How To Get Back On A Paddle Board [Easy Guide]

Whether you’re a beginner or a pro in paddle boarding, there is always a chance you might fall off, and it’s no big deal.

Falling off and getting back on is a big part of paddle boarding, especially in the beginning when you’re still learning and your balance isn’t as good. Knowing how to get back on your board easily is an important skill to have.

But how do you get back on quickly and easily before your board and paddle floats away? 

The most straightforward way to get back on your paddle board is by approaching it from the side. Then grab either the rail on the opposite side, or the handle in the center of the board, and slide the board underneath your chest and torso while kicking your legs. You can then swing your legs around and pull yourself onto the board while lying flat.

Another way you can get back on your board is by going straight to the rear end (the tail), then using the sides to hoist yourself on. This is especially helpful in thinner less buoyant boards where the tail of the board can be pushed underwater slightly helping you slide your torso on easier. Ensure your legs kick behind you to help slide the board underneath you.

The below video shows great demonstrations of the best ways to get back on your board.

Some things that can make it difficult to get onto your paddle board are life vests (PFD’s), women with larger busts, heavier set people or people lacking much upper body strength can all have more difficulty getting onto the board.

If you’re having difficulty the attaching a looped rope to the center handle of your board to make a stirrup to stand on can make getting up easier. It’s also a good idea to practice getting onto the board in shallow waters where you can stand up before you move to deeper waters.

If all else fails and you are in deep water and can’t get back on your board then hold onto your board and call for help. Others will be able to help you onto your board and you can continue on your way.

Don’t be afraid of falling off your board and getting back on. With a little knowledge and some practice you’ll be a master at climbing onto your board in no time.

How Do I Get Back On My Paddle Board After Falling Off? 

Suppose you’ve fallen off your paddle board. First thing first, don’t panic. Getting back on your paddle board is very simple, but you can make things worse by falling off the wrong way. 

If you do fall off your paddle board make sure to fall away from it (not directly on it) to avoid hurting yourself by hitting the board.

Prioritize getting to your board first before retrieving your paddle if it’s far away. You can then use your board to collect your paddle but it can be difficult to swim with the paddle in hand. You should be wearing a leg rope so your board is unlikely go far.

The Main Way To Get Back On Your Paddle Board

To get back on your board, grab your paddle board by the far side rail (grabbing over the board) or reach for the both center carry handle (if it has one) and the far side rail. 

Kick your legs to gain momentum as you pull the board underneath your body so you can slide your chest and torso on top. Once your torso is on the board bring your legs around being careful not to pull too hard on the side rail and flip the board.

Alternatively, Get On At The Rear Of The Board

Alternatively, go from the rear end at the tail of your board and pull yourself up this way.

To get on your paddle board from the back swim up to the back of the board, press down on the tail, and slide it under your chest, using the rails to help get back on. Then slide your body up bit by bit until you’re centered on the board where you can stand up.

I actually find this technique harder than pulling from the side but it can be easier for some people as you can use both arms to grab both rails of the board to pull yourself up more easily.

It is especailly effective with thinner less buoyant boards as the tail will sink into the water slightly making it easier to slide your torso on.

The downside of this technique is once you have your torso on the board you have to drag yourself a fair way upwards (across the grippy deck of the board) before your body weight is centered enough to be able to stand up.

Use The Stirrup Technique To Assist Getting You Onto The Board

If you find you’re having a lot of trouble or you lack to upper body strength required to pull yourself onto the board you can also try the stirrup technique.

Attach a looped rope to the center handle of your board that is long enough to hang down into the water and get your foot into.

When getting back on your board place your foot in the loop stirrup and use your leg to push up while as the same time pulling yourself onto the board with your arms.

This is a great option if you have poor upper body strength.

Before standing up, get to the center of the board with your knees up to your chest while squatting, then press up. Trying to stand up while on the rear end will result in another fall. By then, you might not be laughing anymore.

Practice Getting Back On Your Paddle Board Whilst Close To Shore

It’s a good idea to practice getting back on your paddle board whilst you are close to shore and can stand up.

This way you’ll get less tired, won’t panic and you can practice jumping off the ground to get onto the board before progressing to getting on the board simply by kicking your feet.

How To Get Back On A Paddle Board In Deep Water?

Getting back on your paddle board in deep water can be more challenging and scarier, especially if the waters are rough.

Before you venture out into deeper waters, you should learn how to fall and get back on in shallow waters.

If you’re paddling in deep waters, wear a life jacket. Slim-lined is best since being too bulky can make it harder to get back on your paddle. 

If you’re in deep waters, you want to make sure you’re doing some powerful kicks to help lift your body onto the paddle board.

Grab the side and carry the handle, then pull your body onto the board as you kick your legs. Once your torso is up swing your legs around onto the board and then stand up.

You can also swim to shallow waters and then get back on your board if you’re really having trouble.

If you plan to paddle in deeper waters, bringing a tethered communication device may be helpful, and never be afraid to ask for help.

What Should I Do With My Paddle When Getting Back On A Paddle Board?

Getting yourself to safety on your board is the most important thing since you can paddle to shore with your hands or you can paddle with your hands to retrieve your paddle.

However, most of the time you will hold onto your paddle when you fall and you won’t be far from your board.

Place your paddle on the far side of your board before trying to get up onto your board. This way you won’t be climbing up and over your paddle in order to get on the board.

If your paddle falls in the water don’t stress. It’ll float and be easy to retrieve once you’ve got yourself on the board.