SUP Technique: Fundamentals of a Clean Catch

Hey TotalSUP readers it’s Robert Norman AKA SUPerman back with another paddle tip. This one is a really easy one to implement into your stroke. Simply looking at your paddle blade will let you know you if you are doing this. I’m talking about having a clean catch.¬†

The catch is the initial entry of the paddle into the water. This is the setup for the entire stroke, a poorly executed catch will hinder your enter paddle stroke. Doing this repeatedly will hinder your overall performance.

This is for a long distance steady race pace.

Plant the entire blade at the catch; don’t splash water. When you extend to plant your blade if you begin pulling BEFORE the blade is fully submerged, there will be an air pocket between the blade and the water resulting in a splash effect (clip one). If you splash water, by the time the blade is submerged you’re missing the oppurtunity to cleanly pull during the portion of the stroke you are strongest.

Video one is splashing and video two is a cleaner entry and submerging the blade. A common issue is people will extend too far, reaching beyond where they will pull. So if you over reach, by the time you lower yourself to the water your torso is forcing itself into a more comfortable position while you’re making contact with the water at the catch.

You can still go pretty fast doing this, but it’s a ton of wasted energy and effort that will ultimately affect your long distance times! Athletes will typically splash at the catch when sprinting at the start of a race but then transition into a cleaner more efficient stroke later and that’s what we are focusing on here.

Thanks for reading! Through TotalSUP, I am offering online coaching that includes a video analysis of your stroke and a workout plan for 25$ if you are interested please contact me at

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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