Beginner SUP Tips | Turning: Sweep, Cross Bow and Pivot
Turning is just as important as going straight. Mobility is king in paddling whether in the surf, on the river or even on the lake. Here are a few options.
The Sweep: The simplest way to turn your board is to bend your knees and stroke the blade in a sweeping motion from the nose to the tail with the paddle shaft at 45 degrees to the width of the board. It’s not the most efficient technique when you’re standing and you may have to repeat three or more times.
Cross Bow Sweep Turn (left): The cross-bow stroke is an old canoeing technique that transfers well to SUP. Here’s how to turn left while paddling on your right side: Don’t switch hands. Instead, twist your torso to the left and bring your paddle in the water on the left side of the nose. Keep your hands stacked left over right. Dip the full face of your blade in the water on the left side and pull it to the nose. Lift the paddle up and over the nose of the board to the right side and complete the sweep to the tail on the right. You may have to repeat once more for a full 180-degree turn.
Pivot Turn: The most efficient way to rotate your board (and essential if you’re wanting to race) is the pivot turn. Take a few short strokes; it’s easier to turn your board with a little forward momentum. Keep your head up and move your dominant foot back (Regular foot? Right foot goes back. Goofy foot? Left goes back.) Drop the back foot far enough back on the tail so when you press it down, the nose rises out over the water. Now, take those sweep strokes you’ve been practicing and pull yourself around in a circle. Keep your knees bent so your center of gravity is low and remember to brace with the blade of your paddle if you need to. See how tight you can make your circles to push yourself. Have fun out there!