Paddleboarding – Improving Technique

by | Mar 22, 2016

If you really want to get the best out of your paddleboarding experience, it’s really important to work on your technique. It doesn’t matter if you are a complete beginner to Stand Up Paddling (SUP) or you are an experienced racer, the basics of the paddleboarding technique are the key. Your paddleboard technique is one of the main factors which determines how much enjoyment you get out of your paddle board. Even if for you, it is just a relaxing hobby, you still need to have a good technique. But, also if you want to win races and be a champion, then improving your technique is essential. A good SUP technique will make sure that you can go faster and longer while at the same time preventing an injury. How can you improve your paddleboarding technique? First of all, let’s look at 3 mistakes you should definitely avoid making.

1. Only using your arms

You need to remember that you don’t use just the strength in your arms to propel yourself forward. All the power should come from your core muscles. So, stand up straight with your knees slightly bent, make sure your arms are always straight, twist your core and then engage your back.

2. Holding the paddle too close

If you hold the paddle too close to your body you will not have enough power to pull yourself forward and you will tire very quickly.

3. Where the paddle enters and exits the water

Many SUP beginners put only half of the paddle in the water, not far enough in front of themselves, and then pull it out when it’s way past their feet. Once again, this method will only tire you out very quickly. So, what can you do to make sure that you have the best technique?

How to Improve Your Paddleboarding Technique

What are the best ways in improving technique when paddleboarding?

1. The Catch

The first technique to master is the catch. This is when the paddle enters the water. To make this as effective as possible, you should reach as far as you can in front of you without losing your balance. The next goal will be to get the whole paddle in the water before the next phase. Try to do this without splashing, and don’t go too deep.

2. The Stroke

This is the power phase when you are going to use your strength to propel yourself forward. The goal of this phase is to use your whole body, not just your arms. This is why paddleboarding is a great workout! The goal of the stroke is not so much to “pull the water,” but to bring yourself level with the paddle. If you let the paddle drag in the water you will just slow yourself down.

3. The Return

You should aim to pull the paddle out of the water when it is level with your feet. Try to lift the blade out as quickly as possible and at an angle. This avoids having to lift your arms up too high. When you take your next stroke, turn the paddle to a 90o angle so that there is no wind resistance.

Tips on Improving Technique

Here are a few tips to help you improve your technique even more.
  • Always look ahead, never at the board
  • Slightly tilt the side of the board where the paddle enters the water
  • Work on strengthening your core muscles when you are not on the water
  • Keep practicing!
  • Sign up for our PaddleFit Core Technique Classes
If you follow these great tips on improving your paddleboarding technique, you will enjoy hours of endless fun on the water. You might even build up the confidence to take on some friends in a friendly competition, and with your paddleboarding technique mastered, you are sure to win!