So you got a new board for Christmas? Let’s go back to basics and look at something SUP magazine skills contributor Rob Casey likes to call the Tail Lift.
If you’ve had difficulty lifting your board from its side or using the deck handle, if there is one, then the tail lift technique may be for you.
Start in a squat to protect your back and lift the board from its tail and begin to stand up straight as you work your hands up the board. Grab the rails in the middle with both hands and place the top of your head in the middle off the board and lift to balance on your head. If you don’t like carrying it on your head, carefully slide the board to your shoulder using your head to balance it.
Lean your paddle vertically nearby and pick it up to carry after you’ve lifted the board up. Bungy tie-downs can keep your paddle strapped to the board as you lift it on to your head or shoulder.
On gusty days, the head carry reduces wind resistance on your board, whereas carrying it on your shoulder can be difficult as the wind can catch and move the board around. Another disadvantage of the shoulder carry is that it blocks your view on one side of others around you and in traffic if crossing a street.
To put the board down, put the nose of the board on the ground, then slowly walk your hands to the tail, setting the board gently down. Putting the board down tail first might damage the fin box.
— This article is based on material from Rob Casey’s forthcoming book, “Stand Up Paddling Flat Water to Rivers and Surf”, to be published by Mountaineers Books in spring 2011. For the most in-depth skills and instructional write-ups and videos in the industry, go to our Skills section, here.