Four SUP stroke flaws and how to fix them
Getting your stroke right in stand up paddleboarding is extremely important to your overall performance. Without an efficient stroke technique, you won’t be going anywhere very fast on the water!
Practising your stroke is the best way to improve it, but we have taken a look at four common flaws in paddling and how to fix them. The stroke has been broken down into four stages and we have looked into the flaw in each section. The four sections are as follows:
The catch – when the paddle enters the water.
The power – when you’re putting pressure on the paddle blade to move forward.
The exit – when the blade leaves the water.
The recovery – when you are gliding on the water and resetting for the next stroke.
Being too shallow with the blade on the catch
The majority of people understand that you have to reach far when paddling, but no matter how far you reach, you still need to enter the blade fully in the water as early in the stroke as possible. People tend pull back before they have set their paddle properly, which is inefficient.
To reduce this inefficiency, you should concentrate on pushing the paddle downwards and feel a good connection with the water before you pull. The quieter your paddle is in the water, the more efficient you are likely to be.
Failing to use the big muscle groups during the power phase
A good paddler will use the big groups of muscles located in the legs and torso during the power phase. Many beginner paddlers will try to paddle using just their arms, when in fact the power comes from the legs and torso.
You need to learn to engage and use the rotational force behind those big muscles rather than the small muscles of your arms, in order to get the best distance per stroke.
Not rising early enough in the recovery phase
On the exit of a stroke, a lot of people pull, bend down, stay low in the stroke, release the pressure on the blade and then return to upright. By doing this, it stalls a lot of the momentum of your body and board going forward.
If you watch someone with a good paddling technique, you will notice that, even if they bend down a lot, they are returning to an upright position and bringing their hips back a lot earlier. The key is to get your hips under you early on in the stroke.
Over-feathering the blade on the release
When paddling, feathering the blade on the recovery helps it to travel through the air in a more aerodynamic position, reducing drag. However, some people feather too much and put a downward force on the blade. Doing this too much can lead to medical problems in the wrist, as muscles are contracted over and over again.
Keep your wrist straight and allow the paddle to roll down naturally and reduce the big circular movements with the top hand. It should stay in a similar area while the bottom hand goes in a slight oval pattern.
By keeping all this in mind, you should be left with efficient, long strokes. As we previously said, practising often is the key to keeping your paddling efficient; why not take a look at our SUP boards for sale and get out on the water yourself?