Welcome to our step by step, how to guide: Land Paddling for Beginners. If you’ve been DYING to learn how to land paddle on your longboard we can show you how to quickly get started in just a few minutes. After reading our guide you’ll be able to land paddle with confidence to add another dimension to your cruises or change up your workout routine.
What is land paddling?
Land paddling is the land based version of stand up paddle boarding (SUP). The paddler uses a land paddling stick to propel himself/herself on a longboard (skateboard). It’s sometimes called surf skating because it’s like surfing on land without water.
It’s a fantastic workout for the core abdominals, obliques, lower back, shoulders & arms. It’s relatively inexpensive to get started in the sport (especially if you already have a longboard) & it can add another dimension to your skate outings. Want to see all the cool things you can do with land paddle boarding? Check out the video below demonstrating all the rad stuff you can learn!
is land paddling right for me?
Have you always wanted to try stand up paddle boarding but don’t actually live near any body of water? Land paddling may be the next best thing!
Has the expensive, heavy/awkward equipment associated with stand up paddle boarding kept you out of the SUP sport? Land paddling is inexpensive to get started. The equipment is light/easy to carry by yourself. The equipment stores easily in small space.
Are you a seasoned stand up paddle boarder or surfer wanting to stay in shape in the off season? Land paddling may be just the off season workout you need!
Are you a skateboarder or longboarder looking to add another dimension to your cruiser days? Land paddling is super fun & gives you a chance to work out the upper body & rest those tired legs!
If you don’t currently longboard or skateboard are you willing to learn?
is land paddling a good workout?
Land paddling is a fantastic workout that will keep your core abdominals, lower back, shoulders & arms in shape. It also burns a significant amount of calories if you’re putting the work in. Just like any other workout….you get out of it what you put into it.
Below is a recent 90 minute land paddle I did a few days ago (courtesy of my Apple watch app). It was dang cold out so it was tough to get a sweat going but it did burn quite a few calories (598 calories) & it always gets the heart rate going as you can see below (average heart rate is 143 bpm).
Your results may vary based on your weight, age and fitness level. If you are pushing around more weight than my 110 lbs then you may burn more in that period of time. If you weigh less than me you will burn less.
One piece of advice for your first day out land paddling…start slow with 15-30 minutes of paddling. If you’re not accustomed to paddling this will be a shock to all the muscle systems that don’t normally get worked in this manner.
Unless you’re a hard core body builder you will be sore no matter what so try not to over do it your first time out. Wait a week for your 2nd land paddling excursion so that your muscles can properly rest. Slowly add more time until you can paddle as far as you please. For beginners in the first few weeks I recommend paddling at most 1 maybe 2 times a week until your muscles can get used to this new workout.
Remember to always consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine!
is land paddling hard to learn?
No, it’s not hard to learn land paddle boarding if you already know how to longboard (or skateboard). If you do not know how to longboard (or skateboard) then you must first become proficient at longboarding before trying land paddling. If you have experience in balance sports like stand up paddle boarding, surfing, inline skating, skiing or snowboarding then you’ll be well positioned to take up longboarding (and eventually land paddle boarding).
You can check out my Learn How to Longboard Safely Video Series OR Longboarding for Beginners article for step by step, helpful beginner advice on how to get started longboarding.
Can you land paddle on a longboard?
Yes, ideally you would land paddle on a longboard (vs. a skateboard) because you need a wider stance to land paddle. Longboards are ideal because there is a flat, wide/long surface to get that wide stance and ultimately more leverage on the land paddle stick.
best longboard for land paddling?
You can land paddle on just about any longboard out there but there are several longboard shapes and styles available which may have you wondering which is the best longboard for land paddling. I like some shapes/designs better than others for land paddling so let’s take a look at some of those.
As I mentioned earlier you want a long, flat, wide board surface because land paddling requires a wide stance on the board in order to push with your paddle & get the necessary leverage. I have two favorite longboard shapes that I’d like for you to keep in mind if you’re shopping for a longboard. They are the drop through style longboard and the torpedo style longboard. You can find multiple examples of these two HERE.
Drop through style longboard for land paddling
The longboard pictured above is called a drop through style longboard. The reason it is called that is because there is a cut out for the trucks and the trucks attach to the skateboard from the top of the board. This brings the board a little closer to the ground height wise (which is nice on your knees) and allows you to carve/surf really deep without the wheels potentially hitting/interfering with your board surface.
