One of the most confusing aspects of stand up paddle boarding for beginners is which way round to hold your SUP paddle. Intuitively you’d be forgiven for thinking the angled paddle blade would face backwards, the blade facing you the paddler as you place it in the water. If you’ve ever held a kayak paddle, this is exactly what you’d expected. But, in fact, the opposite is true. Why?
A SUP paddle blade needs to be ‘reached’ forwards as far as possible, hence why the blade should angle towards your SUP’s nose. The angle that the blade makes with the paddle shaft is called the rake. This angle provides a more efficient stroke with the majority of your paddle power being generated in front of you. As you draw the paddle through the water the rake helps keep the blade vertical thereby making your stroke efficient. If it wasn’t angled then as you pulled through the stroke at the most critical point the blade would start pulling water upwards towards the surface and not helping drive your iSUP forwards. Blade rake allows the whole stroke to be pulled right through to in line with your hips before recovery (taking it out), and swinging it back towards the SUP board’s nose. Once there you begin again. Note: This also explains why you should also lift the paddle out of the water when the blade is parallel with your hips!
The following video from SUPBoarder Magazine demonstrates correct SUP paddle technique (including how to hold your SUP paddle) further –
To download a PDF version of this article hit the button below –
You can read more from the McConks SUP user guide by clicking the link below –
The following articles may also prove useful in your stand up paddle boarding journey –