Learn to Stand Up Paddle

SUP Body Positioning



When starting out the path of learning to stand up paddle board, you first want to find the center of the board and position your feet in a parallel stance about shoulder width apart around the center point of the board. You’ll want your knees to be bended slightly. You can practice rocking the board side to side by moving you weight. This is the counter-balancing motion that you need to learn to balance. It takes about 30 minutes to find your balance and to get the muscle memory. It feels really tipsy at first, but in no time you’ll be very comfortable and able to take small waves from all directions without falling.



Standup Paddling



For gripping the paddle, you’re opposite hand (left hand if paddling on the right side of the board) should be on the top paddle handle, and your inside hand should be palm facing in on the shaft of the paddle. You want long strokes to maximize efficiency, reaching as far forward as you can before darting the paddle into the water. As you pull the paddle back, you want to work it with the core of your body. Your arms should be fairly straight through-out the process. When you pull the paddle out of the water at the end of your stroke, you sort of drop you top hand towards the opposite side of the board and bring the paddle thru the air flatly to minimize wind resistance. The paddle should cut thru the air like a knife. You’ll see beginners doing this incorrectly and fighting against the wind with their paddle. The windier it is, the more you can feel the difference here. The paddle will be a straight shaft with a paddle that angles forward. You want the angle going forward, so the paddle has the ability to bend and recoil as you paddle it from front to back. Very frequently, beginners mistakenly paddle with the paddle angling backwards.



Alternating your Standup Paddle Stroke


Unless you’ve got a racing dedicated board (that typically have very pronounced V hulls), you’ll notice the direction of the board change with every stroke. By the time you’ve done five strokes on the right side of the board you’ll notice the direction you’re now heading is 15 degrees to the left. As such, you want to switch to the other side and do five strokes there. You alternate back and forth. Additionally, it helps minimize this if you lean out towards the side you are paddling on. Also, different boards track differently based on the different shapes of their bottom.


Turning a Stand Up Paddle Board



If you just keep paddling on one side of the board you will follow a slow, rounded turning radius on most stand up paddle boards (with dedicated racing boards the exception). This is how most beginners turn. It’s slow and inefficient. Once you feel comfortable with your balance, you can make very quick turns by just walking back on your board. Position your......continue reading (here)