Introduction to stand-up paddleboarding

By Verified Expert

Stand-up paddleboarding has become a very popular activity over the past few years. I’ve always been curious to try it but, not being a water-lover, I’d never really made it happen. So of course it made sense for me to experience it for the first time in the freezing waters of the Arctic!

Instructions and tips

Although there are many paddleboarding tours available from Nuuk (and Sisimiut) – the one I joined was specifically designed as an introduction to the sport. I met Astrid (our guide) and the rest of the group out near the kayak racks in Qinngorput (a suburb of Nuuk) and was handed my drysuit, life jacket, and neoprene boots and gloves to put on over my clothes. If you’ve never tried to put a drysuit on – it is an interesting experience!

Guide starting the explanation of how to get the most out of paddleboarding in Nuuk - Guide to Greenland

Appropriately suited up, Astrid began her explanation of how to stand on the paddleboard, how to adjust the paddle correctly, the best way to balance on the board (hint: it has to do with relaxed hips), and how to deal with waves.

Guide giving an explanation of how to adjust the paddle on a stand-up paddleboarding tour in Nuuk - Guide to Greenland

But there is only so much talking will do, and only so much you can do on land. It was time to head into the water.

Learning how to stand/kneel on the board

We initially stayed very close to the shore as Astrid talked us through the process of moving from a kneeling position to a standing position and back again.

Guide explaining kneeling standing techniques of stand-up paddleboarding - Nuuk - Guide to Greenland
Learning how to stand from a kneeling position
Getting the hang of standing from a kneeling position on a stand-up paddleboard - Nuuk - Guide to Greenland
We were a little tentative at first!

We did several practice runs and also tried to get the hang of our balance before heading along the shoreline of Qinngorput towards the “End of the World” – the end of Nuuk’s road system.

Stand-up paddleboarding introduction in Nuuk - Guide to Greenland

Our paddleboarding tour of Qinngorput

The next 1.5 hours were spent leisurely making our way along the coastline. It was beautifully warm with no wind and only a few waves from the wakes of boats as locals headed out to explore the Nuuk Fjord. It was a lovely, relaxing paddle past the apartment towers of Nuuk’s outer suburb, and along the base of one of the icons of Nuuk – Ukkusissat – otherwise known as Store Malene.

Paddling past the apartments of Nuuk and Ukkusissat - store malene -on a stand-up paddleboarding tour - Guide to Greenland

Once I loosened up and got the hang of balancing, it was so incredibly relaxing and meditative! I’m so glad I finally took the opportunity to try 🙂

The view from a stand-up paddleboard on an introduction tour in Nuuk - Guide to Greenland
Board view

Polar plunge

The other cool thing that many people do on a paddleboarding tour while completely protected by their drysuit is a non-hard-core “polar plunge”. The idea is to jump into the frigid arctic ocean wearing your swimming costume (trust me – you don’t last long! I’ve done it this way) but this is a much less painful way of doing it 🙂

Doing a non-hard-core polar plunge while paddleboarding in Nuuk - Guide to Greenland
Polar plunging the painless way

Million thanks to Astrid and Nuuk Adventure for the trip!

Explore the Nuuk Fjord for yourself

If you are planning a trip to Nuuk, I recommend reading the Ultimate Travel Guide to Nuuk.

You should definitely get out on the water with one of the many fjord tours on offer, but if you would like something different to a boat tour – stand-up paddleboarding is a unique experience. Besides this introduction tour, there are also opportunities to paddleboard in the Nuuk Icefjord (paddle amongst the icebergs), and potentially, with whales.

2 paddleboarders very close to a whale who is showing its tail as it dives in the Nuuk Fjord - Guide to Greenland
Paddleboarding with whales is another opportunity in the Nuuk Fjord

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