How to Get Back Onto Your Inflatable Paddle Board


Falling off your inflatable paddle board is bound to happen, especially if you’re just starting out like me. Even if you anchor for a nice dip in the water or to do some snorkeling, you’ll eventually need to get back on your inflatable paddle board.

Me falling off my BOTE HD Aero Inflatable Paddle Board – Image Source: Erica Fischer/Aquapparel.com

Before I get into how you can get back onto your inflatable paddle board, I wanna quickly share the best way to fall off of your board. Yes, believe it or not, there is a “best practice” for falling off of your inflatable paddle board.

Falling Off Of Your Inflatable Paddle Board

If you start to feel a little shaky or off-balance and need to bail from your board, be sure to fall AWAY from your inflatable paddle board. Sure the softer deck of an inflatable paddle board provides for a fall that doesn’t suck as much as if you fell on a solid paddle board, however, the water is still your softer and safer option. Not only are you going to want to fall away from your paddle board, you’ll want to try and fall as flat as possible on to the water and be sure to hold on to your paddle and don’t let that sucker go! This means to try not to kick it out from underneath your body so that you don’t have to swim to go and catch it.

Me falling backwards off of my BOTE HD Aero Inflatable Paddle Board – Image Source: Erica Fischer/Aquapparel.com

If for whatever reason your paddle gets loose or you have to ditch it too, no worries. If you have to choose between your inflatable paddle board or your paddle once you’re in the water, always choose your board. You can always come back for your paddle once you’ve gotten back on your inflatable paddle board by paddling with your hands to retrieve your actual paddle. Having a coil leash can help make this process easier as the leash creates a tether between you and your inflatable paddle board.

Paddle Board Leash by BOTE Board – Image Source: BOTE Board

Being tethered to your board helps keep you from having a runaway board thus saving you from having to channel your inner Michael Phelps just to retrieve it. Instead, the leash allows your inflatable paddle board to essentially come right back to you making retrieval a much smoother process. Now that you know how to properly fall off your inflatable paddle board, how do you get back on?

How to Get Back On To Your Inflatable Paddle Board

Earlier, I mentioned retrieving your board and I want to circle back to that as it’s truly the first step in getting back on to your inflatable paddle board. I mean, let’s be real, you can’t get back onto your board if it’s not right in front of you so that’s where you’ll want to start. Be sure that if you are in deeper waters where you cannot touch the bottom, you’ll want to be sure to tread water while you prepare your mount. Now, if you are in shallow enough waters to where you are able to stand, you can always give yourself a boost by pushing off the floor of whatever body of water you are in. Regardless, the next thing you’ll want to do is grab the handle strap in the center of your inflatable paddle board with your non-dominant hand and get a solid grip. This keeps your dominant hand free so that you can reach across your board and grab the rail. By using your grip on the center carry handle and the rail, you’ll want to pull your chest up onto the board and swing your legs around onto the back of your inflatable paddle board. This is a technique you’ll want to use when climbing back onto your board from the side.

A paddler demonstrating getting back on an iSUP using the center handle strap and rail – Image Source: REI

If you go to climb back onto your inflatable paddle board from the tail, you’ll want to push down on the tail and slide your chest back up onto your board. Ultimately, I recommend practicing getting on and off your inflatable paddle board so that when the inevitable happens, you’re prepared.

Standing Up On Your Inflatable Paddle Board

You’ve pulled yourself back up onto your inflatable paddle board and you’re ready to start cruising again. Now it’s time to stand back up and continue your adventure but what’s the best way to stand up on your board and remain balanced to avoid falling off again? First you’ll want to start off by getting on your knees at the center of your inflatable paddle board. Be sure to keep your knees about shoulder width apart-this will help create a more balanced stance once you stand up. Once you are ready to stand up, you’ll want to place the palms of your hands down onto your board so that you are now on all fours. From here, you’ll want to take one foot and place it where your knee was, keeping your other knee bent on the board. Once you have your one foot planted, you’ll then take your other foot and place it where your other knee was, making sure to keep your hands planted on your board  and your stance shoulder width apart for more stability. Now, you’re ready to stand up and start paddling.

Here’s a video of yours truly on my first trip out:

That’s how you get back onto your inflatable paddle board as well as stand back up on it so you can continue enjoying your adventure. It certainly takes a couple of times to get it down, so be sure to practice doing this on your board before you get in the water. Practicing will help you feel better equipped once you’re in the water thus making your adventure that much more enjoyable.

If you’re interested in more articles I’ve written on inflatable boards, check out the Paddle Boarding section of this website. Enjoy your adventures!

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