Nobody is a pro at the beginning of any sport, be it a relay race or paddle boarding. I was bad at the start of both. There is always a different yet important technique for any activity you do. The art is to learn that and enjoy the rest.
Holding a SUP (stand-up) paddle is easy. Just keep the paddle blade leaning forward. Sounds like effortless work? Not really – technique is the real deal. For a smooth trip, make sure your hand positioning, proper paddle length, and great alignment are all in place.
You have to be focused enough to reach the point you aim for, so stick your eyes to it. I will stick my eyes to the price you will get. We are going to share it, right?
Making a solid connection with the paddle is the best you can do for yourself and the paddle boards. Having a powerful stroke in the waves is a treat you do not want to miss. But for that, let us go through the parts of the SUP paddle.
Parts of a Stand-Up Paddle Boarding Paddle
Every SUP paddle can have a different length, weight, and size. But all of them have the same key features that help make the structure of the stand-up paddle. To paddle faster, you need to understand the basic mechanism by which it is made.
T-Bar Grip (the holder)
The T-bar grips in the sup paddle are made for holding the stick. It is the top of the paddle, designed in a T-shape that makes it comfortable for the hand to grab.
The paddle shaft is just below the T-bar grip and is used to set down the other hand. It is the main cylindrical body of the paddle.
It is the part that connects the shaft with the blade and starts to broaden in size.
This is your weapon against the water. Part of the paddle that will move your board forward. It is a flat and wide surface that pulls you through the water.
How Beginners Hold a Paddle Board Paddle
There is always a first time for everything. As a paddle boarder beginner, the mistake that one could make is;
Holding the SUP paddle backward
The most common mistake a beginner can make when paddling is grasping a sup paddle blade facing or bent backward (towards the body). This will lead you the wrong way. By doing so, the blade will work in a different manner, and you will definitely be messing up its mechanism.
Instead of putting pressure on the water by leaving splashes behind, it will put pressure on the sup paddle itself. For a forward movement with force, you have to hold a sup paddle in the right manner.
The slight tilt right after the shaft is a clear idea of how you should hold the paddle. The bent blade should be facing away from you. We all want a classy stroke with every try, don’t we?
There is a grip on the top of the paddle for you to hold it. Make sure your hand sits well on that spot. Also, for beginners, you can place a sticker on the part that is supposed to be on the outer side. This way, it will be easy for you to manage the setting.
Holding your hands too close together
Many beginners make the mistake of holding the paddle with hands too close to each other. However, holding the sup paddle is not just about that; it is about correct handling and positioning.
To give decent leverage, place your bottom hand between the blade and the t-grip. When you make the sides exchange, place the hands on the same ends.
Paddling at an angle
Now, this is a very common practice amongst beginners. They paddle by making their elbow bent. This eventually makes an angle for their blade and forbids their board to move forward. No, my friend, that is the wrong way.
The placement of your top arm should be extended across the chest. This will help the paddle, and the blade stand vertically in their ideal position.
How to Assemble Your Paddle.
To learn how to assemble the paddle correctly, watch the video below.
SUP Paddle Direction: Blade Angle
Here we will talk about the blade angle that a SUP paddle has. Everything designed in equipment always has a purpose. Similarly, the blade has the most important task in a sup paddle.
If the angle of the blade is a little bent, it does not fall straight from the shaft. This bent blade helps your board move forward by forcing the water behind. Keep in mind to grip the paddle smoothly in order to attain the thrust.
To have that perfect grip, you need to hold the paddle correctly; the expertise of the blade can go to waste if you hold it in a backward position.
The tip of the blade should be tilted away from you. Make sure your paddle is positioned upright; that way, you can see the blade’s face.
Your paddle should be able to move you forward if you hold it correctly.
Gripping your SUP Paddle Handle and Shaft
You cannot just grab the paddle and the paddle board and dive straight into the water. You need to know the right way to hold the paddle handle and the shaft. Distance and position play an important role in gripping your sup paddle.
Distance between the hands
For an excellent grip over the paddle, both your hands should hold the handle and the shaft at a measured distance. But who will decide the appropriate distance and proper hand position? Not a difficult task. We’ve got you covered.
Hold the paddle by keeping one hand on the T grip and the other on the shaft. Now lift the paddle on top of your head in line with your shoulder. Both hands should be perpendicular to your elbow. The width should be wider than your shoulders.
For further assurance, you can rest the center point of your two hands on the top of your head. Just be sure to have a distance wider than your shoulder width. This will make your distance leveled, giving you a stronger grip on your paddle.
Positioning of the hands
Maintain a light grip around the handle as you use your paddle. Sides have a crucial role in deciding which hand goes where. Position your hands on the paddle this way:
If you are paddling on your right side, your right hand should hold the shaft (lower placement), and your left hand should hold the grip of the sup paddle (upper placement)
If you are paddling on the left side, your left hand should hold the shaft (lower placement), and your right hand should hold the grip of the paddle (upper placement)
More Paddle-Holding Tips
Here are some extra tips to keep you fully informed. I needed these, so I thought of sharing them with you.
Nobody talks about paddle height, but this is as important as anything else. If you want a fixed height (length), make sure it is perfect for you before buying. Ideally, the paddle length should be 8 to 10 inches higher than your height.
There are adjustable paddles available for people who desire to change the length. These paddles have a ‘scale’ that helps adjust their length. The scale will have measurements marked for you to make changes accordingly.
Most of the strength during paddling comes from the core first and then your arms, shoulders, back, and legs. So, focus on your core muscles as you move your sup paddle.
For a proper SUP stance, it is essential to have your feet in a parallel position with an approximate gap of a hip-width between, followed by centrally aligning them to the edge of the stand-up paddle board.
Your back should be straight, knees slightly bent just enough to create the perfect angle and help your toes point forward. Don’t bend or lean forward, and don’t be stiff
In order to maintain a healthy posture and avoid injury, you must maintain an upright position (stand straight) for the upper half of the body. Let your lower half manage the weight shift in sync with your hips.
Facts to Remember!
Paddle boarding is fun. You just need to master the technique for it (whether you use ocean paddle boards or any other type). You should be able to read the sup paddle before you use it. How you stand on the paddle board is as important as using the paddle.
It is natural to feel you are not on top of your game in the beginning. So if you miss that amazing stroke, do not worry. Practice is the key. Also, paddle boarders are a class apart anyway.
Build up your core muscles. Reason? They do half of the work for you. That is the area that generates the most power. Just remember; enough power on the paddle will help you pull the water splash behind.
Reach forward and put your paddle blade in the water – be sure of that stroke! Just be efficient enough to understand what you are doing.
Those vibes, my friend, are the best you could get!