How to improve your Inflatable SUP experience
SUP Stance: To maintain your balance as you stand upright on your SUP
- Feet should be parallel, centered between the board edges.
- Keep toes pointed forward, knees bent and your back straight.
- The trick is to balance with your hips, not your upper body.
- Maintain head and shoulders steady and upright, shifting your weight by moving your hips.
- Keep your gaze level at the horizon and avoid staring at your feet.
- As your forward momentum increases, your stability increases as well.
Some tips about the basic stroke:
- If you’re paddling on the right, your right hand is lower and on the paddle shaft. Your top (left) hand is on the top of the grip.
- The elbow (angle) of the paddle faces away from you. This may look and feel weird at first.
- Keep your arms straight and twist from your torso as you paddle. Think of using your torso to paddle rather than your arms. Remember that you have more strength in your abdominal muscles than in your arms.
- Push down on the paddle grip with your top hand.
- Plant the paddle by pushing the blade all the way under the surface, pull it back to your ankle, then out of the water.
- At first, keep your strokes short and close alongside the board.
- To maintain a straight line, paddle about 4 or 5 strokes on one side, then switch to the other.
- Reverse hand positions when switching sides.
- Sidestroke: One way is to simply paddle on one side until the nose turns in the direction you want to go. Want to turn towards the right? Paddle on the left. Headed to the left? Paddle on the right. This will make a long arcing turn.
- Back paddle: A faster way to turn or reverse direction is to simply drag the paddle or paddle backwards on either side of the board.
- Sweep stroke: Plant your paddle towards the front of the board and take a long sweeping stroke away from the board and towards the tail. Your board will turn to the opposite side of the stroke.
- Stepping back on the board or looking over your shoulder to the direction of your turn also helps in making a turn.
- Another turn that works well, especially in surf, is to paddle on your dominant side (i.e., if you’re right-handed, put your left foot forward and paddle on your right side). Really bend your knees and put more weight on your back foot. This allows the board to pivot and turn quickly.
Falling from your inflatable SUP
Expect to take the occasional fall as you’re gaining skills. For those inevitable times you lose your balance:
- Aim yourself to the side, so that you fall into the water and not onto the board. Falling onto the board is more likely to cause an injury.
- If you get separated from your paddle and your board, get your board first, then paddle it to retrieve the paddle.
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