Stand up paddle boarding is a great way to enjoy the water no matter where you live. Mastering the proper techniques will allow you to have more fun and do less work.
Learning how to paddle is not complicated but there are a few common paddle mistakes made by beginners which make their paddling unstable and inefficient. Once you’ve mastered the correct use of the paddle your paddling will be easier and more enjoyable too, allowing you to paddle further with less effort.
MISTAKE #1 The paddle is facing the wrong way
The most common mistake for SUP beginners is when their paddle is facing backwards. When you are paddling your paddle’s blade should be bent away from you.
Tip: imagine that it’s a forward facing spoon.
MISTAKE #2 Not holding your paddle vertical
Holding your paddle vertical is very important if you want to paddle in a straight line.
When you do a forward stroke your paddle should always be perpendicular to your board when it enters the water and never at an angle otherwise your board will start turning and not going straight.
You will notice that the paddle will work the other way around but it’s likely to feel quite unstable and much less effective when paddling
MISTAKE #3 Paddling with bend arms and using only the arms when paddling
The technique is important! Paddling with STRAIGHT arms helps you engage your core which is where most of the power should be generated when paddling. Using only your arms and not your core will get your arms and shoulders tired and your paddling will be way less efficient. Dip the paddle blade fully in to the water at the front of your board, try straightening your arms and twist from your hips to draw the paddle through the water – use your core, legs, back and arms making it a FULL body workout so that your paddling power is coming from your core not just your arms.
MISTAKE #4 Entering the swimmer's area
When paddling you should never enter the swimmer's area at any time. In case of entering the swimmer's area, you should stop paddling, lie down on your board, and paddle out to the shore using your arms.
Mistake #5 Wrong hand placement – Hands too close together or too far apart
Having your hand's position the correct distance apart will ensure you have control of your paddle and you will be able to paddle with power
Tip: your elbows should be at right angles when your paddle is above your head with one hand on the grip of the paddle.
The final piece of advice is to just keep practising… The more time you spend on the water the better your technique will become! It may sound simple (you’re just pulling a piece of plastic/carbon through the water right?!) but good technique takes a while to master and makes a world of difference.
See you on the water!