Learn to SUP Downwind With These Free Technique Videos

Anyone who wants to learn or improve their downwind skills should watch this selection of great Youtube video tutorials by a varied range of riders all over the planet.

1. Robert Stehlik: The 5 Most Common Mistakes

Robert Stehlik from Blue Planet Surf in Hawaii is a downwind specialist and points out here the most common mistakes that most rookies can make. Here we go:

1. Mistake # 1: Paddle too much and at a steady pace. You are meant to take breaks, take a few hard strokes and let it glide.

2. Mistake # 2:¬†Paddling too late. You want to make sure to get ready to catch¬†the bump when it passes underneath you and paddle into the back of it. If you paddle too late or when¬†it is already way ahead of you, you are left with¬†no other choice than to chase it and leave a great deal of energy in the action or to let it go. Also, make sure you change your mindset from “riding the wave behind” to “being pulled along by the wave in front”.

3. Mistake # 3: Not using the paddle for balancing. Make sure to use your paddle as a 3rd leg.

4. Mistake # 4: Using the wrong board. 

5. Mistake # 5: Not standing too far forward. Generally speaking, try and keep your feet behind the handle(s) and move backwards as soon as you catch a bump. Move forward again when you slow down. 

2. Eric Terrien: Changing lines!

Here is an other very interesting point of view.¬†In this 4 minute video, French SUP racing champion¬†Eric Terrien explains how he spots¬†bumps 10 to 15 meters¬†in front of him in order to change line strategically¬†and connect one wave with another. This is what Eric replied to our question on the subject: “I¬†assume that by the time I will reach the spot,¬†another bump will form. My point of view is that bumps are more likely to form where the water is already moving. Then it is all a question of speed and timing. If you aim at bumps that are too far in front it will be flat when you get there. If you only ride¬†the bumps that you are on, it will be too late to change line when you hit the flat section.”

3. Todd Bradley: “Staying in¬†the trough is NOT paddling”

C4 Waterman co-founder Todd Bradley answers downwind-specific questions by and gives very precious tips.
Here are some of the best quotes:
– You’re on a planing hull. The minute you start throwing too much body into it, you’ll start to¬†compress the hull¬†and won’t be able to ride the little chops.
– You never want the nose of your board to ride up the back of the wave. Or you’ll slow down.¬†Put yourself in the bump and start following it.
– Staying in the trough is NOT paddling.
РIf you keep paddling once you catch a wave, actually putting the blade in the water will slow you down more than speed you up.
– You never punch through the next trough in front of you. You always wait for the next trough to form in front of you.
– It all happens in front of you not behind you
– Don’t paddle too hard. Let the board do what it wants to do.¬†

4. John Toomath: Display your speed on your Downwind videos

This 30+ knot video was recorded using a Garmin Virb Elite camera which comes with a built in GPS. The editing software then offers all sorts of video display options such as speed, compass or heart rate monitoring and keeps it synchronised even when editing out sections. As well as watching an experienced paddler in downwind action, it is pretty smart to withness and analyse when to paddle or glide in order to go from 7 to 14 km/h with only a couple of strokes.

5. 6. 7. Robert Stehlik: It’s all about timing

Here are 3 videos by Robert Stehlik who can narrate all his actions without any sign of breathlessness. Proof that, when well performed, downwinding is all about using the right amount of energy at the right time.

About the Author

Mathieu Astier

Mathieu is the hyper-active founder of TotalSUP and a multilingual online marketing veteran with more than 20 years of experience working for top international internet companies. His love-at-first-sight for Stand Up Paddling in 2013 led him to build one of the leading online media dedicated to SUP in English and French and to turn his family lifestyle towards the ocean.

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