SUP Technique: Maximizing Leverage on your Paddle for More Power

Hello again TotalSUP readers! It’s SUPerman¬†back with¬†a¬†new¬†paddle tip. This¬†is¬†another simple tip that will help you maximize your body to¬†paddle better. Many of these paddle tips are going to be on better muscle engagement and postural cues to help athletes.¬†Today,¬†let’s take a step back from our stroke and just look at where we are holding the paddle with the bottom hand.

Many paddlers don’t give too much thought to how they hold their paddle. They¬†just grab it and go. But understanding how certain hand placement will ultimately affect your stroke and why will help you make adjustments to go faster with zero additional effort.

One of the easiest ways to establish a good idea of where your bottom hand should be is to place your paddle on your head like in photo one. Move the position of the paddle so both arms are about 90 degrees. This is the near-ideal position to pull from with the bottom hand. Based on how long your torso, and proportionally your arms, are will affect this. But start here and you can move your hand up or down very slightly if you feel you have better pull.

To understand why this is ideal, take a look at the bench press exercise. Typically, to move the most amount of weight your arms will be in this similiar position. A narrower grip will recruit smaller muscles which is lowering the power output. And too wide a grip puts too much pressure on your joints rather than the muscles. Same concept here: too narrow a grip has poor pulling power, and too long just takes your whole body out of the ideal position.

A simple tip after figuring out where the 90 degree leverage is at, is to put a small piece of¬†tape on¬†the shaft to rest your index finger on. When switching¬†sides,¬†look for this index finger tape and you’ll know your hand is where you want it to be.

Here are some video examples demonstrating that when the hands are in poor position, they mess up the entire paddle stroke!

Bottom hand too low:

Bottom hand too high:

Better bottom hand:

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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