Table of Contents
1. Focus on Breath
2. Maximize Your Strokes
3. Use Your Core Strength
4. Paddle Straight
There are times when you’re trying to cover a large distance in a limited time and faster speeds are needed. But how to paddle board at higher speeds? Inexperienced paddlers sometimes think that speed comes from churning the water with rapid paddle strokes. In reality, this just tires you out and doesn’t necessarily get you anywhere faster. To go faster on a paddle board, you need to improve your technique, increase your general fitness and practice. You can also invest in a racing paddle board.
There is a lot more, naturally, to all of these steps. In this post, we will go over the different ways to improve your speed and make you a more proficient and effective paddler.
Focus on Breath
Start the process by focusing on your breath. Efficient breathing is one of the keys to stamina and power. Focusing on your breath will bring you into the moment and increase your ability to properly execute the steps toward maximum speed.
Start by inhaling every two strokes, and then exhaling every two strokes. Be sure to exhale as the blade enters the water. Play around with different breathing patterns and see what’s best for you. Remember the idea here is that if you alternate inhale and exhale on every stroke you will likely be breathing shallower and will not maximize your stamina or endurance. By elongating your inhales and exhales you breathe more efficiently and reduce the oxygen demand from your muscles as you are providing them with a sufficient supply.
Maximize Your Strokes
Focus now on the middle of your paddle stroke, because it helps generate the power you need to go faster, you must give all the power to your rowing movement. To lean in far at the beginning of the movement, stand on the tip of your toes—even if losing balance a bit—before putting all your power into your stroke by pushing hard on the paddle in the middle of the movement.
The part of the paddle stroke which delivers most power happens right at the front of the board, way, way in front of your feet. The paddle goes in the water near the nose of the board and comes out by your feet, but it’s the first 6-12 inches (15-30 cm if you need the metric) which delivers the most power.
It’s also important to pull parallel to the board, creating a straight up-and-down motion rather than a more sweeping stroke. This keeps you moving straighter and more efficiently through the water over a long distance.
Use Your Core Strength
Pull from your core, letting your paddle board slide forward beneath you. Not only use your arms, but also mobilize your whole body. We will go over the different parts of the body now step by step. Starting with the arms that take the force, to the paddle in the water, and to your feet that connect to the board. Your whole body should work as one with each part taking a load it is capable of taking. The purpose here is to get your paddle blade deep into the water and ensure smooth rowing.
Now start your stroke by thinking about “falling” into the paddle blade as you plant it in the water. Shift your weight onto the blade while moving your hips back and down like you are sitting. Now engage your hips and legs to move the blade toward your feet. So your weight is going into the paddle blade and the power to move it comes from engaging the hips and legs.
We have to say that paddling straight is very helpful to improve the speed. You may have noticed it already: changing the paddle side when you want to go straight in SUP means a break of cadence... Fortunately, there are special techniques!
The moment you plant your paddle in the water, place the blade parallel to the axis of your board. Next, draw a first movement from the outside to the inside. Then restore the orientation of the blade to its conventional position, and finish your pulling towards your feet as you normally would. If you want to learn more about how to paddle in a straight line, please read this blog.
All of these minor adjustments can make your paddle board experience that much more enjoyable and result in a much smoother stroke. Now you have our top tips on how to paddle board faster, we hope to see you at the front of the group! But, also keep in mind that everyone is different. What works for one person might not be the most efficient technique for you. So, use these steps as a guide, and with time you will figure out the best way to paddle faster for you and your board.