SUP Enclosed Flat Water Skills


Paddling in enclosed flat waters is the first step in learning to stand up paddle. 

Locations and Conditions 

Enclosed Flat Water paddling locations are defined as: 

  • Inland waterways and bodies of water including creeks, rivers, lakes, lagoons, estuaries, canals 
  • No wider than 1 km (0.6 miles)
  • With no swell or breaking waves 
  • Wind speed less than 12 knots
  • Water depth no less than 1 metre (1 metre (3ft)) 
  • Free from hazards
  • Being no more than 250 metres (820ft) from shore
  • Being at least 200 metres (660ft) away from a river mouth


Before paddling at this level, you should know how to swim 50 metres (164 ft), without stopping.


Flat water stand up paddle board
Coiled leash

Skills and Knowledge

To paddle correctly and safely at this level, requires the following skills and knowledge:  

Environment & Safety

  • Identify the characteristics of enclosed flat water environment
  • Identify safe weather conditions and how to forecast conditions 
  • Understand and identify different water conditions 
  • Identify personal hazards that apply when paddling 
  • Identify location hazards when paddling 
  • How to choose a safe SUP location
  • Identify self rescue SUP techniques and when to apply them
  • Apply correct SUP flat water etiquette
  • Identify how to care for the enclosed flat water SUP environment

Equipment & Clothing

  • Choose suitable flat water board, leash and equipment
  • Choose suitable clothing for paddling

Paddle Skills

  • Enter and exit the water safely and correctly
  • Paddle in standing position with confidence
  • Paddle in kneeling position 
  • Identify correct paddling technique – 3 P’s - Position, Posture, Paddle
  • Identify the 5 phases of the paddling stroke
  • Use the orrect method to change direction
  • Turn the board using  back paddling and sweep strokes
  • Stop the board
  • How to fall safely
  • How to get back on your board 
  • Identify how to perform a pivot turn