Improving Your Paddle Board Technique

Is your paddle board technique lacking? Is your paddle stroke desperately missing a full range of motion? Or does your stand up paddle board (SUP) stance needs some fine-tuning? Luckily, these common SUP mistakes are easy to fix.

If you start to make minor adjustments to your stand up paddle board technique then you can transform you into a stronger, and more capable paddler. That means that with some effort, then you will be able to not only paddle faster and further, but you will begin to look more like a pro every time you get into the water.

We have provided you with some of the best SUP tips and techniques that only the most elite paddlers know about. So follow these simple steps to start to improve your paddle board technique.

3 Simple Steps To Improve Your Paddle Board Technique

Step 1: How to Enhance Your SUP Stance

When you have a proper SUP stance then you will be able to have the most balance and control on your paddle board. Below we break down the most optimal SUP stance with proper foot placement and posture.


A common SUP mistake for beginners is standing too far forward or backward on the paddle board. You want to consider this rule of thumb, the further you are standing from the middle point on the SUP, then the more difficult it is to stay balanced and gain momentum as you are paddling.

When you are on a paddle board the best spot to stand is actually just over the middle point. You will actually feel the most stable when standing in this spot. It is actually very easy to locate the middle point of your SUP because almost all stand up paddle boards have a carry handle located in the middle. 

There is only one situation where it is necessary to stand further back on the paddle board (assuming you’re not surfing) is when you have another person on board with you. When both parties are standing further back and too far forward on the board, then the weight will be equally distributed on the board.

Paddle Board Tips For Foot Placement:

  • You want to place your feet shoulder-width apart right above the paddle board’s carry handle
  • Angle your feet slightly, roughly15 degrees outward from a parallel position
  • When paddling, distribute your weight evenly through both feet for the best balance
  • You never want grip your toes to the SUP’s deck pad because it will make you lose your balance


There are actually several different ways to improperly stand on your SUP. For example, if you are standing with your knees bent too much and you have your back hunched then this will  lead to bad paddling habits. It is important to understand and study the technique tips below to acquire proper SUP posture.

Paddle Board Tips For SUP Posture:

  • Your should have your knees slightly bent so that you can only see your toes
  • Do not allow your knees to cave too inwards or outwards during your paddle stroke
  • Your back should always be straight
  • Make sure you are always looking towards the horizon
  • Engage your core!

Step 2: How To Hold Your SUP Paddle Like A Pro

If you do not hold your SUP paddle correctly then you can cause some serious fatigue to your arms, back, and shoulders. In order to to avoid injury, you want

to make sure that your SUP blade is always being bent away from you when you are paddling. This side of your paddle’s blade has the most hydrodynamic shape. This provides you with the most optimal paddle efficiency.

Step 3: Improving Your Paddle Stroke

A good paddle stroke is what separates the beginners from the experts. This is the most important factor of stand up paddle board technique to master. If you have mastered your paddle stroke then you will be able to cover more ground without all the extra effort. Unfortunately mastering your paddle stroke will take more practice. Here are three stages in order to perfect your paddle stroke.


While keeping your back straight, lean forward and submerge your paddle’s blade into the water. Having the full surface of your blade submerged is important because this is where the power behind your paddle stroke begins. You also want to try and keep the shaft of your paddle perpendicular to the surface of the water when you are submerging the blade of the paddle. This can also help you drive more power out of each stroke. If you have your paddle angled too much then you are creating less power when you are pulling the blade through the water.


So you want to make sure your top hand is gripping the handle of the SUP paddle and your bottom arm is reaching midway down the paddle’s shaft. You want to pull the paddle through the water by engaging all the muscles in your core. You want to have both of your arms as straight as possible when your stroke is complete and with a full range of arm motion. Your will want your top shoulder and core to rotate so it can propel you forward so you are utilizing your back and core muscles, and not just your arms. When in the power phase of your stroke you want to make sure that your core is the main driving force. The more core strength you have, then the faster you will go on your paddle board.


Once your stroke is completed with a full range of arm motion, then your paddle blade should naturally exit the water. This is called the release. It should be one solid motion when you are doing the paddle stroke to release. Once you release you want to position your paddle back in front of your body to prepare for your next paddle stroke. Always remember to have your core engaged and legs slightly bent when preparing for the next stroke.

Wrapping Up: Improving Your Paddle Board Technique

With some fine-tuning and these tip you should immensely on your paddle board technique. Take these SUP tips and techniques above and start practicing today. Always remember to slightly bend your knees and to use your core to ensure there is power to your paddle stroke. 

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