The 5 stages of the SUP stroke – are you doing them correctly?

Posted by Joanna on November 4th, 2019

stand up paddling sydney harbour

  • Reach- Setting up to take the stroke – Reach your paddle forward towards the front of the board by slightly twisting your shoulders, leaning forward by elongating your upper body and hinging from the hips. Tip: Your body, paddle and lower arm should create an ‘A’ shape when in the correct position. Try to keep your back straight, your knees slightly bent and keep your top hand directly above your lower hand to keep the paddle upright, thus creating the ‘A’.
  • Catch – The point at which your paddle enters into the water. A smooth insert is key here to ensure an effective drive, you ideally want to make as little splash as possible – think of the insertion as though you are attempting to spear a fish. Tip: Fully submerge the blade with each stroke to get the most power.
  • Drive – Put your body weight onto the paddle and propel your board forward until the blade of the paddle aligns with your feet (any further past your feet decreases efficiency). Mastering this stage of the stroke is essential for maximising speed! Tip: Remember you aren’t pulling the paddle back towards your body you are moving your body & board forwards, towards the paddle.
  • Exit – The paddle should be released from the water as soon as the blade reaches your feet. Your shoulders should move in a sideways motion as opposed to lifting the paddle upwards and over extending your arms. As after you put your weight onto the paddle in the driving stage you will bring your body back into an upright position as you move forward, which will naturally remove you paddle from the water without the need to over extend your arms. Tip: Allow your lower arm to soften at exit.
  • Recovery- Once the blade is released from the water, you need to use a feathering technique, this is where your wrists twist inwards causing your paddle to turn 90 degrees to ensure a smooth transition into your next stoke. Tip: When you bring your paddle around to begin the reach phase, think of this as an uppercut style movement, making the movement quick and efficient.

If you want to master the stroke technique, we suggest booking in a private lesson so that you will have the full attention of one of our professional instructors who will be able to break down each phase of the technique and offer feedback and advice for some speedy SUPing progress!

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