There aren’t too many things that can compare with getting out on your paddle board on a warm summer day. It’s relaxing and exhilarating at the same time. However, you just might be one of the many people who’ve neglected to learn one of the fundamentals of SUP: the right way to hold the paddle. Here are some tips to help you handle your SUP paddle correctly:
1. Tilt the blades away from your body
A common practice amongst newbies is to tilt their paddles towards their bodies. In a way, it makes a bit of sense. In theory, tilting the blade towards your body should help you scoop more water and help you cover longer distances. Unfortunately, this doesn’t quite pan out in reality. Holding the paddle this way will only pull your board down – not forward.
Hold your paddle with the blade pointing away from your body. This position will push the water down while pulling your board upward – and forward. Ultimately, it will allow you to move through the water faster.
2. Use a wide grip
Another thing newbies tend to get wrong is their hand positions. It tends to feel more natural to keep the hands close together. However, it’s a lot more difficult to maintain consistent power over the paddle with this grip. Likewise, your muscles have to work harder in this position.
The correct way to hold a SUP paddle is with a wide grip. A good rule of thumb is to make sure they’re slightly wider than a shoulder-width’s distance. However, you can use your paddle to get a more precise distance.
- Grab your paddle and hold it overhead.
- Use one hand to hold the handle, and slide the other in the opposite direction.
- Continue to do this until you’re able to make a 90-degree angle with your elbow.
3. Switch your grip
There aren’t too many people who mess this one up. Nevertheless, it needs to be said. Each time your paddle switches sides, you will need to switch your grip. When you’re paddling on your left side, your right hand will need to be on the handle. Likewise, paddling on the right will require your left hand to be on the handle.
4. Paddle with your core
In comparison with some of our other muscles, the ones in our arms are fairly small. This makes it likely to tire them out if you over-utilize them during a SUP session. Instead of thrusting your arms into every paddle movement, rotate your torso and allow that movement to guide your strokes.
5. Push, then pull
Your goal is to make the most of each stroke. The best way to do this is to use the push-pull method. Using a forward motion, gently slide your paddle into the water. Once it’s fully submerged, use your core to pull your paddle towards your feet and out of the water.