As you start any sport or activity, it is important to identify and practice basic skills to keep yourself injury free, having fun and progressing. This article will address four basic skills / techniques that will help every beginning SUP paddler be stronger, more stable and more efficient with proper paddle technique, body position and proper engagement of your core muscles.
Paddle Placement: No matter what the stoke always ensure the your paddle is fully immersed before exerting any force. The will ensure you get the most "bang for your buck" and will provide the most stability.
Stance: Always stand on the board with your feet about should width apart, knees bent with a straight back. Qucik tip: Your feet should be on either side of your carry handle to ensure your are standing in the midddle of the board. Keeping your knees bent and your feet relaxed will act to help you be much more stable. Bent knees act as shock absorbers and a straight back will help you use your larger more powerful core muscles.
Efficiency: It should always be your goal to use your core muscles to do most of the work. These muscles are larger and stronger than the tiny muscles in your arms. A common mistake by most new Stan Up Paddlers would be pulling the blade through the water with the arms. This causes most paddlers to tire quickly. When done properly you should feel a bit of a grunt in your stomach and a pull from your lats.
Calm Board: Try and keep your board from wiggling about when paddling. A wiggly board is less efficient. Engage your lower legs and feet to help keep the board flat. A calm Stand Up Paddle-Board is more efficient.