Skip to content
2023 Starboard sprint in action on the water

9 Tips for Performance Paddle Boarders

Coming back from the 2023 SUP Carolina Cup has my mind buzzing with thoughts, lessons learned, and new ideas! To be around such a diversity of paddlers is so valuable for our Vermont Ski and Sport Race Services Team.

It was great to see so many of our friends and clients in person and connect on a more personal level. I myself did not paddle much and was flat out working both manning the booth, coaching our clinics, and wandering around interviewing athletes and shooting content. I did not regret one moment… well maybe one (loading and unloading the trailer over and over again).

After much pondering and learning this week, you can find my 9 Tips for Performance Stand Up Paddle Boarding below

1.) When demoing a new board keep in mind the following;

a.) It should feel different and it is different from what you already own. Be patient and don't immediately over-judge. Conversely, don’t get in the mindset I need to demo it 6 more times just to be sure. It is what it is.

b.) Should I go narrower or should I go wider? Selecting the correct width entails what I like to call the “Goldilok Principle” (too wide - too narrow - just right) and for the truly high performance athletic paddlers you can adapt in a shorter curve and always reap the benefits of a narrower width board.

2.) Paddle length for the performance seeking paddler should err on the shorter side of the measurement paradigm. We have been building custom carbon paddles for our clients for the last three years with this guidance. 2 important considerations for most paddlers should be;

a.) Can you load the paddle easily and with out loss of balance?

b.) Are you comfortable and fairly actively relaxed controlling your stance and nervous system?

3.) Running your race leash from the forward mount backwards is a game changer for most conditions. I have been recommending this for quite some time and was stoked when Michael Booth suggested this also during his clinic.

2023 Starboard all star in action on the water

4.) Land based balance training doesn’t always correlate to improved paddle board balance. ASK ME WHY.

5.) Fins and paddles are tremendously over hyped and marketed, be careful you don't fall for some of the kook claims and non-existent gains!

6.) All the top pros have an individual style that is unique to themselves, but their fundamental technique is all quite similar for the most part.

7.) If you seek to emulate a pro, select someone who is similar to your size.

8.) Train your weaknesses more and watch your overall skills and technique improve concurrently. We will be adding another clinic this spring called “OVERBOARD 20”. The focus will be on pivot turns and waking the board and you will get recognition if you fall in at least 20 times. If you’re not swimming you’re not training hard enough!

9.) Knowing your limitations and setting goals will make for a much happier and fulfilled paddler both short and long term.

If you would like to purchase private or group lessons (both in person and remote options) please contact me to get started.

Previous article 2023 SUP Carolina Cup Closure
Next article SUP Race Day Is Here Now What?

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields