There’s nothing better about summer than spending a long day out on the water. There’s just something primitive about it that takes away the stresses of everyday life. And I cannot think of a better way to hit the water than by stand up paddle boarding. It’s a calming activity in that there are no motors; it’s just you, the board, the paddle, and water.
But the tranquility of stand up paddle boarding can be destroyed if you don’t know what you’re doing. So save yourself the waste of energy and potential embarrassment from paddling the wrong way by following the tips below.
Know Which Direction the Blade Should Slope When Holding the Paddle
Forget about the embarrassment factor here because it is natural to want to hold the paddle the wrong way. The correct way to hold the paddle is by making sure that the paddle blade slopes away from you, not toward you. Holding the paddle with the blade facing away from you allows you to push the water down and ultimately lets you glide across the water almost effortlessly. Holding the paddle the incorrect way with the clade facing toward you will only create drag by causing you to pull up on the water and slow you down.
Know How to Grip the Paddle
Another basic set-up that one needs to know when stand up paddle boarding is how to grip the paddle. There are two elements to gripping the paddle the correct way: hand position and the actual grip.
Positioning your hands the correct way on a paddle is pretty easy to pick up for beginners because it feels unnatural to hold the paddle the wrong way. The easiest way to understand the position of your hands on the paddle is to remember whichever side of the water the paddle is in, you want to put the opposite hand at the top of the paddle. So if the paddle is on your left side, use your right hand to grip the top of the paddle and vice-versa. Your other hand is placed on the shaft of the paddle approximately at waist level for a comfortable feel.
The actual grip of the paddle can be a little more difficult for beginners but is easy to get the hang of. When positioning your hand at the top of the paddle, grab the top of the grip with your four fingers and your palm. Next wrap your thumb around the base of the grip to secure the paddle in your hand. Paddles are created so that either hand can be placed on top with the same exact grip. When positioning your hand on the shaft of the paddle, grip the shaft with mostly your fingers. You don’t want the hand on the shaft of the paddle to be too tight of a grip.
Know Your Posture
Now that you’re on the paddle board, you need to know how to hold the paddle in relation to your body. First, when standing on a paddle board, your legs should be shoulder width apart with your knees slightly bent. Basically, the standard athletic stance. You’ll want to make sure you’re not standing with your back or shoulders hunched over. Keep yourself standing straight up over the balls of your feet.
Next, you’ll want to hold the paddle in front of you with both your elbows bent at 90 degree angles. While keeping the paddle in front of you, make sure that the paddle does not stray too far from your side creating a wide angle. You want to dig the paddle into the water, not skim it across the top when paddling.