Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) is a fun way to enjoy the water, get some exercise, and get back to nature.
Whether you're a beginner or an experienced paddler, there are certain habits you can cultivate to make your paddling experience more enjoyable and efficient. Here we explore five key habits that will help you paddle easier on a stand-up paddleboard. They’ll help you to glide effortlessly across the water and make the most of your time on the board.
Here’s to more SUP adventures in the ocean and flat water.
1. Learn proper paddle technique
Mastering the correct paddle technique is essential for efficient paddling.
Many beginners tend to use their arms too much, which can lead to fatigue and inefficient movement.
Instead, focus on using your core muscles to drive the paddle through the water. Plant the paddle in the water near the front of the board and use your core to pull it back. Keep your arms relatively straight and engage your torso in the movement.
This technique will not only conserve your energy but also help you maintain better balance on the board.
And remember, your top hand should be inline with your bottom hand if you want to paddle in a straight line.
2. Find Your Stance
Maintaining the right stance is crucial for stability and effective paddling.
Keep your feet parallel and hip-width apart, with your toes pointing forward. Distribute your weight evenly across the board to avoid tipping. As you paddle, bend your knees slightly to lower your center of gravity, providing better balance and making it easier to control the board.
Practicing this stance will give you a solid foundation for a comfortable and efficient paddling experience.
3. Follow a Breathing Rhythm
Paddling requires energy, and maintaining a consistent breathing rhythm can significantly impact your performance.
Breathe deeply and exhale fully with each stroke to help your body stay oxygenated and relaxed. Sync your breathing with your paddle strokes to create a smooth and efficient rhythm. This not only enhances your stamina but also helps you stay focused and calm while out on the water.
Just remember to hold your breath when you fall in so you don’t suck in a mouthful of water!
4. Mind Your Posture
Your posture plays a crucial role in how well you can paddle and maintain balance.
Imagine a string pulling you upward from the top of your head, aligning your spine and preventing slouching. A proper posture will not only help you paddle easier but also prevent strain on your back and shoulders. Regularly check in with your posture while paddling to ensure you're maintaining the correct alignment.
You can practice your SUP posture in the backyard with your fins removed and the board lying flat on the ground.
5. Choose the Right Conditions
Paddling in the right conditions can make your experience much more enjoyable and effortless.
On windy days, try to paddle against the wind during the first half of your session, so you can enjoy a smoother return trip. Choose calm water whenever possible, as choppy water requires more effort to navigate. Starting in calm, sheltered areas is particularly helpful for beginners as they get accustomed to the balance and paddling technique.
Don’t forget river inlets and small coves in lakes which can be fun to explore and can offer shelter from the wind.
Paddle forth and prosper on your SUP
Stand Up Paddleboarding offers a unique opportunity to connect with the water and enjoy nature from a different perspective.
By incorporating these five key habits into your paddling routine—proper paddle technique, finding your stance, following a breathing rhythm, maintaining good posture, and choosing the right conditions—you'll not only make your paddling easier but also enhance your overall experience on the board. As with any skill, practice makes perfect, so keep honing these habits to become a more efficient and confident stand-up paddleboarder. It takes time and patience but you can get there.
If your goal is to start catching some waves, then consider SUP lessons with a qualified SUP instructor at Stonker in Torquay, Australia.