Flat water SUP freestyle – improving your stand up paddle boarding skills in a fun way.

SUP freestyle’s definitely a thing. And you don’t need waves, moving river water or any other kind of conditions to do it. A millpond flat puddle will do just nicely (as long as you’ve got fin clearance!). If you want to improve your stand up paddle board game then ‘messing about’ and dabbling with a few SUP tricks will certainly help. Here’re a few ideas to get you started – with a bit of creativity who knows what moves you may come up with.

Pivot 360

Starting things off simply if you can already pivot turn 180 degrees then keeping it going to perform a 360 is the next step. The wider and more powerful your sweep stroke, combined with a high riding nose of your board, will see the spin happen faster. A 540 is then the next challenge.

One footed paddling

This isn’t as hard as it looks because you have your SUP paddle which acts as a sort of crutch. The tricky part is recovering your paddle for the next stroke and remaining balanced. Keep your head up and eyes forward to avoid dunkings.

Paddling backwards/fin first

If you can paddle it forwards why not pilot your SUP backwards? The nose will be a bit slippy, due to not having any deck grip there, but it’s more than doable and looks cool to boot.

Paddling your SUP upside down

There’s absolutely no functionality with this one. It’s simply something that’ll make you laugh – perhaps others too! Turning your stand up paddle board upside down and paddling it fin up isn’t especially hard, although you’ll need to be aware there’s no grip on the hull and it can get quite slippy. There are a few ways to get your board flipped. You can get in the water next to your iSUP and rock it over, or for those who really love a challenge, try paddling it and then almost performing a kickflip whereby you weight a rail and turn it upside down with you managing to land on the hull without taking a dunking. This is pretty hard and likely to get you wet!

Nose sink pivot turn

This one’s a more advanced version of the usual pivot turn, as performed by Ninja Nathan – one of the SUP instructors at Waterland Outdoor Activities. Rather than pivoting from the tail you sink the nose and pivot from there. It’s a slightly trickier move as there’s no fin to provide lateral resistance. It’s a bit like a pop shuvit skateboard trick, but done on flat water with no air time, obviously. It’s no less a crowd pleaser though!


Be sure to let us see your SUP freestyle pics and tell us what moves of choice you favour.

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