instructions for funnelling

different styles of SUP competition

There are many styles of supping: sitting on your seat, taking in the scenery, kneeling, doing yoga, standing upright with your back straight and admiring the underwater life (a sup board is one of the few pieces of equipment you can use to see underwater in the calm) or pushing yourself to your maximum speed on a sweat run. Some pack their hiking gear and do 30km day trips, others wait out the autumn storms and go wetsuit hunting for waves to surf. However, it's worth learning the right paddling technique to get your average speed up, endure longer runs and make your hobby a more holistic workout for your body.

If you paddle standing up, always remember to work with the twist of your body and your legs, not just your arms! By using your body correctly, you'll get much more power in your strokes, while saving your strength and exercising your whole body.

KUinka get on a sup board

To adjust the length of the paddle, raise your hand up and adjust the paddle so that the T-handle reaches your wrist.

Get on the board from your knees to the handle where the balance point of the board is.

Always start moving from your knees so you don't hit your head on the dock or a rock or something else if you fall.

Move your weight from side to side and get a feel for how the board behaves. When you feel confident on your knees, paddle into deeper water and walk on all fours (paddle in one hand) to and from the board, standing up, with your feet parallel to each other in a hip-width position, on either side of the handle.

Don't strain your legs as you stiffen, but stretch slightly at the knees as you would on a ski slope. Again, try shifting your weight from one foot to the other to familiarise yourself with the limits of the board.

Whether you're back straight on a cool-down run or on a max-speed speed run, remember to enjoy! Supping is good fitness, in every form. Your core muscles work at a leisurely pace and your balance develops without you noticing. Keeping your gaze on the horizon rather than down at the board, as many funnel divers do at first, helps to keep your balance. Remember to keep your body relaxed, that's the key - tensing up will only waste your energy and result in a poor efficiency ratio. As you build up your skills, you can practise a surf turn, for example, around a buoy by lifting the bow of the board up by shifting your weight behind the board and turning 180 degrees in one stroke! See instructional videos here.

Tips for using SUP paddles

Get a wide enough grip on the SUP paddle to give you power for pulls.

Grab the T-handle with your top hand and the paddle shaft with the other.

When you switch paddling sides, turn your hands the other way round. Don't hold on to the shaft with both hands!

Note that the sup paddle blade is at an angle to the paddle shaft. The paddle is right side up in the hand when the paddle blade folds forward when looking down the shaft of the paddle. On most paddles, the logo is set in the forward direction, which also allows you to check that the paddle is facing the right way in your hand.

Try to keep the paddle as upright as possible in relation to the water, so that the board goes as straight as possible and you don't have to change the paddle side as often.

Take the stroke from far enough away from the front. It's important to sink the paddle all the way into the water - this will give you more power for the pull and more support for yourself.

Many beginners only hold the paddle half underwater, which makes the going slow and shaky. The pull is done with the front of your feet, lift the paddle out of the water at the latest at your heels for another pull. Your upper arms should be almost straight when you perform the pull.

If you are going for a faster paced run, you can adjust the paddle to be a little shorter, push your butt back and flex your knees more, this will shorten the length of the stroke and increase the rounds.