Let's hit the river
If you want to learn how to stand up paddleboard or paddle board, then you should seriously consider taking an introductory lesson. In the paddleboard lesson, you will receive instruction about many things, including proper stance, paddling technique, and safety measures (such as self-rescue).
Lessons Start at $50/person
Instructor: Cobra (Wayne Cohen)
Cobra gives occasional lessons around the Potomac River area, and he never charges for these. He only asks that you please make a charitable donation for an agreed-upon charity. Cobra has been ocean paddling for a decade, and river paddling since 2007. If you go to www.youtube.com and search for "cobra paddleboard SUP" you'll see a bunch of videos of Cobra on the local waves. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 301.325.9770.
Instructor Paddlestroke (Greg Miller a/k/a "Suggz"):
Suggz is one of the top instructors in the Potomac area, focusing his lessons out of Old Angler's parking lot in Potomac, Maryland. Suggz has been river paddling since 2007, and instructs on flat water and white water. If you are looking for an intermediate or advanced lesson, you can reach Suggz by calling 301.442.6864 (mention potomacriversup.org when you call him). Or you can check his programs out on www.paddlestrokesup.com
What to expect...
Your lesson should begin in the parking lot. There, you should receive instruction about your equipment. You should learn how to inflate your board (most beginners learn on inflatable stand up paddleboards), about the nose of the board, the tail of the board, the fins, the top and the bottom. You will learn about the paddle, including the handle and the blade. And you will learn about your safety equipment. If you take lessons from an outfitter on the Potomac River for stand up paddleboarding, then you will also need to understand how your PFD personal flotation device operates, as well as your helmet.
From the parking lot you will walk down to the spot where you'll be putting into the water. At that point your instructor should give you your paddle, and show you some basic forward and reverse paddle strokes. These are the basics you will need in your paddleboard lesson in order to get into the water. Generally, you'll begin with 4 strokes: left and right forward strokes, and left and right backward strokes. If you take your standup paddleboard lesson on the Potomac River, your instructor should also discuss with you the basics of rocks and current.
On the Water
When you first get on the water, your instructor should teach practice some basic safety tips. Paddleboarding lessons should always begin with having you fall in the water, and be able to get yourself back onto your board. If for some reason you can't get onto the board, then you will not be able to complete the rest of the lesson. This technique is called "self rescue" and is very important. Once you master self -rescue in your paddleboard lesson, then you will be able to start paddling!
After you have been out a few times on calm, flat water during your lesson, it's time to move up to swift water. Swift water surfing on the Potomac River is a blast, and you should definitely take lessons on the Potomac River if you plan to surf any of the waves or chutes. Keep an eye on this site as we will be providing more information soon on these tips.
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