Why paddle backwards?

Paddling backwards will get you out of a jam in a tight channel, marina or sea cave. At race starts, you may need to back up and re-position yourself. Read on to learn how to paddle a sup backwards.
Also learn how to use the Reverse Sweep Stroke to turn the board from a stand still, while using the back side of the paddle.

Which is the front or power face of the Paddle?

Normally when we paddle forwards, we use the power face side of your blade. If you lift the paddle horizontal, the power face is the side below the canter (angle) that rises up.  It should be curved like a spoon or at least flat.

The backside is the side with the big rib down the middle which prevents the shaft from breaking.  Click here to learn more about the power face.  

Paddling Backwards:
Using the backside of the blade, take 1-2 light strokes on each side while looking behind you.  If you take more than 1-2 strokes, the fin swill turn your board.
To paddle straight backwards, make sure the paddle shaft is vertical. This means your upper hand will be over the water, or wrists stacked.
The Reverse Sweep:
This stroke will turn your board 180 or 360 degrees. If you follow our directions, you’ll turn with practice any board around in 2-3 strokes.  This stroke is done when not moving forward.
-Squat straight down (vs bending over)
-Rotate your trunk (body) then place the blade at your tail.
-Your lower arm should be straight
Use a super loose grip – This will give you more flexibility. A tight grip limits flexibility.
-With a fully immersed blade, sweep the blade forward in a semi-circle towards the nose.
-*If you watch the path of the blade, you’ll turn more efficiently. If you don’t watch the blade move from the tail to the nose, you’ll lose 1/3rd of you turn.
-Step back behind the handle to raise the nose up a bit, try again and you’ll turn quicker with less strokes and effort.

SUP Guide to Racing Smarter

About Rob Casey – Named a pioneer in the SUP industry by Stand Up Journal, Rob is the author of “Stand Up Paddling Flat Water to Surf and Rivers” and “Kayaking Puget Sound and the San Juans, 60 Trips.” Rob owns SUP school Salmon Bay Paddle in Seattle. He also runs several paddling races throughout the year.

Salmon Bay Paddle SUP Tips