When it comes to sports, each sport has a fundamental move that you should master in order to excel at that sport. Basketball has the jump, baseball has the throw and swing, football is the push, and stand up paddle boarding has the forward stroke.
As a standup paddle boarder, you’re going to want to hone you technique and perfect it if you want to enjoy your time out on the water.
We have some great advice for a proper forward stroke that you should definitely try out the next time you go out on the water with your paddle board.
The key to a good forward stroke is relax and use your body as a shock absorber for the water. Stand on your body with your feet parallel to one another. Keep your legs bent slightly so that you can move with the board when you encounter any changes in the water, like choppiness or a change in current.
Paddling doesn’t necessarily mean that you are pulling your paddle through the water. Instead, you should think of paddling like you are bringing yourself to a stationary point (the paddle). Instead of relying on your arms for strength, you want to engage your core to pull yourself to the paddle, instead of pulling the paddle through the water to you.
To have a good forward stroke, you need to be able to get as much reach out of each stroke as you can. This means you’re going to have to use your entire body to reach forward, plunge your paddle into the water and pull yourself. The further you can extend your arms, the further you will be able to go.
Many people who are new to standup paddle boarding are my not be fully aware that you don’t want to make a splash when you put your paddle into the water. It should be an easy, smooth motion that creates very little splash.
As you are pulling yourself to the paddle, you want to be mindful of how far you are going before you pull the paddle out of the water for the next stroke. Try to not let the paddle go past your feet because this will cause your board to decelerate and you’re just wasting energy. Instead, pull out at your feet and use a swift motion to plant the paddle back into the water.
The next time you’re out on the water with your paddle board, try to keep our advice for a proper forward stroke in mind! Understanding the proper technique could make a big difference in how much you enjoy paddle boarding, and you can also help others learn, too.