The first step in learning how to paddle is to walk your board out into the water until you are about waist deep. Lay yourself on the deck of your board, and keep your weight centered on the middle of the board. You will know right away if you are not centered on your board as you will either roll off or the board will pop out either in front or behind you. Most beginners have the tendency to be too far back on the board. The nose of the surfboard should only be a few inches about the surface of the water. Just scoot up on your board if it is more than a few inches.
The second step is to actually start paddling. You will want to keep your fingers together and your hands cupped. Alternately, extend your arms all the way forward towards to nose of the board and give a good steady stroke. The key here is to really dig deep into the water. The more resistance you feel, the faster you will go. You will also want to focus on good posture while paddling. Keep your back arched and your chest up off the surfboard. If you notice your chin on or very near the board, remind yourself to get that chest up.
That’s all there is to it. Just remember to keep yourself balanced and to paddle with good form. The more and more you practice, the more conditioned you will be to catch more waves.