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Next step in analysing SUP technics: think with your feet! | sup
12 april 2017|SUP racetraining

Next step in analysing SUP technics: think with your feet! | sup

Next step in analysing SUP technics: think with your feet! | sup

This article was published in Swedish on the personal blog of Pontus Ny, a Swedish SUP friend of mine. Because I was very impressed (like always) about his findings on this subject I translated it in English to share with a bigger audience. Enjoy Reading!

All the power you generate with you paddle stroke has to go through your body and finally out to the board. The only way energy can be transferred to the board is through the feet. In other words a few measly square centimeters of area is the only link between you (the engine) and the vessel. On top of this, the feet act as receptors for everything that happens to the board in the water. In other words both paddling force and information about the movement of the board pass through the feet. Force out and micro signals in. No other paddling sport has an equally foot-focused contact area with its vessel as SUP. 2017 will be our year of the feet at SUP EVOLUTION. Our training on gripping the paddle and other biomechanical areas will of course continue as well, but we think now is the time to focus on the body parts that we stand on.

Stand Up Paddlers adjust their position on the board constantly based on the surrounding conditions. Sometimes in order to trim and optimise the waterline, increase the side pressure of the board in a crosswind, surf-stance, or just a simple adjustment of the feet in order to relieve a monotones working posture.

Hydro dynamically the board is optimized to lie flat in the water, not role or heel towards the left or right. (Now we are not talking about angling the board in order to counteract drift in a crosswind or to slightly change your course or to SUP-surf). The more balanced and flat the board is positioned during the entire paddle stroke or during a complete paddling sequence while right/left paddling, the less resistance will be created in the water. Every wiggle, or rock to the side will direct energy towards that particular side. At the same time your rhythm, technique, and paddling experience is effected. A faulty positioning of the feet can also effect the allover posture and this way create imbalance and put lopsided strain on the body.


“Weak, but still a noticeable and negative weight offset to the left foot (orange line). The board takes on a slight heeling and the pressure on the side increases.”

Generally I believe that we that have a surfing or other boarding background have very “sensitive “ feet with a good sense of what is happening beneath them. However this does not prohibit us from further increasing our awareness of the feet’s positioning or questioning our personal and habitual style. Stand up paddling in its modern form is a young sport and develops and changes continuously. Our feet have on the other hand been the same for many thousands of years

“We started using the box during the second half of the 2016 season. Here you can see a paddler with a clearly pronounced “outward positioning” of the feet, but with neutral weight distribution. The arch is high.”

Simplified there are a several feet-factors which greatly effect Stand Up Paddling:

the position of the feet on the board (the placement of the feet lengthwise + the placement of the feet out towards the side)

the direction of the feet (pointing outwards, pointing inwards,  pronation, supination or neutral)

• How your feet react under pressure or the transmission of force during your stroke (lift, twisting, cramping, pronation, supination etc).

(Pronation= the foot leans inward. Supination= the foot leans outward and the weight is distributed towards the outer edge of the foot)

Just the last two points can be very useful to study a little extra for many stand up paddlers. When we created W.T.A.B. (Weight Transfer Awareness Box) it was specifically to create awareness for what happens to the feet while paddling. The best way to do this is to look at the feet from below. The sole of the feet is a soft pad that clearly tells us about how weight is distributed across the bottom of the feet. During a simulated paddle stroke one can follow the offset of weight distribution under the foot and analyse it and adjust it. It is specifically important to be able to see the offset of the weight distribution during the different fazes of the paddle stroke. (In the future we might develop an electronic version, in the form of a rubber mat with wireless transmission, which can be placed directly on the board and can measure the complete pattern of movement during a session. And above all it would be fun to see how many meters one moves on the board during a downwind). The box will be available on location during several of the training sessions that SUP EVOLUTION and STÅPADDLA are holding during 2017. You are very welcome to join us!


The original blogpost of Pontus 

About Pontus

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Paddle like a Pro ;-) | paddle
23 maart 2016|SUP racetraining

Paddle like a Pro ;-) | paddle

Paddle like a Pro ;-) | paddle

Once you decided to buy a SUP board to go out on the water, you probably finished some lessons at a local SUP school or you just got enthusiastic by another SUP board owner. At that stage you think you can already paddle like a Pro….  Yeah right!

After two years of stand up paddling I got a lot stronger (core, legs and arms) and also much more balanced. But still I’m convinced that the paddling on a SUPboard is 20% (or even less) about balance en 80% about the right paddle stroke to gain and preserve the energy you need to speed up. It took me a while to find the right stroke myself. Watching some Youtube films and observing Pro Athletes didn’t convince me that I was doing it right. After one year of paddling and just after my Functional PaddleTraining (Level 1) last year with Tiago Silva on the cold water in Amsterdam, it all fell in place.

I asked Tiago Silva (owner and founder at What are the three best things to learn right away from the start of your paddling adventure? What are the most common faults made as a beginner?”

As he meets a lot of Pro’s and other SUP athletes during his training sessions, I got him an extra question: “ What are the most common faults made by athletes who are already very experienced?” There are a lot of theories about the right paddle stroke and avoiding longterm injuries of back and shoulders.

