Here's a few secrets to take your SUP power paddling to a buttery smooth stroke.
Stay loose.. knees bent, feet parallele to the rails of the board and from your shoulders down, your whole boady needs to be springlike.. your legs will need to be in constant motion.
Catch: ( the start of the stroke)
Place the paddle in the water, about 4 feet in front of your toes. The power phase of the stroke is from there to your toes - pull no further - IF YOU PULL PAST YOUR FEET YOU ACTUALLY GO SLOWER!. THAT'S RIGHT!! this is the biggest mistake new paddlers make, particulalry those who come from other paddling disciplines!
With such a long paddle, many beginners try to do it all with their arms. good SUP technique is about 90% body, 10% arms. Much like outrigger paddling, your reach and power comes from the twist of your body through the torso, shoulders, knees and hips -( that's why it's such a good workout)
With the paddle blade placed forward and anchored, you're pulling yourself through the water, while the blade remains stationary. Burying the blade fully in the water and keeping it close to the edge of the board helps too.
Once the blade reaches your toes, twisting the paddle away from your feet will allow the blade to exit cleanly and control the direction of the board. This "flick" helps smooth the end of the stroke and keep the board tracking without slowing it down. You can also shift your weight on the board ( we're staying springy, remember?) to turn. If I want to adjust the direction, I just put more pressure on one foot to dig the rail into the water. Presto!
Focussing on technique can make for a great workout as you learn this new sport. See you on the water!