Paddleboarding is an amazing pastime, but it can be exhausting on your body if your technique is not up to scratch. Making small changes to your paddleboarding technique will allow you to become more confident on the water and will not take much effort. We have decided to share our top tips on how to improve your paddleboarding technique below, with further information on how to improve your paddleboard stroke. Let’s take a closer look.
How To Improve Your Paddleboarding Technique In Three Steps
The best way to improve your paddleboarding technique is to work on your stance when on the board. The correct stance will allow you to balance well and control the movement of your paddleboard more easily. There are three main things to look out for when perfecting your paddleboard stance – foot placement, posture and hold.
Step 1 – Correct Foot Placement
Foot placement is one of the features that will make or break your paddleboarding technique. One of the most common mistakes that paddleboarders make is not standing on the correct part of the board. This can lead to issues with balance and can make the paddleboard more difficult to control. To improve, try to ensure that you are not standing too far forward or backwards on the board.
Instead, try and find the middle point of your paddleboard, halfway between the front and back. An easy way to spot where this is on your particular board is to find the carry handle and stand in line with this, as this is usually at the halfway point.
As well as being in the centre of the board, your feet should not be together. Instead, they should have a gap between them so they are around shoulder-width apart. They should be facing slightly outwards (by about 10-15 degrees), away from each other. To further support your balance, your weight should be evenly placed between both feet to avoid tipping the paddleboard to one side.
The only time you may move further back behind this marker is if you are sharing the paddleboard with someone else, as you will need to balance the weight of two people across the surface of the board.
Step 2 – Correct Paddleboard Posture
Once you are on the board and your feet are in the correct position, it is important to also keep an eye on your posture. This is because poor posture can lead to difficulty balancing on the paddleboard for an extended amount of time, and it can lead to strain on your joints. Hunching your back can lead to back strain, and your knees bending too much can lead to instability.
Good posture on your paddleboard means that your knees are slightly bent over your feet, but not so much so that you can no longer see your toes when looking down. Your knees should stay directly over your feet rather than pulling together or moving apart. Your back should stay straight at all times, with your core engaged for increased stability. When paddleboarding, you should always look forwards instead of down, so as to not lose your balance. A great way to do this is by always looking out towards the horizon in the direction you’re travelling.
Step 3 - Proper Hold
Finally, the way that you hold your paddle itself can also lead to discomfort, causing muscle soreness in your arms and shoulders. To try and avoid this, meaning that you can stay on the water for longer, make sure that you are bending the blade of the paddle away from you when you are using it. This will help as it means that the blade is at its most hydrodynamic point, making it easier to move it through the water, causing less pressure on your body. Many paddles will have a logo on the blade that can help you remember this – generally, the logo should face forwards and away from you.
How To Improve Your Paddleboard Stroke
Once you have mastered how to stand on the board and hold the paddle correctly, it is also important to work on your paddleboard stroke technique. This will allow you to move through the water more effortlessly, making your paddleboarding a lot easier.
Step 1 – Dip
When first putting your paddle into the water, it is important to keep your balance by locking your core, keeping your back straight and leaning slightly forward until the blade of the paddleboard is in the water. It is important to check that the entire blade is underwater, as this gives your stroke more power. Your paddle shaft should be kept close to the paddleboard and should be at a right angle to the water, as this leads to a more controlled, powerful stroke.
Step 2 – Add Some Power
To add some more power into the stroke, meaning that you move through the water more easily, pull the paddle towards the back of the board while keeping your core muscles tight. Your arms should stay straight while your body and shoulders rotate slightly to move the paddle. This should be done in one swift movement.
Step 3 –Release And Move
Once you have completed the stroke, the blade of your paddle should come out of the water. This stage is known as the release. After the blade is out of the water, move it smoothly back to the front of the board to complete the movement again. When moving the paddle, ensure that you keep your knees bent slightly and tighten your core to help with the balance.
The Take Away
By making small changes to your paddleboarding technique, you should find it easier to move through the water and should feel less pressure on your body. Try practising the advice listed above on flat water in good conditions to help build your confidence. The key is to improve your posture on the board. After you have mastered this, everything will fall into place, and you can enjoy paddleboarding through the water, no matter where you are in the world.