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How To Paddleboard Straight - Red's Easy Paddling Tips

Posted by Lydia Burdett

It can be tricky at first to get to grips with paddling straight forwards. A lot of novice paddlers end up zigzagging their way towards their destination when they’re starting out rather than going straight ahead. This is normally explained by poor technique. In this blog post, we’ll share some of our top tips for how to paddleboard straight and improve your paddle board technique to get you paddling like a pro in no time.

Stack your Hands

One of the most vital parts of your paddle board technique is mastering how you use the paddle. When people find themselves struggling with how to paddleboard straight, their paddle board technique is the first thing we look at. Try thinking of your blade as a rudder - keep the paddle shaft completely vertical the moment it enters the water. You want to position both hands just outside of the edge of the board, with one hand stacked on top of the other on the shaft. Mastering this skill will allow you to avoid making poor strokes that come in at an angle which prevent your paddleboard from tracking straight ahead.

Properly Position your Paddle Stroke

Positioning is key when it comes down to learning how to paddleboard straight, particularly in how you position your stroke. If you’re finding yourself veering off course after committing to long strokes down the length of the board, then its time to change up your stroke technique. Here’s a tip for improving your paddle board technique: start your strokes at the head of the board, but don’t bring it back any further than your feet. Making strokes closer to the board fin is great for quick turns, but not for paddling straight. Paddling this way is also much easier on the shoulder.

Maintain Good Weight Distribution

Adapting your paddle board technique in this way may cause you to lean awkwardly to one side of the board at first, creating instability. With that in mind, it’s important to keep your weight distribution in mind when learning how to paddleboard straight. The following tips should be helpful in keeping your balance;

  • Bend your knees. This will allow you to distribute your weight more evenly and help you keep stable.

  • Turn your chest in the direction away from your paddle. Doing so will prevent you from putting too much force onto one side.

  • Keep yourself centralised on the board. Standing too far on one side will dramatically shift the balance of the board and prompt it into moving off to one side rather than straight ahead.

Look Where you Want to Go

Keeping sight of your destination may sound like it has little to do with improving your paddling technique, but it is well worth keeping in mind if you’re trying to learn how to paddleboard straight. Centering your vision on where you’re headed subconsciously positions your body in the right way to get you there. Many sports make use of a similar concept and SUP is no different. 

Ensure that you’re Using the Right Board

Your selection of board is an important choice for those looking to learn how to paddleboard straight. When practising your technique, an all-round SUP with with a rounded nose will offer more stability than a racing SUP designed for going fast. You probably won’t be winning any races, but you should be able to pick up straight paddling quite quickly before moving up to more advanced boards later on.

Those are out top tips to help you improve your paddle technique and master paddleboarding in a straight line. If you’ve got any queries or are in need of assistance, feel free to get in contact with the Red team for help today.