How to Do SUP Step-Back Turn When Paddle Boarding

Table of contents

1.What is SUP Step-Back Turn.
2.How to maneuver.
3.Use the right strokes to make the turn quicker and stabler.

There are a lot of skills you need to master when you are learning how to paddle board. There are the basics like balancing on your paddle board and advanced skills like taking a turn quickly.

Here we will show you an advanced skill in stand up paddle boarding: taking a step back turn. It’s not a basic skill but rather the kind of skill that can make your SUP experience easier, more efficient and enjoyable.

The step-back turn is very useful in helping you make a fast turn on inflatable paddle boards of any size. It can quickly help you get the nose of your board around those race boys quickly or make sure that you can turn quickly at any time you want to achieve certain goals like catching a wave when you are doing paddle board surfing.

It’s more of an advanced skill so if you want to master it, practice is necessary and be ready to get wet at the beginning of practice. Although it could be tough to acquire the skill, the step-back turn will come in handy frequently when you paddle board.

SUP Step-Back Turn

What is SUP Step-Back Turn?

A step-back turn requires you to step back on your paddleboard so your body will be shifted back over the tail of the board, making the tail to sink and you will be able to turn or pivot quickly with the help of your paddle.

No matter what kind/size of inflatable SUP board you use, the step-back turn is the fastest way for changing direction. You can use this skill to turn the direction on both flat waters or in surfing environments. If you want to be a better paddler, the step-back turn is a necessary skill to master. Here are a few key tips for you to quickly master the craft.

(1) Figure out which foot to use for the step-back turn

    The first thing to do for making a step-back turn is to find out which foot would be stepping back. You need to know which foot feels more comfortable in the forward-back position. If you have been doing stand up paddle boarding, you probably know which foot to use already.

    If not, do it in the way that you feel most comfortable but remember to have the leash attached to your back foot to avoid yourself being tangled up in it in the case you fell into the water. After finding out which foot to use for stepping back, you also need to know which side to hold your paddle on.

    After practicing for a bit, you will find it easier to hold your paddle on the same side as you step back with. For instance, If you use your right foot when you step back, then you are likely to find yourself most balanced with your paddle on your right side. Once you figure out which foot and which wide to go with, then you can move on to the next stage which is the maneuver.

    (2) How to maneuver

      After learning the basics, here’s how to actually maneuver. Move your front foot towards the center of the board, then take a step back with your back foot. It could be hard to do this because it could make you lose balance.

      So you might want to make small steps in the beginning and move on to taking bigger steps when you feel more comfortable doing this. Also, be sure to always keep your feet slightly offset to help keep your SUP board balanced in a sideways direction. Next, keep your knees bent to keep the center of gravity low and help you adjust your body position to maintain your balance.

      If you want to turn the board more quickly, take further back steps. But when taking further back steps, it will also make it harder for you to balance on the board at the same time. The main goal is to get the tail of the paddle board to sink and the nose to go up in the air to make the board pivot around the tail easily.

      You might be able to do this with one large step or you might have to take a few small steps to achieve this, it all depends on how confident and comfortable you are when standing on your inflatable paddle board and how long your board and legs are. If you can get in the right position, you should be able to sink the tail of the board successfully and you can get ready to make the turn.

      (3) Use the right strokes to make the turn quicker and stabler

        When turning, use fast, smaller strokes or larger, sweeping strokes to maneuver your board around. After fishing the turn, just retrace your steps by stepping forward again and returning to the original standing position.

        Here’s a useful tip to help you maintain balance and get back to the original stance more quickly: use a brace stroke to drag the paddle across the water. It will provide you with more balance. Try to use your paddle as much as you can to keep your paddleboard moving after taking the turn.

        It will help to make your paddle board more stable. If you can handle balance well when making the turn, then you are not far away from making a perfect step-back turn.


        If you are stuck trying to find a paddle board to start, check out the Goosehill Rainbow R inflatable SUP board. It’s a solid all-around inflatable paddle board that you can use for different SUP activities like SUP fishing, SUP racing, SUP yoga or just simply enjoying your time on the water.

        Leave a comment

        Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

        This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

        Hot Sale


        enter to win our monthly giveaway

        Providing range of durable and innovative inflatable paddle boards for all level of paddle boarders