Turn UP the SUP PT 2 – 4 Tips On How To Perform: a Backpaddle/ Reverse Stroke aka “The Backwards Stroke”

Posted by Joanna on February 10th, 2020

backwards paddle stroke

In our last blog we gave you some tips on how to implement the perfect C-turn (If you missed this then you can read it here). For the next stage of your SUP journey we are hitting reverse as we give you our top tips on how to perform a backwards stroke and achieve a reverse turn.

This method of turning is especially great for scenarios where you have limited space in front of you when you need to turn. For example if you need to quickly turn away from a stationary boat which is only a short distance ahead of you. Secondly this stroke is a great one to learn as it can also be utilised to slow you down or even act as an emergency stop should you need it e.g if you were about to collide with another water user.

Here are our top 4 tips to help you perfect your backwards stroke:

  1. A slow and controlled motion is key when implementing a backwards stroke. Attempting to drive your paddle too fast through the water can result in your paddle skipping out which will cause you to lose your balance. Hint: Your paddle is essentially your stabiliser during this stroke as you will be leaning onto it. Imagine you are pushing a chair along a floor using your body weight and the chair suddenly slipped. A skipping paddle will give you the same sensation.
  2. Bend your knees further as though you are slightly squatting . This way you can more easily achieve full submersion of the blade of your paddle. This will not only make your stroke stronger and more effective but will also help to stop the paddle from skipping out of the water and hence you will have more control over the stroke.
  3. Don’t spin your paddle! It’s very common for newbies to spin the paddle around the wrong way when first attempting the backwards stroke. Be careful not to make this mistake or you will be unable to scoop the water forwards smoothly due to the blade of the paddle facing the wrong way. Reaching your paddle behind you is achieved by angling the shaft of the paddle more horizontally, twisting your upper body and leaning back into the stroke.
  4. Remember unlike the results of a C-turn (paddle on your right, you go left, paddle on your left you go right) if you backwards paddle on your right, you will turn right, if you backwards paddle on your left, you will turn left! (Saying that out loud hurts our brain too! Maybe read that one a few times!)

Are you looking to make stand up paddling a consistent part of your lifestyle? Would you like to get the most out of your SUPing adventures through implementing proper technique and strengthening your paddling ability? A private lesson is a great way for our experienced instructors to help you improve your stroke and give you the skills required to become a strong and able SUPer. Alternatively if you are an experienced SUPer looking to get more time on the water amongst some fun and like minded people then join us for our social paddle sessions. In our social paddles we often head out in challenging conditions, covering distances of up to 5k to really get some good SUPin’ practice and increase our endurance and overall fitness. We always like to finish with a coffee and catch up with the gang too – a little reward for all our hard work on the water!

We hope this blog helps you to Turn UP your SUP and we look forward to paddling with you soon!