Stand Up Paddleboarding, also known as SUP, is one of the fastest-growing water sports out there. It is essentially a combination of surfing and kayaking and involves standing on a surfboard and propelling yourself via a paddle.
Aside from being extremely fun to do, paddleboarding also provides you with one of the best full-body workouts. Stand Up Paddleboarding, which we will hereafter refer to as SUP, can burn more calories in one hour than the majority of other sports.
This is due to the combination of balance, strength, core, and endurance that is required to paddleboard. Whether you are racing, surfing, or paddling recreationally, you are bound to get in shape faster than you can say SUP. Here we take a look at how to hold a paddle board paddle so you can get started.
Many beginner paddleboarders tend to hold the paddle the wrong way round, and all experienced paddlers have a good laugh when you do. Don’t let it get to you, though - we have all been there.
One of the main reasons we go wrong when holding a paddle is because of the way we stand up for the first time. Most folks usually start on their knees, holding the paddle by its shaft, closer to the blade.
What happens is we attempt to paddle far out in front of ourselves, which is actually correct, but we do not realize that the blade is at an odd angle, and should be facing the other way. This is because we’re still on our knees, and we can’t feel that our grip on the handle is incorrect, which makes the paddle face the wrong way.
Once you start to move your feet and get the hang of standing, your mistake becomes quite apparent. The paddle will feel strange, and you’ll notice that the blade actually does work better facing the opposite way you would assume it should face.
When you are finally standing properly, you’ll be able to see the way the blade tracks through the water, and how it is vertical when you put most of our power into it. You also promote better technique when using your core, and you also angle the shaft more when doing so.
One thing you’ll also notice when holding the paddle correctly is that the blade does not flutter. Fluttering is when the blade sways from side to side or shakes as we move it through the water.
It is extremely hindering to the transfer of power and can become very fatiguing to the arms and shoulders, sometimes even causing injury or pain.
Most novice paddleboarders make one of two mistakes when holding their paddles - they either hold the paddle backward or have their hands too close together on the shaft. They can’t be blamed for these mistakes, though, as everyone makes them when they start, and it seems only logical to have the blade bent backward.
As we have discussed above, holding a paddle with the blade facing backward puts you in a very inefficient position. You basically end up pulling up on the water, which creates more drag on your board, rather than pulling straight behind you, providing much more forward momentum and force.
Interestingly, it seems that the majority of grips found on paddleboard paddles are shaped to fit comfortably with the curve of our hands so that the joints of our fingers wrap around the curved part. Gripping the paddle this way ensures that it is automatically bent forward in the proper position.
Another of the most common errors that novice paddleboarders make is that they hold the paddle with their hands too close together. This is generally because most beginners tend to stand straight up when paddleboarding.
Paddleboarding works best when your knees are bent slightly, which makes it feel more natural to move your lower arm down the length of the paddle. This also provides more powerful strokes and more energy efficiency.
Paddleboarding is a unique activity that engages your entire body, and as such, has some great benefits along with being fun to do. Here are a few of the many benefits that paddleboarding provides.
One of the greatest advantages that any outdoor activity has - not only paddleboarding - is that they get you outside. We’re so often stuck at home doing nothing or sitting behind our desks at work that we fall into an unhealthy routine.
Being outdoors and on your feet helps stimulate your mind and body, with the added benefit of seeing some beautiful sights.
Water has a sort of innate calming and sedative nature that can be a great stress reliever. While paddleboarding is a great full-body workout, it does not have to be.
It can also be extremely relaxing as you gently paddle across a body of water and take in the sights around you, listening to the water flowing and trickling, the animals communicating with one another, and the wind in your hair and face.
Paddleboarding is an activity that, by its very nature, requires balance. Thus, it is an excellent way to improve your balance while also working on your leg and core strength.
Not many people know that paddleboarding can be a great way to lower your risk of experiencing a stroke. This is thanks to the similarities between paddleboarding and other sports like running and aerobics, which improve cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of heart-related diseases.
Your entire body is engaged when paddleboarding, meaning that you are exercising your back, arms, shoulders, legs, torso, and core when doing so. Your body works hard to maintain balance when on a paddleboard, which in itself is a full-body workout.
Then, when you paddle, your arms, shoulders, back, and core are engaged, while your legs work to maintain balance. Believe it or not, falling off the paddleboard can be beneficial as well, as you will need to engage your entire body to climb back on and regain balance.
I suppose you could say I came to surfing later than most. I didn't grow up by the water, but after years working the 9-5 grind I felt its draw and decided it was time to lead a slower life. These days I try and spend time in the water every day and consider the ocean as my living room: a place to relax, have fun, and just enjoy life.