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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Paddleboard Longer and Stronger | 5 SUP Paddle Techniques and Tips

By:  Jamie Jiron

SUP 1.jpg
Photo: Kyle Jiron
We have heard for years now how fat America is getting. Hence, the rise of the fitness trends that have been popping up ever since the invention of the dollar menu and one huge reason to over indulge is the high stress society that we are forced into. This is the beauty of paddleboarding. Not only does it address the need for working out, but it also gets you away from everything and out in the calm of whatever body of water your heart desires. Yet, one thing that I see all the time with people getting into the sport, is they can’t paddle long enough or understand how to get these full workout benefits that SUP addresses. 

Here are 5 common mistakes that I have seen that one can avoid easily so you can paddle further, longer and more consistently.

1.       Little Muscles - It is simple common sense, bigger muscles will fatigue slower than smaller ones. But, you know what is said about common sense… it isn’t too common. Use the muscles in your back to pull through with your stroke, not your biceps. You can simply achieve this by thinking about pulling your shoulder blades together when you finish your stroke. You will notice a total difference in power of your stroke as well!

SUP 2.jpg
Photo: Kyle Jiron

2.       Sexy 6 Pack - Everyone wants to have a 6 pack, your abdominals that is. Novice paddlers tend not to use their abs when pulling through their strokes. When extending out to begin to stroke take a big breath of air in, thinking about pushing your belly button outwards. This activates the core, as your stroke progresses exhale the air and you will feel the abdominal muscles contract inward.

3.       Rhythm - Just like running, when trying to use SUP for exercise you have to have a steady pace. Know how long and far you want to go and adjust your pace accordingly. Runners always speak of the high they get while on their run; the same thing happens when paddling for a distance. You will totally “zone in,” and won’t even think about the workout any longer, you'll just take in the scenery around you. I am a huge music person and use it to get in that zone. I have fallen in love with my Water Proof Case, because it allows me to bring Stoke Radio out with me onto the water.

4.       Flat Back - This is key and ties in with #2. You can’t paddle for an extended period of time if you look like a hunchback. Also, keeping the back flat is going to maintain good head position to be looking straight ahead and avoiding a nice little spill.

SUP 3.jpg
Photo: Kyle Jiron
5.       Avoid Waste - Any energy that you can conserve is going to be able to be used for a longer paddle. Many new paddlers will continue their stroke well past their feet on the board. This is not creating anything for you and is actually wasting muscle glycogen in your back muscles, causing them to fatigue quicker. You wouldn’t try to leap with every stride while running, so why do the equivalent here? Stop at your ankles with your stroke, and get something out of your workout!

A good workout should leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, wanting more! 

Life is stressful enough every day - there is no reason to bring that out with you onto the water. Remember the love that got you into Stand-Up and if you ever feel yourself forgetting why, just sit down on your board, let your feet dangle in the water and look around.

Stay Strong and Paddle On!