Here’s 3 methods for how to paddle your sup straight

  1. Keep your paddle shaft vertical (hand over water) for the forward stroke. Or wrists stacked.
  2. Draw the paddle in a straight line from your nose to your feet to the exit. In the enclosed photo, PSUPA instructor Brent Roth demonstrates with a car strap how to not curve around the nose, but rather place the paddle in the water a few inches from the nose, as long as it’s a straight line to the rail and your feet. If you curve around the nose, you’ll turn the board and will be doing a mild forward sweep stroke. In doing so, keep you hands super loose, even in rough water, reach forward and as soon as you bend, let the paddle dip in the pull towards your feet.
  3. Watch where you’re going. If you look at your paddle, you’ll go in that direction.

Photo: His shaft should be more vertical (or upper hand over the water) and he should be looking where he’s going. If you watch your paddle, you’ll go in that direction.

Additional Tips:

  • Always loose a loose grip. A tight grip can control the angle on the paddle, and give you hand stress down the line.
  • Stay loose (body too), bend knees slightly, more in waves.
  • If you’re left or right handed, you’ll probably have better control and paddle straighter longer on that side. But it’s good to master both sides. Stretch out the opposite side a bit more prior to see if that improves that side. Muscle memory on one side too much will affect the opposite side.
  • Count your strokes paddling straight on both sides.
  • Pick a marker like a buoy and paddle straight to it, then do so in wind and/or current.

Related Resources

Check out my online course SUP 101 where you can watch a demo on paddling straight.

Tips for Paddling Straight

Can’t Paddle your SUP Straight


Salmon Bay Paddle SUP Tips