SUP Stability with the Sweeping Brace

When many paddle boarders get unstable, they tend to stick the paddle above their head or freeze with the paddle at their waist level – and fall in.

Next time you’re feeling wobbly, instead of reaching above your head or freeze, get low and paddle!

Getting low is lower center of gravity and paddling creates momentum which is stability.

Bracing for Stability

Trying to balance with the paddle out of the water won’t work, you’re not on a tight rope.  Another option is to use a Brace, which means slapping the paddle blade (flat part) on the water’s surface at your side, then paddle to help regain stability.

This surface slapping will usually give you enough stability to regain your balance and keep paddling. Some say the having the Power Face facing up is called a Low Brace. If it’s facing down, it’s called a High Brace (comes from kayaking terminology).

SUP Stability with the Sweeping Brace

If you’re falling back, sweep the paddle blade across the water’s surface starting at your tail sweeping in a semi-circle forward towards the nose. This is called a Sweeping Brace.

Apply pressure with your lower arm. Keep the leading edge of the blade up so it hydroplanes across the surface. This provides quite a bit of stability.  Once you’ve completed your sweep paddle for more stability.

Practice on both sides. Try to fall then use the sweeping brace to prevent your fall.  In some cases if you’re falling hard and the brace doesn’t work, just let yourself go in. Bracing up current on a fast moving river can injure your shoulder.  Check out my post: Tips on How to Fall Safely

Applying the Sweeping Brace While Feathering – I also apply a sweeping brace when doing a forward stroke in rough water. During the recovery, instead of feathering the blade above the water’s surface, I sweep it on the water’s surface forward to the catch to set up for my next stroke. This really provides a lot of stability in bumpy conditions.

Preparing for the Sweeping Brace


Sweeping / Hydroplaning Forward


Sweeping Brace during a Pivot/Buoy Turn


Any questions give me a holler: rob@ / 206.465.7167
Check out my SUP classes in Seattle – Beginning to Advanced instruction and PSUPA Certification.

Photos by John Patzer

Board: Imagine Surf Connector DLX 14′
PFD: MTI Cascade
Paddle: Accent ProBolt

Salmon Bay Paddle SUP Tips