Once you’ve learned how to actually stand up on a SUP board, you need to know how to hold the paddle.
It sounds like a simple step, and it is, but it’s also one that you need to get right if you want to actually stay on the board.
Parts of a Paddle
Before we show you how to hold a SUP paddle, it’s important to know what you’re actually holding.
There are several parts to a paddle:
- The T-Bar Grip: The handle at the top of the paddle. It is shaped like a “T” and is designed to fit comfortably in your hand. After all, you’ll be holding it and moving it for a long time, so you need that ergonomic shape.
- The Paddle Shaft: The long shaft of the paddle. It composes the majority of the SUP paddle.
- The Throat: The area where the paddle meets the blade.
- The Blade: The wide part at the bottom of the paddle. Often shaped like a tear-drop, the blade is attached at an angle.
- The Tip: The end of the paddle blade.
The exact shape, features, and style can vary.
The paddle blade angle, for instance, usually varies and will have a big impact on how the paddle feels as it moves through the water.
Why Are SUP Paddles Angled?
The SUP paddle is angled to create thrust.
It forces the water down and this pushes the board up, reducing friction and allowing the stand up paddle board to cruise through the water.
How to Hold a SUP Paddle
The correct way to hold a SUP paddle is so that the blade is angled away from you.
It means that the tip is ahead of the shaft.
If you draw a straight line from the tip (the very bottom of the paddle blade) then that line will appear in front of the paddle.
As far as the grip is concerned, one hand should be on the T-handle while the other should be on the shaft.
To know if you are holding the paddle correctly, simply grip it with both hands and hold it above your head.
If they are in the right position, your elbows should be at a 90-degree angle.
You’re trying to look like a goal post as opposed to the letter “Y”.
If you are paddling on your left side, then your left hand should be holding the shaft while your right hand grips the handle.
It may sound like a trivial thing, but if you try using that hand position while paddling on the right, you’ll understand what a difference it makes.
Paddling on a Stand Up Paddle Board
Getting a grip on that SUP paddle is a simple but important step.
The only way to know if you are doing it correctly is to grab your board, pick up your paddle, and hit the water.
As the saying goes, “practice makes perfect!”
Remember, hold the paddle correctly, point the blade away from you, and check out our other guides on how to ride a stand up paddle board if you need more info.