Turn UP the SUP Pt 5 – Cross Bow Stroke

Posted by Joanna on March 23rd, 2020

You may have noticed if you have been following our recent blog series, that there is a lot more skill and technique to SUPing as people often think. It is actually this fact that inspired us to write our Turn UP the SUP blog series, so that we can help SUP enthusiasts to boost their performance and let you all know that Team WATSSUP are here if you need some hands on help! Our last 2 blogs have covered two quite technical methods of turning your board and we are continuing that theme now by giving you our 5 top tips on performing the cross bow stroke (also known as the reverse kahi).

The cross bow stroke can feel a little odd at first as it is essentially doing the opposite of what we naturally implement when stand up paddling. However, keep practicing and it will begin to feel like second nature and you will be able to utilise it as and when you need to. The crossbow stroke provides a tight, efficient turn without having to change position on your board or swap your hands over. So it’s great for making quick course adjustments whilst your board is in forward momentum.

  1. Hold your ground! To implement this stroke you need to twist your torso and shoulders to one side so that you can extend your reach to the water at the back of your board which is where you begin your cross bow stroke. Remember the entire movement comes from your upper body, you may feel as though you want to shift your feet to stabilise yourself but it is important that you hold your neutral SUPing position.
  2. Depth and control is key! Similarly to the backwards stroke and the C-turn, the key to executing the cross bow stroke is to apply a steady and controlled motion to your sweep. It is of equal importance that you get a good depth to the paddle to avoid the blade skipping out of the water.
  3. Start the sweep on the correct side. Remember since you are scooping the water forward from the back of the board to the nose, to turn right you begin the stroke on the right hand side and vice versa.
  4. Continue the sweep on the opposite side to where you started. Once you have bought the paddle to the nose of the board, you need to continue the sweep on the other side. If you can, get your paddle around the nose of your board without lifting it out of the water. If you aren’t able to then continue to your left side by bringing your paddle out of the water and over the top of your board and resubmerge on the other side and continue the sweep..
  5. Don’t adjust your hands! This is where it can get a little uncomfortable at first. Despite moving to the other side of your board during the cross bow stroke, you DON’T switch your hands over. This is to make the stroke quicker and also means we can repeat the stroke if necessary without having to reposition our hands.


Copy of Position your paddle 90 degrees away from your board and you will acheive a sideways movement. (1)


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