Tiago is very experienced as a paddle boarder himself, but also as an exercise physiologist and personal trainer on and of land. So the best man to ask for this topic I guess.


“What are the three best things to learn right away from the start of your paddling adventure?”


When you start , learn and practice all 3 basic stances

It’s extremely important that a novice paddler first learns all 3 basic stances on a stand up paddle board. This stances are the prone paddling position, where you place your paddle under your chest and you paddle it like a normal surfboard, the kneeling position and finally the stand up position. Being comfortable paddling in this 3 different positions is determinant to have a complete control over your board in any situation and can be crucial in case you need to overcome strong wind/choppy conditions, if you get injured or too tired to keep standing or even in case you break your paddle during your trip. (That happened to me a couple of times :))

Choosing the right equipment

The board and paddle you use can contribute positively or negatively to your overall experience. If you’re just starting, seek professional advice on your local shop or school on what equipment to get accordingly to your experience and goals. If possible, try different boards and paddles before buying one. Choosing the wrong equipment can lead to feelings of frustration and can turn your experience less pleasant.

Learn about safety and rescue procedures

It’s easy to get dragged by a strong current, be blown away from the shore or  your starting point by unexpected winds. The equipment can get damaged (broken paddle or leash) or you can get tired and/or injured. Make sure you know the area you’re paddling and always inform a friend or family member where you’re going in case you’re alone in the water. Never paddle without a leash, it can save your life!

“What are the most common faults made by a beginner?”

Using the wrong side of the  blade 

This one is the single most common fault I see with paddlers who start with this sport. It’s not a BIG issue at the beginning, because if you pay attention you will see that the board will actually still move forward! But it’s not a good principle, it’s not so nice to watch (you will look like a kook and your more experienced sup friends will make fun of you!) and besides that it’s not an efficient way to paddle because the angle you have on your blade is actually there for a purpose that you’re neglecting! As a reference, almost all paddles have their brand logo on the blade side that is supposed to stay pointed to the front.

Paddling using your arms vs using all your body

When you’re starting with the sport, your main concern is not falling of your board. Because you’re not used to stand on similar unstable platforms during your daily life, most of the people struggle with it in the beginning. As a natural way of keeping balanced, paddlers tend to use only the arms during their stroke, this lets them keep their center of gravity close to their body’s helping them staying dry longer 😉 haha! However, to become more efficient, create a better neuromuscular stimulus and to collect all the wonderful benefits that this activity offers to your health, they should start as soon as possible to focus on bending, rotating  and engaging a bigger and higher number of muscles.

Underestimating the benefits of a high quality paddle

A starter rarely understands the benefits of a light and efficient paddle. A heavy paddle can contribute to a lot of stress on your joints, especially your spine, wrists and shoulders while also affecting your stroke rhythm and fluidity. I want you to think that a heavy and cheap paddle works like a car without power assisted steering as opposition to a light and efficient paddle that will let you progress faster and will make a huge difference on your health and performance.

“What are the most common faults made by athletes who are already very experienced?”

Lack of a structured training program

SUP is a new sport and a lot of professionals are not yet adapting an intelligent and structured approach to training. This is also because the offer of knowledgable trainers that understand the physical and technical components of the sport  is pretty limited. A lot of high level athletes in this sport are also counting mainly on their own talent, which in some cases has been proved to be sufficient. At least for now, before the level gets even higher than it is nowadays. All the serious athletes should get a personalized plan that takes in count their daily routines, skills, type of contests they want to join and their personal goals, etc.

Bending at the lower back instead of bending at the hips

A lot of Pro athletes are killing themselves by adopting paddling techniques that (without questioning their speed and efficiency, because they still paddle super fast) are not necessarily healthy for them. One of this faults is actually bending/flexing too much at the lower back while applying power and rotation to the trunk. Which is scientifically proved to affect intervertebral discs health and compression of the nerves. By bending at the hips you allow your back to keep their natural curves and better engage your core muscles.

[For more information and background on this topic, take a look at the website of Functional Paddling  or watch this short video of Pontus Ny ]



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Sunny SUPDAY – winter
17 februari 2016|SUP racetraining

Sunny SUPDAY – winter

Even een klein rondje om de polder gepeddeld vanmiddag. Mooi rustig weer en zonnig.

– Couldn’t resist the nice weather this afternoon. A cold but sunny paddle around the canals and small lake to try the GoPro for the first time. Just for fun. #fanatic #aquainc

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who's Saskia?
Hi there,
I’m a #fanatic StandUpPaddle boarder from Holland. Not professional, just addicted and willing to share the stoke. I blog in Dutch and English.
SUP en meer!
Noem mij een fan of misschien wel een verslaafde aan Stand Up Paddle (SUP). De rust, de snelheid de workout en de natuur, voor mij elementen die de sport interessant maken. Ik SUP alleen en samen en voornamelijk op binnenwater (Friesland), blijf een amateur die af en toe ook een wedstrijd meepikt. Overal waar ik peddel krijg ik vragen over de sport, het materiaal en de workout. Tijd om er eens een blog over te schrijven en mijn ervaringen na ruim 3 jaar peddelen te delen. Je leest hier over tips, trucs, innovaties en achtergronden. Reacties zijn welkom - Join! (ik schrijf in NL en ENG)

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