SUP Power Stroke Techniques for All Ages: The Ultimate Guide

Bonding with nature has never been more fun than when it is done through paddleboarding. Day by day, this watersport is rising in popularity. Therefore, new techniques are being developed to make the sport more efficient.

In this article, we are going to take a look at the best SUP power stroke techniques. We will discuss the two stages of the power stroke and their sub-stages. Furthermore, we will go over the possible ways to improve them.

At a glance, the two stages and their sub-stages include,

Power Stroke Stance

  • Look forward
  • Grip the paddle properly
  • Keep a straight back
  • Paddle in a vertical line
  • Engage the core

Power Stroke Steps

  • Reaching out towards the board nose
  • Catching water with the blade
  • Power delivery
  • Exiting water
  • Recovery


What Stance To Take For The Best Power Stroke

Look forward

Keeping the head up and looking forward is the best way to maintain balance while having high visibility. It is the very first requirement for power stroke body positioning.

In addition, it will help in keeping track of the rising, falling speed and the course ahead.

Grip the paddle properly

For efficient paddling, place one hand at the top of the paddle shaft while the other hand grips the middle part. The hand placed on top should relax. The other hand should have a solid, flexible grip.

A paddler can hold the paddle above the head and place both hands at a comfortable angle to find the best grip.

Keep a straight back

A straight back will help increase the overall control of the paddle. With this stance, the SUPer can apply the torso weight for more powerful strokes.

It may also help in preventing possible neck pain, injuries.

Paddle in a vertical line

Stacking the hands on top of each other would allow for vertical paddling. In this way, less strength is lost with each stroke.

It is also easier to pick and keep up rhythm through this.

Engage the core

The most important aspect of the power stroke stance is the core. Focusing the torso muscles or the entire body is better than just depending on the arm muscle groups.

Slightly twist the upper body to engage bigger core muscles and the bodyweight to deliver more power to the paddle strokes.

The Most Efficient Power Stroke Steps

Reaching out towards the board nose

With the paddle, reach out as far as possible towards the SUPs nose. A longer reach will deliver better momentum to each stroke. Also, aiming for an area parallel to the board’s nose will aid in keeping the strokes even.

It is essential to keep balance. Therefore, it is recommended to reach out only as far as the paddler can maintain balance.

Catching water with the blade

Submerging the entire paddle blade in water generates the best impact. When the oar catches a more significant volume of water, the stroke gains more power.

Depending on the material, weight, and shape of the paddle blade, it may require a bit of practice to catch the ideal amount of water.

Power delivery

Simply ripping through the water with the paddle is inefficient. Instead, a relaxed top grip and a solid mid grip allow for the arm muscles to work in tandem with the bigger muscles of the body to produce better paddle strokes.

The general idea is to bring the body to a secure paddle instead of just cutting water with it. The hand on top of the paddle will secure the direction and stability while adding body weight. The other hand placed on the middle of the paddle shaft will pull using the body muscles.

Bending the upper body and the knees slightly will give more power to the strokes when needed. However, it can be exhausting to hold such a pace for a long time.

For more details on paddleboarding speed, take a look at “How Fast Can You Paddle Board?

Exiting water

Splashing when exiting the paddle from water is a sign of wasted energy. Or, ending the stroke too early is also wasteful. A smoother, complete exit makes for a more robust paddle rate.

It is better to twist the paddle blade slightly when nearing the exit phase. This way, the paddle will come out of the water without much resistance and won’t splash water.

Usually, it is good to exit the stroke when the elbow reaches the torso. But for better precision, the exit can be done when the hand holding the middle part of the paddle shaft is parallel to the thigh.

Recovery phase

The core of the power stroke technique is the recovery phase. Here, the paddle is out of the water, and the preparations for the next stroke take place.

Recovery is the phase where the paddler breathes and relaxes. A good breath is what delivers more oxygen to the body. This oxygen, in turn, burns and produces the strength needed for the next power stroke.

It is the best phase to set the flow. Uttering a short mantra can help keep up the rhythm. It is also an excellent time to aim for the set reach.

Summing Up

The benefits of efficient power strokes are not limited to paddleboarding speed and balance. It also aids in developing a healthy lifestyle and improves mental capabilities.

Keeping a good stance while paddling improves the biomechanical functions of the body. With time, the body instinctively becomes better balanced.

The power stroke phases engage the muscles of the entire body. Therefore, it is a full-body workout. It is specifically an excellent way to keep the core engaged.

Rhythmic power strokes make it easy to bond with the environment. While paddling, the SUPer is immersed in nature. It clams down the mind and reduces stress.

Overall, the SUP Powerstroke techniques elevate the sport of paddleboarding to newer heights.

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