How To Learn Advanced SUP Paddle Technique

Is there an advanced SUP paddle technique that can make you enjoy yourself more or have an easier time if you are a paddle boarding beginner?

Well, that is what we are going to find out here.

Once you have your basic SUP paddle technique, you will be looking for ways to advance the same. That way, you can enjoy your paddle boarding even more.

However, one thing that you will find out is that SUP paddling is all about a balancing act. In this case, you paddle when you are standing up. Unlike a canoe or a kayak where you sit down, stand up paddling needs you to stand.

Well, your paddle stroke could always do with some improving. That is what this article is all about, you know, improving your paddling stroke.

We are also going to find out how you can increase your paddling time by alternating stances so that you do not feel too cramped.

Main things that make a good SUP Paddle Technique

Over time, you will find that some special things make a good paddle boarding technique. These are:

  • Foot Placement
  • Proper Posture on the SUP

Best Foot Placement for Paddling a Paddle Board

In order of priority, perhaps foot placement on the paddling board is the second or third most important thing.

The way you place your feet on your stand up paddle board can really help or mess up with your balance.

But first, your technique involves much more than just the stance. The first thing is to know where to stand on the board.

For instance, you should stand on the middle. That way, you will be able to maintain proper balance.

If you move too close to the front or towards the back of the board, you will risk tipping the board over.

In addition, it will be quite hard to build momentum when you start paddling. The good thing is that you can tell the middle of the paddle board ever so easily because that is where the carry handle is.

Enough of that for now though. So, how can you place your feet on the board?

We have already said you should stand on the middle section of the board. In addition, stand with your feet shoulder width apart. You will realize how stable this stance feels.

Keep your feet at an angle of say about 15 degrees outwards. This helps you to distribute your body weight onto your board evenly on both feet. That way, it will not tip over to one side.

Proper Standing Posture on the SUP Board

Once you have known how to stand on your paddle board, the next thing is to fine-tune your posture on the board. That way, you will be able to adopt the best paddle board paddling technique.

Because of the bouncy nature of the water, you will feel the need to hunch down. You will also find it vital to bend your knees a little. However, please ensure that you bend the knees just a bit. Make sure that even with the knees bent, you can still see your toes.

Image of advanced SUP paddle technique

Keep your torso straight! When you bend your knees, the next instinct will be to hunch your back. However, that is going to hurt your muscles.

In addition to keeping your torso straight, ensure that you engage the core muscles. Therefore, you should feel that your abdominal muscles are fully engaged.

At the same time, when you are paddling a paddle board, keep your eyes on the far. This means that you should not stare at the water immediately ahead of your paddle board. Look out, look further.

How To Get the Best Paddle Board Stroke

You cannot learn about the advanced SUP paddle technique without knowing the best paddle board stroke. Therefore, this section is dedicated to help you know how to hold the SUP paddle, how to enhance your stroke and so on.

1. Learn how to hold your SUP paddle just right

This is the most basic SUP technique. However, you will be surprised just how many people do not know how to hold their paddle.

It is not hard but it will take some getting used to. To know that you are paddling in the right way, the paddle should bend away from you.

It should form a bow shape, with the curved side facing you. Usually, by design, the paddle bends on one side only. Therefore, make sure that the side that bends faces away from you.

2. The Reaching Out Phase

In this phase, you are going to have to reach out with the paddle. Basically, this means placing the paddle ahead of you on readiness for a pull that will send you forward.

To do this, you have to engage your core muscles and then twist your shoulders a bit and lean forward so that you can push the paddle towards the nose of the board.

Keep the SUP rail aligned with the paddle shaft. If you have someone take a picture of you in this stance, you will notice that your arm, body and paddle form A-frame.

3. The Catch Phase

Once you have hinged your hips appropriately and the paddle is in the water, it will be time to push it all in and pull towards you.

The most important thing here is to push the paddle in the water easily and smoothly. Therefore, you should try to do this without making a splash. If you achieve that, you will be on your way to perfecting your paddle board stroke.

4. The Power Phase

This is the phase where the inflatable SUP board is propelled through the water. To do this, you will need to pull your body forward to “force” the board to move forward.

This means that you should not move the paddle towards you. The best SUP tips and techniques will tell you that your body should move towards the paddle and not the other way round.

Make sure that you do not let the blade waver. Keep it steady in the water so that you do not break your speed.

5. The Release Phase

After the power phase, the paddle is going to have to leave the water so that you can engage in the first phase – reaching out again.

There is a style to it all. For instance, you should ensure that the blade exits the water at your feet.

The reason for this is so that you do not decelerate your speed. In quick succession, you can reach out again and keep the board moving without stopping.

Exiting is hard, so you will need to practice it. For instance, make sure that you drop your higher hand down and inwards. The vital thing is to get the blade of the paddle out of the water without pulling it through the water.

6. The Recovery Phase

This is where you take the paddle to the reach out phase again. You can relax your shoulders and core a bit, but engage them once more as soon as your blade is about to hit the water.

3 Basic paddle board techniques

Basic paddle board techniques

So much about the advanced paddle boarding techniques. But what about the simple, basic techniques for paddle boarding? Before you become an advanced SUP enthusiast, you start with the basics.

Keeping the SUP straight

How to keep the SUP straight is one of the first things you should know. Steering a SUP takes skill and energy. Going straight on the board depends on your position on the board.

Mostly, you can use the carry handles used for transporting the paddle board to gauge whether you are standing at the center.

Your feet should be placed shoulder width on any side of the handle. That way, neither the tail nor the nose dip into the water.

Keep your head and back straight and do not lean to either side. If you lean to one side of the board, it will steer that way.

When you start paddling, keep the sup paddle in a straight position. The first few times or even days of trying this will be hard, but it gets easier with practice.

Also, do not lean out when paddling such that the paddle leaves a big gap from the board rail. Short of scraping the rail, keep it as close to the edge as possible. Once the paddle moves away from the rail too much, the board will start to turn.

How to turn the board

This is another of the basic things you should know about operating a paddle board.This is simple though, perhaps even easier than keeping the 4 inch or 6 inch thick paddle board straight.

When you angle the paddle away from the rail, the board starts to turn in the direction of the side you are paddling on.

So for turning, make a wider stroke. For turning faster, make a wide reverse stroke, that is, paddle backwards instead of forwards, the same way you would reverse-paddle to slow down, and eventually stop the board.

Building speed on the board

Speeding will come much later, so it is really not one of the basics, but it is vital to know how. After all, the fun in the craft is in the speed!

Always start building speed with short paddle strokes. After the board is racing nicely on the water, reach further and remember not to keep the paddle too far from the rail. This will increase your speed, and fun, much more!

Remember to wear your inflatable life jacket for paddle boarding because you will fall, especially during the first attempts.


That is it for how to cultivate an advanced SUP paddle technique. Of course, you will not know how to stroke properly overnight. The good thing is that with practice, you can actually become very good. Therefore, keep doing it. SUP paddling requires some regularity.

You can watch the video below to see how to cultivate an advanced SUP paddling technique

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