Paddleboarding on Your Knees – Full Guide

Cameron Profile Picture

Expert: Cameron – I have been active in all water-based adventures since 2014. In my youth I would stay with my uncle in Florida who introduced me to paddleboarding and have enjoyed SUP ever since. While traveling I frequently rent paddleboards to explore coastlines. I also surf out of tropical areas such as Hawaii and Guam to include my shoreline at home on the Emerald Coast with my SUP.

Embarking on a new adventure in paddleboarding awaits you: paddling on your knees.

The best way to enter and exit the water on your paddleboard is on your knees.

Some may not realize or know that kneeling the entire time on your SUP is entirely an option and can be quite comfortable.

Kneeling on your SUP is not just another stance or position, it is arguably the easiest to control and what you should use in turbulent waters.

This is because it lowers your center of gravity giving you more control of your board.

This begs the question of “how do you paddleboard on your knees?”

In this guide, we will go through step-by-step how to enter the water and exiting including advantages and everything in between.

Kneeling Technique


1: Place Your Paddleboard in Shallow Water

I like to place the board in around 12 inches of water so I still have a good bit of control when getting on the board.

This makes it easier to paddle off once you are on your board.

2: Place Your Paddle on Your SUP Above the Center of the Board

Having your paddle out of your hands will allow you to use both hands to keep balance while getting on your SUP.

3: Get on Your SUP Placing Your Knees On Either Side of the Center of the Board

Begin by finding the center of your paddleboard and placing your knees on either side.

Keep your feet flat on the board and maintain a comfortable distance between them.

As you kneel, engage your core muscles to help you maintain balance.

4: Take Your Paddle and Begin Paddling Off from the Shore

Related : How to Hold Your Paddleboard Paddle

With the blade curve of the paddle facing forward begin paddling out.

Proper Blade Placement

Woman Paddleboarding on Knees

Proper blade placement is a fundamental skill in paddleboarding on your knees.

To maintain a straight-line paddle, ensure that the paddle blade enters the water perpendicularly.

Avoid a wide-reaching stroke, which can cause the board to veer off course.

Keep your top hand positioned above your bottom hand to generate maximum power with each stroke.

Efficient Paddling

Efficient paddle strokes are the key to smooth and effortless forward movement.

Focus on proper form, ensuring that your paddle enters the water with minimal splash.

Use your core muscles to engage your paddle strokes, rather than relying solely on arm strength.

Practice a cadence that allows you to maintain a consistent speed without tiring quickly.

Enhancing Speed

Once you’ve mastered the art of efficient paddling, it’s time to work on enhancing your speed while paddling on your knees.

Increasing your speed allows you to cover more ground and explore further.

To do this, concentrate on your stroke rate and the power you generate with each stroke.

Experiment with longer and more powerful strokes, keeping your movements controlled and fluid.

Gradually build your speed to find a pace that suits your comfort level and experience.

Kneeling and More on Your SUP

Stand Up Paddleboard on Beach with Paddle

From here I will include shifting to standing, turning your board and other information related to kneeling with your SUP.

The Advantages of Paddling on Your Knees

Understanding the advantages of paddling on your knees will motivate you to embrace this technique.

One significant benefit is enhanced stability.

Kneeling lowers your center of gravity, making it easier to balance on the board, especially in choppy waters or when dealing with waves.

Additionally, paddling from a kneeling position offers better visibility, allowing you to see potential obstacles in the water more clearly.

This improved visibility can contribute to a safer and more enjoyable paddleboarding experience.

Turning the Board

Turning your paddleboard gracefully while on your knees requires a solid understanding of technique.

To execute swift turns, begin by swapping your bottom hand on the paddle with your top hand.

This adjustment changes the angle of the paddle blade in the water, allowing you to initiate a turn.

Simultaneously, take a series of strokes on one side of the board to direct the water flow toward the nose or tail, depending on the desired direction of your turn.

Practice these techniques to become adept at maneuvering your board with precision and ease.

Launching and Landing

Launching and landing your paddleboard while on your knees requires a seamless transition to ensure a successful outing.

Start by positioning your paddleboard in shallow water, making it easier to mount from a kneeling position.

When launching, carefully step onto the board, one knee at a time, maintaining a low center of gravity.

To land gracefully, paddle toward the shoreline, then step off the board to solid ground.

Navigating Shallow Waters

Navigating shallow waters and waves demands a specific set of skills.

When paddling on your knees in shallow waters, it’s essential to keep a keen eye on the water depth to avoid running aground.

Use your paddle to probe the water ahead, ensuring it’s deep enough to paddle through safely.

In addition, maintain a controlled and steady paddling rhythm to prevent your fin from hitting the bottom.

Conquering Windy and Choppy Conditions

When the wind kicks up or the water gets choppy, maintaining control from a kneeling position becomes crucial.

To conquer these conditions, focus on keeping your weight centered and low.

Use your core muscles to stabilize yourself, and keep a firm grip on the paddle.

Consider using a shorter paddle for better control in choppy waters.

Remember, practice makes perfect, so gradually build your confidence in challenging conditions.

Transitioning to a Stand

Man Stand Up Paddleboarding While Bending Knees

Transitioning from kneeling to standing on your paddleboard is a significant milestone in your paddleboarding journey.

This transition not only adds variety to your experience but also offers a different perspective on the water.

To successfully transition, start by slowly rising from your knees while maintaining your balance.

Use the paddle for stability, and take your time to gain confidence in your standing position.

With practice, you’ll seamlessly switch between kneeling and standing, enhancing your overall paddleboarding skills.

Locking Your Legs When Standing on Paddleboard

It is important to understand the difference of locking your legs or keeping your knees bent.

I do not recommend locking your legs when standing on your SUP, however you are not completely wrong if you decide to do so.

To keep better balance, keep your knees slightly bent.

Related: Should You Lock Your Knees When Paddle Boarding?

Exploring Different Waters

Paddleboarding on your knees opens up a world of versatility.

You can explore various types of water bodies and conditions, each offering a unique experience.

Serene lakes provide a tranquil setting for relaxation, while rivers offer an exciting opportunity to navigate flowing waters.

Coastal areas let you ride ocean waves, and urban waterways offer a blend of city and nature.

Embrace the versatility of paddleboarding and discover the diverse landscapes waiting to be explored.

Safety Measures

Safety should always be your top priority during any paddleboarding adventure.

Whether you’re paddling on your knees or standing, it’s essential to follow safety guidelines.

Ensure you have the necessary safety equipment, including a personal flotation device (PFD) and a whistle.

Related: What to Bring When Paddleboarding

Familiarize yourself with the water conditions and weather forecasts before heading out.

Additionally, inform someone about your paddleboarding plans and expected return time to ensure someone knows your whereabouts.

Safety in Different Waters

Each water body and condition presents unique safety considerations.

In calm lakes, be mindful of boat traffic and potential swimmers.

In ocean environments, pay attention to tide changes and currents that can affect your paddleboarding experience.

When exploring rivers, watch out for submerged obstacles like rocks and branches.

Always adapt your safety measures to the specific environment you’re paddling in, and stay prepared for unexpected situations.


In conclusion, paddleboarding on your knees offers a unique and rewarding way to explore the water, connect with nature, and boost your physical and mental health.

Be sure to enter the water in a shallow enough position to still have control while getting on your board, but also deep enough to begin paddling.

Center yourself on your paddleboard with your knees apart and comfortable.

Be sure to use proper paddle technique to not waste energy and wear yourself out.

So, grab your paddleboard, kneel down, and let the adventure begin.

Paddleboarding on your knees is yet another useful tool in your arsenal to broaden your SUP experience.

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