How To Paddle A SUP | Kayak Angler Magazine | Rapid Media
Skills
A man paddling an inflatable SUP Photos by Jeff Herman

BECOME THE BOSS OF YOUR BOARD BY PRACTICING THESE BASIC MANEUVERS

Many anglers are jumping on standup paddleboards for a quick way to get to the fish. But operating a paddleboard isn’t as easy as it looks. As SUPs grow wider and longer to accommodate standup fishing, proper paddling skills become even more important. We caught up with NRS SUP pro Carlos Andreu for tips and tricks to perfect the forward, reverse and sweep strokes. Spend more time fighting fish and less time fighting the board.

Foward Stroke
The forward stroke. 

FORWARD STROKE

• Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and extend your arms while twisting at the waist.

• Bend forward at the waist, slightly dip your knees, plant the blade all the way into the water and then you use your core muscles—not your arms—to bring the blade back until it is even with your foot.

• Release the blade from the water by slightly twisting your wrist and straighten your knees and back to begin the same extension to start the next power stroke.

• Avoid switching sides with the paddle. Instead, keep the board tracking straight by adjusting the angle of the blade to move the nose of the board left or right.

Reverse 
The reverse stroke.

REVERSE STROKE

• Start with feet shoulder width apart and knees bent.

• Twist at the waist and slice the blade into the water at the rear of the board.

• Push out on the blade by untwisting at your waist. The paddle will draw an arc as you untwist.

• Release the paddle blade when you pass your hip towards the nose of the board. This will stop the board quickly and then move it in reverse.

• The power comes from core muscles in the stomach, back, glutes and legs.

• Spin around and paddle facing the tail of the board to impress bystanders.

Sweep stroke
The sweep stroke.

SWEEP STROKE

• To make a sharp turn, twist at the waist with a slight bend in your knees.

• Plant the blade parallel to the side of your SUP at the nose.

• Begin to untwist at the waist, releasing the blade from the water as it passes your hip. Concentrate on turning the nose and the rest of the board will follow. 

The key to efficiently paddling a standup paddleboard is taking short quick strokes. For more aggressive paddling, stand closer to the nose. To turn easier and increase stability, move back towards the tail. Paddling power comes from the core muscles. At the end of the day your glutes, thighs, lower back and stomach muscles should feel the burn.

 

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