Stance, Grip And Eye Placement For The Ideal Paddleboard Stroke
Start Paddling From The Neutral Stance
First, let’s focus on your footwork. Your feet are your foundation and the base of your power. On calm water, start with your feet facing forward about shoulder width apart. This is called the ‘neutral stance.’ From here, it’s easy to paddle on either side and doesn’t require you to shift your weight and feet every time you switch sides with your paddle. In the neutral stance it’s easy to paddle straight ahead and keep the nose of the board pointed in the right direction.
Make sure your knees are slightly bent and at the ready, almost as if you’re preparing to jump into the air or squat down to pick something up. Keeping your knees bent will help you maintain your balance. When you lock your knees it’s easy for a slight wobble to transfer from your feet to your knees to your hips and cause you to fall. Keep your hips loose like a hinge so you can bend at the waist to reach forward easily. Think of your whole body as a coiled spring. Your stance is designed to act like a shock absorber. If each link in the chain (your feet, knees, hips, and lower back) are loose and at the ready, you’ll ride the motion of the water before it tilts your center of gravity.
Now that your foundation is set, it’s time to get on the move.
Grip The Paddle Correctly And Firmly To Maximize Power
To ensure you have the correct hand placement, grab the paddle with one hand on top and hold it horizontally over your head. Slide the other hand along the shaft of the paddle until both your elbow are at right angles. This will give you control over your paddle and set you up for a powerful stroke.
Make sure that you’re holding the paddle with the blade angled forward. Paddles are designed so that when your paddle is in the water by your feet, the blade is pointing directly down. Thurso Surf paddles are designed with graphics on the front so you can easily tell that you’re holding it correctly.
Keep Your Eyes Forward
It’s ok to look at your feet as you get into your stance the first few times or to watch your stroke as you glide past your paddle on occasion. This can be a good way to analyze what you’re doing right and what can be improved. However, when paddling, it’s important to keep your eyes up rather than looking down or concentrating on yourself. If your eyes are focused somewhere between the horizon and the nose of your board, that’s where you’re likely to go. Looking down at your paddle or feet will destabilize you and you won’t be able to read the water ahead.
The Five Phases Of An Efficient SUP Stroke
A good forward reach extends the paddle ahead of you so it can catch the water. If you want to dial in the best paddleboard stroke there are a few points to think about. You want to bring the paddle along the rails, or sides, of your board. Swinging it out widely is a less efficient movement.
Aim for the paddle to enter the water at a comfortable distance ahead of you toward the nose. To do this, activate your core. Make sure your lower arm is extended and, to minimize stress on your shoulder, the elbow of your upper arm should stay in line with your body, near your head. Bend forward at the hips with your back straight and allow your shoulders to twist slightly as you set the blade of the paddle into the water.