Congratulations! You just bought your zaatt Blow Up Paddle Board and you are ready to go into the water and give it a try. You inflated your iSUP and assembled your zaatt 3-piece adjustable Aluminum or Carbon Fiber Paddle. Here is the sup course video.
Here are a few tips to get the best performance out of your paddle:
If you noticed, Stand Up Paddles have an angle or “elbow” in the shaft for maximum efficiency. Make sure the hight of your paddle is 6” to 8” taller than you are. When you are new to the sport, it’s best to start out in flat, calm water that’s free of obstacles like boats and buoys. At first, you may find it easier to kneel on the board rather than to stand upright.
.- If you’re paddling on the right, your right hand is lower on the paddle shaft. Your top (left) hand is on the top of the grip.
.- The elbow (angle) of the paddle faces away from you. This may look and feel counter intuitive at first.
.- Keep your arms straight and twist from your torso as you paddle. Think of using your torso to paddle rather than your arms. You have more strength in your abdominal muscles than in your arms. You will notice how your zaatt Blow Up Paddle Board will react better with this position.
.- Push down on the paddle grip with your top hand.
.- Plant the paddle by pushing the blade all the way under the surface; pull it back to your ankle, then out of the water.
.- At first, keep your strokes fairly short and close alongside the board. No need to overpower it.
.- A small draw stroke at the beginning of the paddle stroke will keep you going forward.
.- To go in a reasonably straight line, paddle about 4 or 5 strokes on one side, and then switch to the other.
.- When you switch sides, you’ll reverse hand positions.
Sidestroke: One way is to simply paddle on one side until the nose turns in the direction you want to go. Want to turn right? Paddle on the left. Headed to the left? Paddle on the right. This will make a long arcing turn.
Backpaddle: A faster way to turn or reverse direction is to simply drag the paddle or paddle backwards on either side of the board.
Sweep stroke: Plant your paddle towards the front of the board and take a long sweeping stroke away from the board and towards the tail. Your board will turn to the opposite side of the stroke.
DON’T PULL THE WATER
Realize that we are not ‘pulling’ the blade through the water as we paddle. Instead, we are planting the blade in the water and bringing ourselves up to the stationary blade. Imagine a cross-country skier planting their poles and bringing themselves forward to the poles. The poles do not drag through the snow but remain firmly in place. This visualization will help you when implementing proper technique.
The distance you are reaching forward to put your blade in the water. Reach as far as possible each time you stroke. Sometimes reach is over-stressed. You need to reach only as far as you feel comfortable. If you are off balance you will be counter-productive in your stroke.
The part of the stroke when the blade enters the water. Make sure your have reached as far as you are comfortable. Allow the blade to completely enter the water before you begin your power phase. The catch should be as clean as possible with no splashing.
This is where you are applying the power to your stroke. Use your entire body for this part of the stroke. Remember our arms are much weaker than the rest of our body. Use the rotation of your torso, hips and shoulders to drive your paddle. Do not pull too far back as this will decelerate the board. I like to think about my arms like ‘jellly’ to get them to relax during this phase. This helps me to concentrate on engaging my bigger muscle groups for my power output. Lightly grip your paddle without using your thumb to work on not using your arms during slow technique practice.
After the power phase you will be releasing the paddle from the water. Similar to our catch, we want as little splashing as possible. Feathering the blade is helpful in creating a smooth release and setting yourself up for the catch. You can achieve feathering by dropping your top shoulder, by ‘breaking’ your wrist inward, or a combination of both.
Relax your entire body during the recovery phase. This will help create a rhythm and allow your body to reach as far forward as you are comfortable to set up the next stroke. Use the recovery phase to concentrate on your breathing and technique. Do not think that this phase is not as important as the others because you are not exerting yourself. The ‘rhythm’ of your stroke can be dialed in during this phase thus affecting your entire technique.
When practicing your stand up paddle technique you are not working to make performance gains. This means do not paddle like you are trying to race. Slow down. You should be paddling at no higher than 60% effort in the very beginning and then slowly increasing intensity as you progress. Technique work is designed to build a foundation for stand up paddle efficiency. We want to put in the least amount of effort for the most amount of reward. The more efficient our paddle stroke is, the faster and longer we can paddle with less fatigue.
.- Stepping back on the board or looking over your shoulder to the direction of your turn also helps in making a turn.
.- Another turn that works well, especially in surf, is to paddle on your dominant side (i.e., if you’re right-handed, put your left foot forward and paddle on your right side). Really bend your knees and put more weight on your back foot. This allows the board to pivot and turn quickly.
That is it! Have fun and have fun practicing your stand and strokes. You will notice how fast you learn and how much more efficient your zaatt Blow Up Paddle Board will be.