There’s several reasons why paddlers can’t paddle in a straight line or course.  One of the most common errors I see is not keeping a vertical paddle shaft for the forward stroke. The easiest way to solve this is to raise your upper wrist so it’s stacked over your lower wrist and is over the water, not the board.  Have a friend paddle behind you. Ask them to notice if you paddle shaft is at an angle leaning over the board, or is vertical and is over the water on the side you’re paddling on.

Correcting the paddle shaft angle not only helps you stay straight, but also reduces how often you switch hands. Ultimately it makes you more efficient and saves energy.

Short (9′) or boards with a lot of rocker may not respond to this technique. Boards 14′ or longer will allow you to paddle on one side for as long as you want depending on current or wind conditions.

Tip: Keep your hands loose on the paddle shaft.  A ‘death grip’ will lead to pain in your wrists and arms and can take energy away from your stroke.

Salmon Bay Paddle SUP Tips