How to Turn Your SUP

Turning on a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) isn’t just about changing direction; it’s about fluidly moving with the water and enhancing your paddling experience. Whether you’re circling back to shore or dodging an unexpected obstacle, mastering various turning techniques is essential. From beginner-friendly sweeps to advanced pivots, this guide breaks down three pivotal turning techniques tailored to your skill level.

Key Highlights

  1. For the Novice Paddler: The Sweep Turn: Introducing this fundamental technique as the first step in learning to maneuver your SUP, highlighting the importance of foot positioning and the sweeping motion for gentle turns.
  2. Intermediate Techniques: Offering two strategies, the Backward Sweep Stroke and Crossover Stroke, for paddlers ready to tackle quicker, more responsive turning methods. These are designed to improve efficiency and navigate tighter spaces.
  3. Advanced Skill: The Pivot Turn: Describing this dynamic maneuver for experienced paddlers seeking agility, especially useful in wave catching or racing scenarios. This section emphasizes the shift to a surf stance and the balance required for sharp, rapid turns.
  4. Pro Tips for Successful Turns: General advice applicable to all skill levels, focusing on safety with a leash, balance using the paddle, and the advantage of a lower stance for improved stability during turns.

For the Novice Paddler: The Sweep Turn

Starting out, the notion of turning might seem complex, but the Sweep Turn is your gateway to seamless direction changes. This technique integrates smoothly with the paddling rhythm you’ve developed.

How to Execute a Sweep Turn:

  1. Position Your Feet: Widen your stance slightly more than your normal paddling position and bend your knees for stability.
  2. Initiate the Turn: Submerge your paddle blade fully on the side opposite to the direction you want to turn. Begin your stroke near the board’s nose.
  3. The Sweeping Motion: Instead of pulling the blade directly back, sweep it outwards in an arching path that concludes at the board’s tail, propelling you into the turn.

This maneuver is effective in calm conditions and serves as a foundational skill for more complex turns.


turning your sup board


Intermediate Techniques: Quick and Responsive

As your confidence grows, so does your need for quicker, more responsive turns. The Backward Sweep Stroke and Crossover Stroke are next-level skills to add to your repertoire.

Backward Sweep Stroke:

  • Place your paddle blade on the side you wish to turn towards, flipping it to scoop the water. This powerful stroke provides the torque needed for sharp turns, ideal for reversing direction efficiently.

Crossover Stroke:

  • To execute a left turn from the right side, maintain your grip but bring your blade across to the left side of the board’s nose. Push the blade towards the nose, crossing over the board, and complete the turn with a sweep stroke on the right. This stroke maintains momentum while navigating obstacles.

 how to become an advanced paddler

Advanced Skill: The Pivot Turn

The Pivot Turn, a must-have in any advanced paddler’s skill set, allows for rapid, agile turns, crucial for wave catching or tight race maneuvers.

Mastering the Pivot Turn:

  1. Surf Stance Transition: From your standard stance, step one foot back into a surf stance, shifting most of your weight onto the back foot to lift the board’s nose.
  2. Execute the Turn: Perform a sweeping stroke towards the board’s tail on the opposite side of your intended turn. The elevated nose facilitates a swift, sharp turn.

Practice in deeper water to get accustomed to the balance and motion, as falls are part of the learning curve.

Pro Tips for Successful Turns

  • Always Wear a Leash: Ensures your board remains within reach if you fall.
  • Balance with Your Paddle: Keeping the paddle in the water can enhance stability during turns.
  • Lower Stance: A slightly bent knee and lowered stance improve balance, making turns smoother.

Embrace the challenge of mastering these turns on a beautiful summer day. Remember, each fall is a stepping stone to becoming a proficient paddler.

Explore more paddleboarding techniques and tips on our blog. Whether you’re fine-tuning your turns or exploring new paddling destinations, we’re here to support your SUP journey every stroke of the way.

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