I recently had the opportunity to sit in on an Intro to SUP class offered by California Canoe & Kayak (CCK) out of their Oakland shop. This shop is right on the water at Jack London Square and an ideal place to learn. There were five students in the class, ages 20s-60s. None have ever paddled a SUP before. Within two hours, they were doing cross-bow draws and self rescues. This class accelerated their learning process greatly. The instructor (Ben) was great. He showed them just what they need to know for that portion of the class. Ben is an ACA certified SUP instructor as well as a kayaking instructor.
Ben spent about 10 minutes going over some basic things about the board and paddle on land before having everyone get on the water for the real instruction. Once everyone launched from the dock, they were standing within a couple minutes. After this point he covered the forward stroke and a couple of turning strokes so people would not run into the docks or boats! After this, we covered a variety of topics, safety, weather, proper, powerful forward stroke, turning strokes and self-rescue. After paddling around in wetsuits and pfd they were happy to practice getting back on the board.
I highly recommend taking a class to anyone entering this sport. What would take weeks to learn on your own, can be learned within just a few hours. More importantly, the learning process is easier and you are learning right the first time out. CCK supplies the board, paddle, wetsuit (if needed), leash, and pfd. They even having changing rooms and showers. After you take the class you can use the board and rest of the gear for the remainder of the day, and most of them took advantage of this offer. Why not, the weather was perfect, they already had the gear, and most importantly, they already had to confidence to go out there on their own.
Here's a clip from their website:
Stand Up Paddleboarding 101 (Oakland Estuary)
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By now you've probably seen Stand Up Paddlers, seemingly walking on
water! Check out this wonderful new sport! Give Stand Up Paddling a try
in our introductory SUP class. SUPing has become incredibly popular in a
few short years because it's so fun, easy, and another GREAT way to get
on the water. (It's good for you, too.) No previous paddling or surfing
experience is necessary. This 3-hour session in the sheltered water of
the Oakland Estuary (launching from our dock at Jack London Square)
will get you started, and you'll be cruising in style in no time. Our
SUP boards are great for novices - great for rentals, too, once you've
completed the class.
Start time: 9:00 am
Private lessons can be scheduled upon request; private instruction is
$45/hour per person, limited to 5 persons maximum. (2 hours minimum for
Good physical condition is important
to assure an enjoyable; however, no previous paddling experience is
necessary. The minimum age for the SUP 101 is 14 years; children under
18 years must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Private
lessons for children under 14 can be arranged upon request.