Turning the Board using Sweep Strokes in Choppy Water or Smaller Waves:
When I spot a small wave coming my way and need to turn, I’ll let the wave crest come under me, then take one or two full sweep strokes and turn the board the other direction. A sweep can be done forward or backward. To turn the board to the left using a Forward Sweep Stroke, place the blade in the water ahead of you. Keep your outer arm closest to the blade straight, and turn your torso to the right watching the blade as you turn. The paddle should go in an arc or curve around you. Remove the blade after it passes your feet and feather it as you twist back to your forward position. The above turn on a wave is best when the board becomes balanced with the wave crest under the middle of the board. You can turn the board 180 degrees in one stroke.
You can speed your turn up by doing a Reverse Sweep stroke one one side, then a forward on the opposite. A Reverse Sweep starts behind you and moves forward. If you feel unstable twisting your torso backwards, bend you knees to lower your center of gravity. Go lightly at first, adding power as you get more comfortable.
By watching the blade for the entire turn, you torso will turn fully thus turning your board more efficiently. Kinda like watching the ball in baseball or golf – it works. Try the Sweep Strokes on flat water and do 360’s using one side, then both sides. The lower you squat, the more extension thus more turn you’ll get. A popular version of this stroke often seen in magazines or on YouTube shows the paddler stepping back on the tail of the board sinking it, then doing a sweep stroke. While this definitely moves the board and is good for balance practice, it’s kinda of dramatic, and a bit of a show off move.