5 Stand-Up Paddle Boarding Tips

Want to improve at SUP? Read our guide full of expert tips on developing your stand-up paddle boarding techniques. Find more insider advice at Decathlon.

5 Stand-Up Paddle Boarding Tips

Now that you’ve gained your feet and mastered the basics, it’s time to work on improving your technique. Advancing your stand-up paddle board practice not only keeps things fresh but also builds your stamina and ability so you can tackle tougher waters. Check out our handy insider tips on five ways to improve at stand up paddle boarding.

Tip #1: Paddling Technique

Most intermediate stand-up paddle boarders still need to progress their paddling techniques. Once you feel confident on the water, it’s important to analyze your movements to identify any ways you might improve for a more efficient stroke.
Also, consider whether your position is correct and if you have enough extension. When your paddle enters the water, lean forward and pivot your hips with your shoulder in front of your paddling arm. At this point, the top of the paddle should be vertical in the water.

You can now pull the paddle back (like a lever) so that it moves in front of your face. The paddle should be at its maximum depth in the water when it gets to the middle of your board. Perfecting your positioning increases the efficiency of your strokes and helps propel you through the water.

Pro Tip: Make sure that your paddle cuts gently into the water. You want to try to avoid any splashing.

Tip #2: Build Muscle Strength

Like any sports activity, building core muscle strength will improve your overall performance. Even on wet or cold days, when you might not be going out in the water, you can practice at home.
Exercises like the front plank, single-arm pulls, warrior 3 and squats can keep you strong, healthy and ready for sunny days. You can even use some of these exercises to warm-up before heading out onto the water or while on your board for an extra balance challenge.

Pro Tip: Check out our ‘Getting Back to Stand-Up Paddle Boarding After Winter’ article for more detailed exercise instructions.

Tip #3: Examine Your Posture

On a stand-up paddle board, your posture is everything. Having a good stance prevents injury and allows you to make more efficient strokes. You should try to avoid bending your back and instead keep it straight when moving or bending at the hips. One way to achieve a good posture is by looking straight ahead at eye-level rather than at your feet!

Tip #4: Challenge Your Balance

It’s easy to stay balanced on calm waters, but can you handle choppy or rough waters? Intermediate and advanced paddle boarders have the skills to stay balanced no matter what the weather throws at them.

You can practice your balance skills by taking your board out in windy weather or riding across boat wakes. To stay aboard, you’ll need to shift your weight from side-to-side so that your board doesn’t top over -- a workout you’ll really feel in your legs. Make sure to flex your knees a little more and spread your foot to stay balanced.

Pro Tip: Placing more of your weight towards the back of your board, so that the front partially lifts out of the water, will make it a bit easier to stay in control when riding in rough weather.

Tip #5: Stand-Up Paddle Board Equipment

If you don’t already own stand-up paddle board equipment, now is the time to invest. Improper equipment often leads to a bad experience and makes it hard to progress. You’ll need a paddle, board, buoyancy and paddle. Retailers and water sports shops, like Decathlon, can make sure you get equipment that’s suited to your skill level and body.

Explore Our Playbook