Mastering the Basics: How to Hold a Paddle Board Paddle?

Mastering the Basics: How to Hold a Paddle Board Paddle?

Ever hit the water with your brand-new inflatable paddle board, only to realize you're the odd one out, paddling all wrong? Don't sweat it! Most of us, even the seasoned paddle boarders, have had those moments, holding the paddle board and paddling the wrong way. We've all been there, but fear not! With the right knowledge of understanding anatomy and techniques of how to hold a paddle board paddle, you'll be a pro in no time. Don't just paddle – paddle right with us!

Anatomy of a Paddle Board Paddle

Let's decode the essential parts of your paddle and how they impact your paddling experience, making it simpler to grasp how to hold the paddle board paddle.

  • Paddle Blade: Think of this as the paddle's engine. It dives into the water, propelling you ahead. Blade shapes vary; some are wide and flat, while others curve narrowly. An angled blade offers extra power and efficiency.
  • Paddle Shaft: The paddle's backbone connects the blade and grip. The choice impacts the paddle's weight and feel when made from diverse materials like aluminum, fiberglass, carbon fiber, or even wood. Some even offer adjustable lengths for customized height.
  • T-Grip: Positioned at the top, this grip is where your hand takes charge. Whether round, oval, or ergonomic, a good grip fits in your hand, ensuring stability and command.

Understanding your paddle's anatomy allows you to set the stage for a smoother, more thrilling paddle boarding experience.

Determining the Correct Paddle Length

The right paddle length is crucial for efficient and comfortable paddling. Your paddle's size can truly make a world of difference, which is influenced by factors like your height, board dimensions, and the paddling you prefer.

Typically, your paddle should tower 6 to 12 inches above you. To determine proper height, stand the paddle upright, with the blade planted on the ground. Stretch one arm skyward and see where it meets the paddle. Ideally, the T-grip should align comfortably with your wrist's curve.

For those finding or wielding suitable paddles, check out the various lengths of SUP paddles from iROCKER. Choose wisely, and happy paddling!

How to Hold a Paddle Board Paddle

how to hold a paddle board paddle

The way you hold your paddle influences your balance, direction, and momentum on the water. Let's break it down to ensure you're paddling at your best.

The Top Hand Grip

Your top hand should firmly hold the T-grip atop the paddle. Ensure your hand centers over the grip, neither leaning too forward nor too back. Embrace a sturdy yet relaxed grip; no need to tense up or twist your wrist.

The Bottom Hand Grip

The bottom hand should be placed on the paddle shaft; keep your hands where they are not too close or too far apart. A pro tip? Elevate the paddle overhead, aligning it with your shoulders, then rest its shaft on your head. Aim to create a 90-degree bend in both elbows. This stance will guide you to the perfect grip distance.

Paddle Blade Orientation

The blade should be oriented forward from the shaft, pointing towards your board's nose. This strategic positioning ensures that with each stroke, you're harnessing the maximum power of the water to propel forward. The side of the blade that faces back at you is called the power face because it is the side that pushes against the water.

Switching Paddle Sides

For an effortless glide on the water, it's good to switch your paddle from one side to the other now and then. It's easy! Just follow these steps:

  • After you paddle on one side, lift the hand holding the top of the paddle (the T-grip).
  • Move your other hand up to where the top hand was.
  • Turn your wrist to flip the paddle around.
  • Put your lifted hand lower on the stick.
  • Now, paddle on the other side.

Just keep doing these steps when you want to change sides!

Common Paddling Techniques

common paddling techniques

Understanding the proper paddling techniques can enhance your paddleboarding experience, making it smoother and more enjoyable. Let's bring these techniques to light:

Forward Stroke

The forward stroke is the primary technique for moving ahead.

  • Start by reaching out with your paddle and placing the blade into the water close to your board's front.
  • Gently pull the paddle towards you, sliding it alongside your board.
  • Once the paddle gets near your feet, lift it, swing it forward, and you're ready to dip it in again!

For an even ride, alternate this action between the left and right sides of the board.

Reverse Stroke

As the name suggests, the reverse stroke acts as your board's braking system–moving you backward.

  • Instead of reaching forward, you'll want to start at the back end of your board. Dip your paddle in the water near the board's tail.
  • Push your paddle forward towards the board's front, moving it close to the side of your board.
  • When your paddle nears the board's nose, lift it up, swing it back, and you're all set to repeat!

Just as with the forward version, it's wise to switch sides to maintain balance and direction frequently.

Side Draw

side draw

The Side Draw comes to the rescue when you want to glide sideways, maybe to dodge an obstacle or align better with a dock. Here's how to nail it:

  • Face the direction you wish to move.
  • Extend your paddle about a foot from the board's side and push the blade into the water, keeping it at 90 degrees.
  • Pull the blade towards the board, making it slide in that direction.
  • Once you've shifted enough, lift the paddle out.

This technique provides precise lateral movement, giving you added control over your board's positioning.

Sweep Stroke

Turning your board smoothly is achieved with the Sweep Stroke.

  • Stand centered on your board, looking straight ahead.
  • Reach out with your paddle and place the blade into the water, slightly away from the board.
  • Guide the blade in a broad, sweeping motion towards the board's rear, keeping it near the water's surface.
  • Lift the blade once your turn is complete.

The Sweep Stroke allows you to adjust or change your direction seamlessly while on the water.

Cross Bow Stroke

cross bow stroke

Navigating sharp turns on your board is a breeze with the Cross Bow Stroke.

  • Stand on your board and look straight ahead.
  • Reach your paddle over to the opposite side of where you're standing.
  • Put the blade into the water near the front of your board.
  • Gently pull the paddle towards your feet in a sweeping motion.
  • Once done, lift the paddle out of the water. Use this move whenever you need a quick change in direction.

This technique is your go-to for swift directional changes.

Mastering techniques from the forward stroke to the cross bow stroke is pivotal for a journey that brings joy and memories. With the right grip and techniques, the water becomes a canvas for your adventures. So, as you refine your skills, constantly revisit the basics of how to hold your paddle board paddle—it's the starting point for every great journey on the water.

Paddle Onward with Confidence

Mastering the waters confidently begins with understanding how to hold a paddle board paddle. With this foundational skill in hand, the waters become a playground waiting for your next moves of smoother rides and exhilarating adventures. Remember, the quality of your equipment can make or break your experience. Thinking of leveling up your paddle game or just hungry for more insights? Swing by iROCKER; it's where every SUP enthusiast finds their stride!

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