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Master Your Paddleboarding Technique

Master your stance, perfecting your stroke and avoiding common mistakes with our paddling tips below. We’ll show you how to have a more powerful and efficient paddling stroke.

Table of Contents

Mastering Your Stance

When it comes to paddle boarding, mastering your stance is key. It’s the foundation of a successful and enjoyable experience.

To ensure a successful and enjoyable paddle boarding experience, it is important to master your stance – here are some tips for doing so.

Foot Placement

Place your feet shoulder-width apart with the toes pointing slightly outward.

Make sure to keep your knees bent as well, this will help you maintain balance and control while paddling.

Distribute weight evenly across both feet.

Paddleboarding Technique


Keep your back straight and shoulders relaxed. Good posture will allow for freedom of movement without sacrificing power or stability on the board.


Getting used to staying balanced on a paddle board can take time, so don’t be put off if you go for the odd swim! The more time you spend on the board the more you will naturally get used to balancing on it.

I found that my balance improved the most when I was playing around in the sea, jumping off the board and having fun!

Holding Your Paddle

Check out our quick YouTube guide on how to hold your paddle boarding paddle…

Have a look at our YouTube Channel for more How To Videos!

Hold the paddle in one hand upright with the end planted on the ground – and the blade pointed straight in the air. Reach up with the other hand and adjust the paddle blade so that the tip fits into your cupped fingers – this is the optimal length for your body height.

Perfecting Your Stroke

When it comes to perfecting your paddle stroke, the key is understanding the three stages: The Dip, The Power Phase, and The Release & Transition.

The Dip – at the start of each stroke reach forward and place your paddle into the water. Extended your arms and engage your core.

Keep the paddle vertical and close to the board, this will help to keep the board moving in a straight line.

Paddleboarding Technique - The Dip
Paddleboarding Technique - Power Phase

The Power Phase – engage your core, legs and back muscles and focus on pulling yourself and the board towards the paddle.

Keep the paddle vertical as you move through the length of the stroke.

Finish the Power Phase level with your feet.

Release & Transition – when the paddle reaches your feet straighten your body and lift the paddle out of the water.

Stretch forward and prepare for the start of the Dip.

Paddleboarding Technique - Release and Transition

Good paddleboarding technique will save energy and reduce your risk of injury. Take some time to practice drills such as alternating strokes or doing short sprint intervals so that you can get comfortable with proper form and build up strength in those key muscle groups mentioned earlier (core, legs, back).

Avoiding Common Mistakes

Many paddlers make the same mistakes when they first start out. Knowing how to avoid them will help you to improve your SUP technique and staying safe:

1. Not Paddling in a Straight Line – One of the biggest challenges when you start out is keeping your board moving straight. This can be especially difficult if you’re paddling against strong wind or current. To help, keep your paddle vertical and close to the board for the Power Phase. Check out this post on How to Paddle Board Straight for some more advanced tips like the C stroke.

2. Overdoing It – Many people want to jump right into long distance paddles without building up strength and endurance first. This can lead to fatigue, soreness, cramps or worse. Take it slow at first; practice shorter trips until you’ve built up enough stamina for longer ones later on down the road.

3. Improper Foot Placement – Where you place your feet on the board makes a big difference in stability and control while riding waves or navigating choppy waters. Make sure that both feet are evenly spaced apart from one another near the centreline of the board so that neither foot extends past its edge – this will help ensure proper balance throughout all manoeuvres.

4. Going Out Alone – While solo outings can be enjoyable, it’s always best practice to go out with someone else who knows what they’re doing (and has an extra set of eyes). That way if something goes wrong there’s someone there who can come to your aid quickly. Plus having a buddy means double fun.

No matter how brief or leisurely your voyage may be, always wear a PFD, sunscreen, hat and other necessary items – it’s better to be safe than sorry.

FAQs in Relation to Paddleboarding Technique

What are the psychological benefits of paddle boarding?

Paddle boarding offers a variety of psychological benefits. Paddle boarding provides a means of calming the mind, with its emphasis on mindful breathing and soothing relaxation. Paddle boarding can also help improve focus, clarity of thought, and concentration due to the need for balance while on the board. Additionally, paddle boarding can boost self-confidence as you learn new skills and become more proficient in your technique. Finally, paddling helps build resilience by teaching you how to adapt to different environments with grace and poise.

Should you bend your knees when paddle boarding?

Yes, it is important to bend your knees when paddle boarding. Keeping your knees bent while paddle boarding is essential for preserving equilibrium and steadiness, making it simpler to manage motions. Additionally, bending your knees allows you to move more efficiently through the water with each stroke of the paddle. Bending your waist can help in keeping you from toppling, as well as aid in lessening exhaustion of the arms and back. Finally, bending your knees can help you adjust to changing water conditions and improve your overall performance.

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