Whilst I’ve been stand up paddling for years I’ve only recently started really focussing on increasing my speed. I attended my first SUP race a few weeks ago, which is a great way of getting in practise to improve your speed. So I thought I’d share some of what I’ve picked up along the way from some of Cornwall’s top paddlers.
In summary there are 2 key factors which impact your speed:
1. How many strokes you do, so quite simply more strokes = faster
2. How much you make each stroke count, so how far you travel with each one
4 Top Tips for more efficient paddling
1. Focus your effort
The first part of your stroke is the most effective, so reach forward more than initially comfortable to put your paddle in the water.
2. Paddle using your whole body
In order to put more power into your strokes use your whole body to push the blade into the water and to pull through the stroke. Engaging your upper body and shoulder when paddling makes all the difference.
3. Don’t loose time between paddles
The longer time you have between paddles the more momentum and speed you will loose. To reduce time lost between paddles pull the paddle out of the water at a 90 degree angle to the board, as this means you will encounter less water resistance. Also, do not pull the paddle out of the water too far back; bring the paddle straight back to the front of the board do not do a long wide detour.
4. Change paddling sides efficiently
This is also important for maintaining momentum. Paddling without changing side when it is not required is key and a good approach to moving the paddle to switch sides is to incorporate switching whilst you are moving the paddle from the back to the front of the board.