How to Paddle a SUP Correctly

  1. Parts of a Stand Up Paddle Boarding Paddle
  2. How to Hold Your SUP Paddle Correctly
  • Get the Right Length
  • Face the Blade Correctly
  • Hand Positions
  • Push and Pull
  1. Paddling forward and turning your board
  • Paddle Forward
  • Turn Your Board

 

Paddling is one of the most basic skills in stand-up sports. Learning a few basics about holding the SUP paddle and paddling will not only help you move and control quickly through the water, but will also make your paddling stroke more efficient, thus maximizing the power and glide of your paddle while reducing the strain on your body.

 

  1. Parts of a Stand Up Paddle Boarding Paddle

First, review the types of paddles and the names of the parts before you start. On the market you can find 1-piece, 2-piece and 3-piece paddles. Generally speaking, the more-piece paddles are easier to pack and transport, but they will also be less sturdy than the less-piece ones. In general, the design is pretty much the same regardless of the type of paddle. Understanding their design structure will help you learn the proper paddling technique more quickly. In addition, it will help you better understand the mechanics of stand up paddle surfing.

sup paddle

T-Grip - T-shaped ergonomic design of the paddle top that fits comfortably in your hand.

Paddle Shaft - The long cylindrical part of the paddle where the other hand rests.

Throat - The point where the paddle shaft meets the paddle blade and begins to widen.

Paddle - The flat, wide part of the paddle blade.

Tip - The end of the paddle blade.

 

  1. How to Hold Your SUP Paddle Correctly

Your understanding of how to use your paddle and take advantage of its key features is critical. We'll show you how to use your paddle properly in the following areas so you can paddle faster, farther, and have more fun on the water.

  • Get the Right Length

Depending on the different sports you choose, surfing, racing or touring, etc., the ideal length of your paddle will vary. If it's too short, you'll be hunched over while paddling. If it's too long, your paddling will become less efficient and will take more energy. Here are the ideal lengths of paddles for three sports

Surfing - For surfing, it is recommended that your paddle be approximately 6-7 inches taller than your height.

Touring - For touring, it is recommended that your paddle be 9-10 inches taller than your height.

Race - For racing, it is recommended that your paddle be approximately 12 inches taller than the rider.

If you don't have any of these requirements and are simply having fun on a lake or bay, it is recommended to be 9-10 inches taller than your height.

sup paddle

  • Face the Blade Correctly

Holding the blade correctly is simple and important. When faced the right way, the paddle creates lift, allowing you to move quickly with less effort. The correct way to hold your paddle is to make sure that the angle of the paddle blade is away from you. When you are holding your paddle completely vertical and can see the surface of the blade, the tip of the blade should be angled away from your body.

The correct angle of the paddle blade will push the nose of your board up and out of the water as you begin to paddle. As you lean forward into the power phase of the paddle, the paddle blade will be perpendicular to the bottom to propel you forward quickly. To give you a better visual understanding, a video demonstration is attached below.

  • Hand Positions

When paddling, you need to hold the T-handle at the top of the paddle with one hand and about half of the shaft with the other hand. The hand that holds the shaft should be the same as the side you are paddling on. When paddling on the left side, your left hand is on the shaft.

Also, whenever you switch paddling directions, you will switch your grip. For example, when you paddle on the right side, your left hand will be on top of the T-handle and your right hand will be holding the shaft.

When you are paddling on the left side, your right hand will be on top of the T-handle and your left hand will be holding the shaft.

  • Push and Pull

As you move your paddle, focus on your core. This is because when paddling, most of your strength comes from your core, followed by your arms, shoulders, back and legs.

After making sure the entire paddle is in the water, use your top hand to push the T-handle forward, then pull back with your hand holding the paddle. Once the paddle reaches your ankles, you will stop paddling and start again.

Need help choosing your first stand-up paddleboard?

 

  1. Paddling forward and turning your board
  • Paddle Forward

With your body balanced, insert the paddle into the water, extend it forward two feet, and push the blade all the way under the surface and out of the water. As you paddle, keep your arms straight and twist from your torso. Use your upper hand to push down on the handle of the paddle, not your lower arm to pull the paddle back. To keep a straight line, you need to alternate paddles on both sides of the board. There is no set number of paddles on each side; try three to four paddles on one side and then switch to the other side. 

  • Turn Your Board

When you want to rotate your direction, you just need to follow these steps to do so. If you are paddling on the right side, rotate your shoulders so that your right shoulder is forward. Then reach forward and insert the paddle into the water, submerging the entire blade. By rotating your torso, use the leverage of your legs and hips to sweep the paddle from the top to the bottom of the board in a wide arcing motion. Eventually the board will turn to the left and vice versa.


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