If you’ve fallen off your paddle board and it’s flipped over then it can sometimes be a bit tricky to flip it back over, especially if you're in deep water and you can't stand up.
There are a few simple ways to flip your SUP back over and climb on plus knowing how to flip a paddle board can also be helpful in performing a flip rescue if someone is unconscious in the water.
To flip your upturned paddle board back over, simply reach over your board with one hand and grab the far side. Pull it towards you whilst pushing down the near side with your other hand and the board will flip over.
Alternatively, head to either the nose or tail of the board and put one hand on each side of the board and rotate the board until it flips.
If you really struggle to flip your board over for some reason then ask for help or hop on the underside of your board and paddle to a shallow location where you can stand up and flip the board more easily.
With a little bit of practice though flipping your board in deep water really isn't that difficult.
1. How To Flip Over Your Board Using Sides
One of the simplest ways to flip your board is by reaching across the wide middle part of your board (known as the deck), grabbing the far side with one hand and pull the board towards you whilst you push down on the near side with your hand/elbow.
This should quickly and easily flip the board over and it doesn't require a great deal of upper body strength.
When trying this method, ensure the board doesn’t hit your head, and your leash doesn’t get tangled during the process.
After this, you can get back on your board by grabbing the carry handle in the middle and kicking your legs to push yourself on the board or sliding the tail underneath you.
You can see a demonstration of this method below, showing how to flip the board toward you without getting hit.
2. How To Flip Over Your Board Using The Nose/Tail
Using the nose or tail to turn your board back over is preferred if you have less upper body strength in the water.
To do this, you go to the nose or tail of your paddle board and flip the board over with two hands rotating it over, press down on one rail, and push up the other to do this.
It helps to use the wind with this method so it doesn’t flip against the wind but tries to flip with it.
The video below demonstrates how to use the nose/tail of the board if it’s flipped when falling off.
How To Perform a Flip Rescue On a Paddle Board
There may come a time when you need to perform a flip rescue on your paddle board.
It’s a valuable technique to know which could save another paddle boarder’s life. When someone is unconscious in the water or struggling to swim you can use this method to get them on top of the board and paddle them to shore.
If they have fallen on their board you first want to discard your board and paddle and use their board to save them. Remember – boards and paddles can be replaced, lives can't.
To perform a flip rescue, you want to first flip the board upside down using either of the two methods mentioned above.
So you can get the person entirely on the board, you will need to get on to the paddle board yourself first and stand up on the board. I've got a full guide on how to get onto a paddle board if you want more instructions.
Now kneel, then crouch with both legs on the opposite side rail of the board.
Using your body weight, hold the person’s hands pulling towards you, making sure you have a secure grip, and flip the board over with the leverage. You will land back into the water, and the person will end up on top of the board, enabling you to rescue them.
The width of the paddle board can make flipping more difficult, as well as the person’s weight, so it may take a few tries to perform a successful flip rescue.
Once you have rescued the other person and they are facing sideways on the paddle board, turn them around so they are straight on the board. Climb onto the tail of the board, push it underneath you then paddle them safely back to shore.
The video below shows exactly how to perform a flip rescue on a paddle board, especially if you’re working with a larger person and a bigger board which is the hardest flip rescue to perform.