How to do a pivot turn on a stand up paddle board?

23rd May 2018

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Paddleboard Technique: Pivot turn or Step Back Turn

In stand up paddle, the pivot turn or the step back turn is a great technique to use, ideal for buoy turns or turning quickly to catch a wave when in the surf. It is very efficient and, by reducing the amount of board in the water, is also the quickest way to turn your board around.  In this video, Sam Ross from Red Paddle Co demonstrates the key elements of this manoeuvre using his 10’6″ explorer.

When approaching the pivot turn the leash foot should be the foot that is furthest back. So when you are anticipating the turn, step back into a surf stance, push on the back leg so the nose of the board is slightly in the air. Then make large sweeping strokes with the paddle. Once the manoeuvre is complete move back to the centre and assume the paddle position.

Steps for success

  1. Start slowly and easy. First start with a small step back repeating this manoeuvre until you are stepping back almost to the end of the board.
  2. Make sure your front foot stays in the very center of the board
  3. The more weight you put on the back foot the tighter the turn, lifting 90 percent of the board out of the water enables you to turn the board 360 degrees with just two strokes.
  4. Practicing the pivot turn on both sides.
  5. The paddle is acting as an active brace while you’re paddling, it can also act as a brace if you become unstable.
  6. When you become unstable lower your centre of gravity. When in doubt get stable and keep the paddle in the water!

Happy Paddling!

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