water.

Lastly, because of the relatively narrow width of paddle boards compared to their length, if you stand too much to one side of the board, your balance will be terrible and you will most likely topple off to one side.

Where to Stand on a Paddle Board - The Basics

woman standing in the middle on top of her paddle board

In terms of physics, the optimum position for balancing is the centre of gravity. Or, more specifically, to maintain balance when you have a “base” (the base being your paddle board), your centre of gravity should be located directly over it.

To put this into practice, you should stand in the middle of your paddle board. Easy! But where is the middle of a paddle board? Usually, in the centre of a paddle board, there is a carry handle, so all you have to do is stand on top of that.

But if you stand with your feet planted together on top of the handle you aren’t going to balance easily at all!

Instead, you should stand with your feet on either side of the carry handle (or the centre of the board if the handle is not central), and they should be approximately hip-width apart. If you look down when standing up, this means that your feet will be in line with your hips.

This gives you the optimum balance and stability. Whereas if your feet are too close together, your centre of gravity is centralised onto a smaller spot and you are vulnerable to toppling over like a bowling pin! Alternatively, if your feet are too far apart, you will just be uncomfortable - no one wants to squat on their paddle board for hours on end!

To reiterate - stand on the centre of your paddle board, with your feet hip-width apart while facing forward.

Tips for Standing and Maintaining Balance

With the basics mastered, I want to give you a little more advice and tips on where to stand on a paddle board that should make your adventures easier.

Bend your knees and relax

I see a lot of people standing rigid on their paddle boards like a plank of wood - I get it, it can be scary at first, but you don’t want to be continually tense. Instead, relax and slightly bend your knees. This aids with balance and it puts less strain on your body.

Consider kneeling first before standing

If you are standing on your paddle board for the first time, take it steady and go into a kneeling stance. This allows you to get accustomed to the board and find the centre of gravity without a huge risk of falling in.

Get a moving start

Although this may seem weird, it’s easier to stand on your board if it’s already moving. Therefore, once you are kneeling have a little paddle and push yourself off. You can then stand up and should be able to maintain balance easier.

Find the Centre of Gravity and Plant Your Feet!

Let’s have a quick recap to finish! When looking at where to stand on a paddle board, the centre of gravity is your friend and you ideally want to stand in the middle of the board equidistant from the nose and tail. You should stand facing the nose with your feet roughly hip-width apart for optimum balance and stability and this pose should be maintained when paddling too.