It was a hot day in August and I was gliding along with a group of SUP 101 students, when the faint echo of a couple yelling something from shore caught my attention. When I was close enough to hear, they repeated themselves, “Turn your paddles the other way!!” Since correct blade position is one of the first things I teach in my beginner class, I didn’t want my students to get confused. I turned back toward my group and with a smile I reassured them, “Don't worry. We’re doing it correctly.”
It’s a common enough mistake. If you’re picking up a SUP paddle for the first time, or watching someone from afar like our spectators, it may appear more natural to hold the paddle so that the angle of the blade is pointing toward you to “scoop” the water. When used this way, however, it pushes water up rather than behind you, creates drag and slows you down. Always hold the paddle so the blade is angled away from you (toward the nose of the board). In this position, the angle is designed to improve the "catch" – the entry of the paddle into the water at the very beginning of the stroke – grab the water, and provide lift and speed to the SUP as you paddle through the stroke. Also, most handles are designed to feel more comfortable when the blade is positioned correctly. Give it a try!
Want to know more? Join our popular SUP 101 classes and learn how to SUP properly the first time!