This particular drop through style longboard from Sector 9 skateboards is what I’m currently using to paddleboard with. This board comes in at 41 inches long and 9.625 inches wide so there is PLENTY of space to spread out my stance and paddle with ease. This board is absolutely beautiful and I can attest that Sector 9 produces high quality, on trend boards with graphics that appeal to almost anyone.
torpedo style longboard for land paddling
The above longboard is called a torpedo style longboard. It’s shaped like a torpedo (thus the name) and sits on top of the trucks. This board will sit higher than the drop through version previously discussed. It’s long (40 inches) and wide (9.25 inches) which makes it perfectly suitable for longboard paddling. This board comes in a little bit cheaper than drop through models and has more surface area all around to put your feet.
I haven’t owned this exact torpedo style longboard model from Sector 9 but I did learn to paddleboard on a torpedo shaped longboard just like this so I know first hand that this style of longboard is well suited for paddling. The biggest advantage of a torpedo is that you have SO much surface area to put your feet and move around on the board when you get comfortable doing so. It’s okay for carving/surfing but if you want to go deep you really should stick with the drop through style longboard.
If you want to see all the torpedo and drop through style longboards I recommend for paddle boarding (with different graphics to choose from) you can head over HERE. My advice is to focus on the dimensions | shape of the board and keep it long and wide for a comfortable ride!
Can you land paddle on a skateboard?
Possibly. It completely depends on the skateboard & the size of the person using the skateboard. If you have a cruiser skateboard that is wide, flat and long it *might* work. You need a pretty wide stance to get pushing leverage with the land paddling stick.
Someone who is 6 feet tall has a wider stance than someone who is 5 feet tall. The 6 foot tall person needs a longer/wider board than the 5 foot tall person. With a skateboard you can run out of space to rest your feet comfortably or do the small maneuvers required to land paddle.
Also, keep in mind skateboards (especially park setups) usually have tiny, rounded off wheels that don’t get much travel per push of the board. So that means you are going to be pushing with your land paddle a LOT more than if you were using a longboard that is designed for long cruises/distances.
If you have a skateboard, by all means give it a shot and see if it works for you but know that you’ll probably tire out more quickly & you won’t be able to cover the distances you would with a longboard or cruiser skateboard. It might be a way to try land paddling and see if you enjoy it enough to fully commit to buying a longboard.
what equipment do you need to land paddle?
The equipment needed for land paddling is pretty inexpensive (you may have some of these items already at home):
- Land Paddling Stick
- Drop Through or Torpedo Style Longboard
- Grippy Full Fingered Paddling Gloves (this is absolutely essential- you will get blisters if you don’t wear them)
- Skate Tool
- Skate Shoes
best land paddle stick for beginners?
The best land paddle stick for beginners is the Adjustable Big Stick + Pro Grip from Kahuna Creations. The big stick includes a well balanced ‘double road grip’ that is great for beginners (Kahuna calls it the pro grip).
This double road grip is nearly fool proof because your stick will land in the perfect pushing position nearly every time. The life of the rubber lasts longer because you can rotate the wheels around as an area wears down. It’s easier to balance (when needed) & brake with the pro grip too. When your road grip wears out you can purchase an inexpensive replacement road grip from Kahuna Creations. I’m impressed with how long they last especially if you don’t use them to brake.
There are some less expensive bamboo models from this company but THEY ARE NOT ADJUSTABLE & they have a lot of flex so I don’t recommend them for beginning land paddlers. Until you find the right length for you personally- it’s best to start with an adjustable model like the Big Stick + Pro Grip. Note: when you purchase a big stick the road grip is included.
Check out my in depth review of all Kahuna Land Paddle Push Sticks HERE.
how to choose the right land paddle stick size | length?
While standing up straight on your longboard grab your Adjustable Land Paddle and stand it upright in front of you. Adjust the telescoping handle end so that the handle of the stick sits between your chin and the top of your head. This is a guideline/starting point…you may find that you like your stick slightly longer or shorter after some practice.
How to Land Paddle FOR Beginners Step by Step
If you already know how to longboard or skateboard you’ll be able to learn how to land paddle in a day of practice (or less in most cases). If you don’t know how to longboard you can check out my Learn How to Longboard Safely Video Series OR Longboarding for Beginners article for step by step, helpful beginner advice on how to get started longboarding.
The helpful video below gives you the basics of land paddle boarding for beginners but we’ll handle each topic in depth in this step by step guide.
what is the correct stance for land paddling?
