How to Hold your SUP Paddle – 3 Hand Positions

It’s not uncommon to see paddle boarders holding the paddle in an incorrect way.

What does incorrect mean in the Standing Position?

  • Hands too close together, which reduces power and control
  • Hands too far apart. This creates strain on the inner arm and upper back and you’ll have less rotation in your stroke.
  • Hands not on the handle when standing.  Unless you’re doing a short cadence race start, this technique forces you to bend over a bit to paddle, creating less power and control in your stroke.
  • Power face facing wrong way.  The spoon or scoop should be facing you.


  • Hold middle of paddle.  Not the handle.

Often we see folks holding the handle when kneeling. This increases strain on your arms and shoulders and most likely the paddle shaft will be diagonal thus turning the board on ever stroke (vertical shaft means the board will go straight(er).


  • Choke up and hold the paddle – lower hand at the blade, upper hand shoulder width apart on shaft
  • Same as above, there’s issues with hands being too close together or too far apart.

How to Paddle Correctly:

I’m always cautious of saying ‘proper technique’ as folks have different methods of doing things for their own style. But for the most part, the above listed issues do lead to arm and shoulder pain, less power and more work.

Watch this video to learn how to use the Paddler’s Box to determine how to hold the paddle when standing, kneeling or sitting. Note when sitting, we use choke up to the blade and use the long end of the shaft for the additional ‘blade’.


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