Mark your SUP Paddle to Maintain Correct Form

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A simple tip to help you keep your hands appropriately spaced apart while paddling

How good is your form? If you’ve ever taken a standup paddling lesson or clinic you’ve been taught to maintain a power triangle with your arms. This is easily accomplished on dry land when you’re not bobbing about on the water. Once you’re out paddling it is a different story. Fatigue and simple forgetfulness can set in over with time. You may notice your forearms tightening up – a sure sign you’ve been gripping your paddle to tightly. When this happens there’s a good chance you’re choked up too far on your paddle shaft.

A simple way to help you remember to keep your bottom hand in the correct position while standup paddling is to mark your paddle shaft. I picked up the idea from Brody Welte a few years ago. At the time Brody had some little stickers for your paddle shaft that marked the correct position for your lower hand. The sticker acts as a visual aid and you can also feel it with your fingers while paddling.

Marking your paddle

Finding your correct hand spacing is easy. Simply hold your standup paddle over your head and bend your elbows at a 90 degree angle. Mark the spot where your lower hand is and you’re all set.

I’ve adapted Brody’s concept and use a strip of electrical tape instead of a sticker. The nice thing about electrical tape is it creates a definitive rib you can easily feel with your fingers when sliding them down your paddle shaft. Electrical tape also comes in a variety of colors giving you the option to pimp your paddle with a bit of flair. I chose orange, my favorite color, and employed three stripes in a nod to Infinity and their #threestripesracing slogan.

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Cruising through the harbor on my Infinity Downtown.

Regardless of paddling discipline, your arms are merely levers connecting your paddle to your body. Keeping them appropriately spaced apart is a key component to maintaining proper form. Proper form requires less exertion and will also decrease the chance of injury.

Have fun and I’ll see you on the water!

Matt Chebatoris
About Matt Chebatoris 224 Articles
Matt is a former national security professional and lifelong adventurer. He has published material on a variety of topics in the foreign policy arena and created PaddleXaminer™ as a platform to share his enjoyment of paddling with others. When not on the water, Matt can be found hiking along rugged mountain trails in the California wilderness. Matt resides in Los Angeles and is a member of the Lanakila Outrigger Canoe Club in Redondo Beach, California.

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