SUP Paddle Techniques
Now that you're standing on the board and ready to paddle, have your hand placed about halfway down the shaft of the paddle, and reach forward with your lower arm, fully extended, your shoulder extended, and a slight twist of your body towards the paddle, so that you can get the maximum reach and best pull back on the paddle. With your top hand, you'll want to have it on top of the T, with a slight bend in your elbow. And once you begin to pull back with your lower arm, you'll almost push forward slightly with your top hand.
For cruising, you can do a much more relaxed style stroke, which means you can drop your top hand more as you bring the paddle back forward, and reach isn't as crucial.
For a power stroke, you'll want to get full reach with your arm, your shoulder, and even your hand, as far forward as you can possible get it, as you place the paddle into the water.
As you begin to pull back, you'll pull with your shoulder. You'll pull with your torso, and a little bit with your arm. And at the same time, you'll be pushing forward with your top hand to get maximum power. And you'll want to pull out at your feet. Once you go past your feet you're not creating any more power and you're actually beginning to slow yourself down, because you're pulling yourself down into the water. The best part of the stroke, for creating speed, is the first third. So that is the part that requires the most focus and concentration, and proper technique.
For the quick stroke, you'll want to do a stroke that is similar to the Tahitian style canoe paddling. And the focus of that stroke is all in the very beginning of the stroke, and that consists of a big reach, a quick pull back, and you'll pull the paddle out approximately one foot in front of your toes, and get right back up and reach again. Now with this stroke you want to minimize every movement that isn't necessary, meaning you don't want to drop your top hand too much, and you don't want to lift the paddle too high as you're coming forward again. You want to minimize those movements, keep everything as efficient as possible in quick little hits in the water. And the paddle does not go as deep on this stroke, but more pulled straight back, and not driven down into the water.