Step onto your longboard and turn the body forward. Your front foot should be just behind the front wheels | bolts. Your back foot should be about shoulder width apart from the front foot. Keep your knees bent. Do not step too far forward or backwards from this position until you are more experienced.
First & foremost, don’t try and push your longboard with your paddle stick from a completely stopped position. To start, you want to get your longboard moving. Stand on your longboard and push with your foot until you can get your longboard moving at a good pace. Put both of your feet on the board and get into a comfortable paddling stance similar to our photo below.
how do you position your hands on the land paddle?
It’s really simple! You’ll hold your land paddle stick much like you would hold a canoe or boat paddle. If you ride goofy (you push with your left leg) then you’ll place your right hand on the t-handle and your left hand about waist high (2-3 feet down the shaft of the paddle).
If you ride regular (you push with your right leg) then you’ll place your left hand on the handle and your right hand about 2-3 feet down the shaft of the paddle.
how To land paddle (the frontside vs. the backside stroke)?
You may here two terms thrown around in the world of land paddle boarding when you’re learning which are the frontside and backside land paddle stroke. The frontside stroke is simply the stroke you will use to push on your dominant, open body side. Just like the woman is doing in the video below:
The backside paddle stroke involves paddling across your body on the opposite side of the board. You’re feet are still in roughly the same position on the board…you just switch sides (with your arms) and paddle on the other side of the board. You’ll want to do this every so often to give your dominant arm/side a rest and make sure that you’re not going Popeye on one side of your body.
How do you Turn While Land Paddling?
Turning is simple…it’s all in the toes or heel!
A toe-side turn will turn your longboard in the direction that the toes are pointing. While your longboard is moving, press down with your toes. If you ride goofy (right leg forward on the board) then this would turn your board to the left. If your ride regular (left leg forward on the board) this would turn your board to the right. When you become more advanced you can also place the road grip and use it as a pivot to turn.
A heel-side turn is turning your longboard in the direction that the heels are pointing. While your longboard is moving, press down with both of your heels. If you ride goofy (right leg forward on the board) then this would turn your board to the right. If your ride regular (left leg forward on the board) this would turn your board to the left.
how to stop while land paddling
There are a couple of available options for stopping while land paddling. The first is to use your dominant foot and slowly apply pressure to the ground surface until you come to a gentle stop. You’re using the bottom of your shoe as a brake and this is my personal preference because I think it’s the safest way to to slowly come to a stop.
Another other option is to use your land paddle in a similar manner by carefully applying pressure to the ground surface with your road grip. Be extra careful as you do so & don’t let the road grip come into contact with your rear wheels. If the road grip comes into contact with your back wheels it will be a nasty flight off the front of your longboard.
You can also jump off the front of your board if you absolutely have to. You always want the board to kick back behind you and not in front of you to avoid unexpected banana peel slips and falls with your board. Falling forwards is always better than falling backwards because you can brace your self with your hands. This can be harder to do when you fall backwards unexpectedly.
The final option is to turn your board around or uphill which is well demonstrated in the video below (along with some of the other techniques we’ve talked about):
beginner tips and tricks from an experienced land paddler
- Far and away the biggest hazard for a land paddling beginner is accidentally hitting or running over your road grip with your rear wheels as you are pushing along. This…without a doubt will cause you to go flying off of your board. It’s really important to keep the road grip a safe distance away from all of your wheels at ALL times. Don’t let your land paddle drift along or drag alongside your board. Pay close attention to where the end of your paddle is at all times. Angle your land paddle away from the back wheels so there is no chance of the road grip striking your back wheels.
- Don’t paddle from a completely stopped position. Start pushing with your foot to get some speed before attempting to push with your land paddle.
- When you become more comfortable land paddling you may want to trade your Pro Road Grip for the Gen V Blade Road Grip. The blade has less weight to carry around & that’s a nice feature when you’re fully comfortable with land paddling.
- ALWAYS WEAR GRIPPY FULL FINGER GLOVES unless you love having blistered hands & fingers!
- Make sure you are front side paddling AND back side paddling to give your arms a break and even out the work load to either side of your body. After some practice you’ll be able to move around your board to switch sides without stepping off the longboard.
- Your first couple of trips will leave you sore…it happens to everyone don’t give up on it!
I hope you’ve enjoyed our quick start guide- land paddling for beginners. Once you’ve mastered the basics you’ll be able to cruise your neighborhood and build upon those skills!
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