A version of this article in Japanese is available at the conclusion of the original text. The Japanese version is made possible through a partnership between SUP Examiner & Everything SUP Japan.

Paddling technique tip

Are you a paddler who is fit, but can never seem to keep pace with your friends and always finds yourself finishing a race further back in the pack than you’d like? In paddling sports, regardless of craft, proper paddling technique along with the ability to dissect and understand the components of your stroke will determine how efficiently you are able to paddle and by extension, have a direct impact on your ability to improve your speed and go faster. Professional coaches can spend hours analyzing and breaking down the various components of a paddling stroke. The process can often times be overwhelming and you may walk away wondering what to focus on first.

Throughout my experience learning from various coaches on stand up paddleboards and outrigger canoes one constant stands out regardless of the other nuances of the technique – a quick recovery. “Fast in the air, long in the water,” my outrigger coach will repeatedly call out during practice. The reason behind the philosophy is simple, paddles are intended to be placed in the water and pull your watercraft over the water’s surface. Sure, they look cool in the air when you are poised to execute a perfect catch, but by minimizing the amount of time your paddle is in the air during the recovery, the quicker you will be able to plant it back in the water and keep your hull speed up.

In stand up paddling, the second portion of the phrase “long in the water” may not always apply as you adjust your stroke to the conditions or activity and shorten or lengthen your stroke. Even under these circumstances, however, the less time your paddle is in the air better if your intention is forward progression across the water.

A Common Paddling Pitfall

Be sure you do not get too carried away and “rip” your paddle through the water by pulling too quickly – something I’ve been accused of doing on more than one occasion! Doing so will prevent your paddle’s blade from “locking” in the water and if this occurs, it will not matter how quickly your recovery is because the power phase is shot.

There are many other components to a proper paddling technique, but if you have the patience and are able to take the time to focus on one component at a time I am confident you will see an improvement in the coming weeks and months. It is the little things that will make a measurable difference and by increasing the speed of your recovery you will be able to keep the nose of your board elevated and thereby increase and maintain a faster pace. Give it a try and let me know how you progress.

See you on the water!

The Japanese version is made possible through a partnership between SUP Examiner & Everything SUP Japan.

How to Improve and Maintain Your Speed While Paddling



スタンドアップパドルボードとアウトリガーカヌーで様々なコーチから学んだ経験を通じて、分かったことがあります。それは他のテクニックより群を抜いて大切な事―「クイック リカバリー」 です。「空中では素早く、水中では長く」を私のアウトリガーコーチが何度も練習中に連呼しています。理由は実にシンプル。パドルは水中に置かれて、水面にあるボードなどのウォータークラフトを引くためにあるものだからです。もちろん完璧なキャッチが出来た時の、あの一連の作業はカッコよく見えますよね。でもリカバリーの際、パドルが空中にある時間を最小限にする事によって、より早く水中に戻すことが出来、速く進むことが出来ます。


A Common Paddling Pitfall




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SUP Examinerの創設者

元国家安全保障の専門家の一方、冒険家としての人生を謳歌している。これまで外交政策の分野で様々な資料を発表。また、スポーツの楽しさを共有するための場としてSUP Examiner™を設立。現在、妻のカレン、タキシードキャットのマクシミリアンと共にロサンゼルス在住。

Matt Chebatoris

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 founded SUP Examiner™ as a platform to share his enjoyment of paddling with others. Matt resides in Los Angeles with his wife Karen and their tuxedo cat Maximilian.