How to turn a stand up paddle ?
It is not difficult to know how to turn in a stand-up paddle once you understand the basics. After reading this article you will know the different techniques to make your turns with ease, whether you are on an inflatable or rigid paddle.
Prerequisites : how to balance on your paddle and how to paddle well ?
Before learning how to turn and turn around on a SUP, it is important to know how to balance on your paddle and how to paddle properly. To begin with, we advise you to practice on flat water without too much wind or current. The best position for maximum balance is to place your feet on either side of the carrying handle. Bend your knees slightly and keep your eyes straight. For more balance you can start on your knees. In order to be stable as quickly as possible, it is best to start paddling directly.
How to paddle a SUP ?
To start, place one hand on the end of the paddle and the other about halfway up the shaft. Be careful to hold your paddle the right way round, in other words with the angle towards the front. To paddle, simply dip the paddle far in front of you and bring it back towards you. Let it slide along the board, keeping your arms straight. When the blade of your paddle reaches your feet you can pull it out of the water and repeat the movement. The further you row away from your board on the sides, the more you will turn.
How do you turn and turn around on a stand-up paddle ?
The technique for turning around is pretty straightforward, whether you’re on an inflatable SUP or a rigid SUP. You just have to paddle on the opposite side to where you want to go. For example, if you want to go right, you’ll have to paddle left and vice versa. The further the arc you make with your paddle while rowing, the faster you will turn. To make a complete turn, you just have to repeat the operation several times.
This is not the only technique for turning in a stand-up paddle. Depending on your level of stand-up paddling and your board, you can use three different techniques to turn in SUP : the classic turn, the reverse turn and the surf turn.
1 - How to turn a stand-up paddle : the classic turn
As we explained earlier, the classic stand-up paddle turn is quite simple. It doesn’t matter whether you are on an inflatable SUP or a rigid SUP. Simply paddle to the opposite side of the water from where you want to go by drawing an arc in the water with your paddle. Repeat as many times as necessary.
To be more stable during this manoeuvre we advise you to bend your knees slightly and to keep your eyes straight, pointing in the direction you want to go. If you are not yet very comfortable, avoid looking at your paddle during the movement, as this may throw you off balance.
While this is the easiest technique, it is not suitable for touring paddles which are much larger and therefore take longer to turn. For touring or race SUPs, the following techniques are preferred.
2 - How to turn quickly in a paddle : the retropulsion turn
The second technique to turn and turn around in a stand-up paddle is the retropulsion. Behind this name, which may seem complicated, is a rather simple technique. This time you have to paddle from the side you want to turn but in the opposite direction, i.e. from the back of the board to the front. This way the front of your board will go towards where you want to turn. This is a technique very suitable for long race and touring boards such as the Alpha 12’6×31, Easy 12’6×32 or Girly 12’6×28.
3 - How to turn on a paddle for the more adept : the "surf" turn
This last technique is the most difficult to control, but it allows you to make quick turns and half-turns in an inflatable paddle or rigid paddle. This technique is used by competitors who need to turn quickly during a paddle race. To perform this turn you will need to move your feet back towards the back of the board, taking care to keep them in the centre line (see photo above). Once your feet are in position, shift your weight to your back foot and bend your front leg to put your paddle in the surf position. This position will create a rotation point at the fin. All you have to do is draw an arc with your paddle on the opposite side to where you want to go. To turn effectively you will need to send your paddle as far back as possible.
Once the turn has been made, simply return to your initial position with a light step, following the central axis of the paddle. Be careful, this is a very unstable technique, to keep your balance it is advisable to paddle throughout the manoeuvre.
Learn to paddle and progress quickly : the best boards
To progress easily and quickly it is essential to have a good paddle board. At Sroka we have been experts in designing inflatable paddles since 2013. We work hard to develop some of the best products on the market. Our goal is to allow everyone to benefit from the best equipment, at the best price/quality ratio.
Nature is our playground, which is why we make it a point to develop quality, ultra-strong and durable paddles that will limit the use of new resources.
If you have any questions about this, or any other request, please do not hesitate to contact us !