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Holding Your SUP Paddle Correctly: Are You Doing It Right?
It’s obvious that you’ll encounter difficulties when starting out in stand-up paddle boarding. Those difficulties will commonly revolve around how to handle an SUP board or paddle. In fact, how you handle these two will matter most, when it comes to getting the most from SUP paddling.
While most difficulties faced by inflatable stand-up paddle boarders go away with enough practice, as a beginner, you need to begin with the basics: holding your SUP. Here are some pointers:
Get the Length Right
Making sure the paddle bought is of the right length is half of the battle won. You don’t want the paddle to be too short; otherwise, you’ll have a hunched posture when paddling. Getting a too long paddle, however, will take more effort to paddle.
The ideal length of any paddle depends on whether you’re going to take the paddle board out for surfing, racing or touring.
Surf: 6-7 inches more than height
Touring: 9-10 inches more than height
Racing: 12 inches more than height
Master Your Posture
When starting out, it’s normal for paddlers to be a little shaky and have little balance. However, having the right posture is imperative at this stage.
Stand straight on the paddle board, but avoid being too stiff. Keep your legs, shoulder width apart and remember to keep your knees bent slightly. Your shoulders and back shouldn’t be hunched.
Face the Blade the Right Away
Many first time paddlers make the mistake of holding the paddle in a way that it drags the board and only slows it down. The blade shouldn’t face you, i.e., the paddler but should slope away from you. This is the right way and will help create lift, thus allowing you to move faster with less effort.
When going through the motions of paddling, you’ll have one hand that’ll grip the t-grip located on top of the paddle, while the other hand will be gripping the shaft about halfway down. When switching paddling sides (every time!), you must switch your grips as well.
For example; your left hand will be gripping the top of the t-grip when paddling on the right and your right hand will be holding the shaft.
Push and Pull
First your core should be engaged, then your arms, legs and back when paddling. This means majority of your strength will be drawn from the core first and foremost, which is why it must be given attention when paddling.
Make sure to immerse the whole blade in water then pushing the t-grip forward with your top hand. Simultaneously, your hand that’s holding the shaft will pull back. Once the blade reaches your ankle (an invisible point), you must stop the stroke and start again.
Of course, paddling needs time and lots of practice before you really master the water sport.
You can take a look at the high quality paddles that Inflatable Paddle Boards offers and improve your skills by practicing these points every day.