In this video, Jimmy Blakeney looks at a few key stances, as well as tips for staying balanced while you're walking around and moving on your SUP.
One of the great things about stand up paddle boarding is that because we're standing up, we're able to walk around and move freely on this board, which is something you just can't do on other paddle sports. In this segment we're going to talk about a few of the key stances, and we're also going to discuss some tips for staying balanced while you're walking around and moving on your board.
The first stance we're going to talk about is what we call the neutral stance. This is the stance that you start off with as a beginner where both feet are pointing forward towards the nose of the board. This is a great position because it allows you to paddle effectively on both sides equally. If you turn your toes towards one rail and also step back ever so slightly with one foot, this really allows you to rotate your hips and shoulders towards that side of the board. This is called a staggered stance. This is really useful for draw strokes and also for forward strokes if you plan to paddle on one side for an extended period of time.
The next stance we're going to talk about is the hybrid stance. In the hybrid stance, my front foot is still pointed forward just like in the neutral position, but my back foot is moved back and is angled at about 45 degrees. My heel is along the center line of the board, and what this does is it allows me to rotate the board edge to edge and it also still allows me to balance nose to tail. From the hybrid stance I can go into what's called a full surf stance. As the name suggests, this position is great for surfing waves, but it's pretty unstable on flat water because you don't have any forward momentum.
Now that you have a few stances to try out, here are some tips that will help you stay balanced as you move around on your board. First off, you want to keep your knees slightly bent, your back straight, and think about keeping your head centered over the board as you move around. A simplest way and most stable way if you're new to the sport of stand up paddle boarding for moving on your board, is using your paddle as a point of contact. Once that paddle is on the board, you can actually put a little bit of weight on it and move your feet one at a time forward or backwards on the board.
The next, a little bit more advanced technique, is actually to hop. In this technique, I'm unweighting both feet at the same time and just slightly lifting them off the board. Another way to walk on the board is by shuffling my feet. If I shuffle my feet, I'm unweighting them so that I don't put a lot of pressure on the board with one foot or the other.
The final way - and arguably the more stylish way - to walk on your board is to cross step. In this technique we're crossing our feet over themselves. As your balance improves, play around with your footwork because the more comfortable you are moving around on the board, the more relaxed you will be on the water and the more options you'll have for getting out into rougher conditions.