Tips for Paddling Through Rapids on SUP
Let's discuss how to improve your chances of making it through rapid standing up on your paddle board. So after you've scouted and picked your line through the rapid, get on your board and into what I call the "Crouching Tiger" stance. Instead of standing with the parallel stance, I prefer to step back into a very wide and staggered stance keeping my center of gravity low. The Crouching Tiger stance gives both side-to-side and for-and-aft stability. In this stance, you can also take a quick knee if necessary.
Your paddle is a tool, so be sure to use it. Think of it as both a motor and a steering wheel as you're paddling down the rapid. Make sure to keep your paddle in the water, paddle aggressively to keep your momentum up. You can always use quick correctional strokes such as bow draws to help you stay online throughout the rapid without having to switch sides. I often use a low brace in order to keep myself from falling in the water. Basically, you feather the paddle blade so that you can smack the surface of the water hoping to push yourself back into a standing position.
Also, think of each paddle stroke you take as a form of a brace helping to keep you operate every time you take a stroke. And when you do fall, quickly and aggressively swim back to your board and get back on it.
So remember, when you're paddling down a rapid on your stand-up paddleboard, try that Crouching Tiger stance. Paddle aggressively all the way down the rapid, use a low brace if necessary. And when you fall off your board, swim quickly back... get back on your board as soon as possible.
Well, I hope those tips help you out. I'm Nikki Gregg, and I look forward to seeing you guys, out on the water.