Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Stance for Standup Paddling

There are two commom stance positions for standup paddling, facing the nose with a foot near each rail and the fore-aft position with one foot toward the nose and one toward the tail. Each stance has a different function.

The front-facing position is most stable to stabilize side-to-side tippiness of the board. Before you get the board moving through the water or when its moving slow it's most tippy and having the feet out on the rails controls this type of instability. This stance is also symmetrical for standup paddling on each side and allows a good reach forward with the paddle. This achieves early powering of the stroke. This stand up paddle stance is very efficient for long distance, stability and straight tracking of the board.

The photo of Jerry Bess in the top photo shows this position.

The fore-aft paddling position is for when the board has gained more speed on the water or if you want to control the stand up board in a nose down or tail down oriention. Once the board is moving faster, side-to-side instability isn't an issue. The rushing water lifts and stabilizes the board. The concern now is either keeping the nose up so it doesn't dig-in, or sinking the tail for a turn. With one foot forward and one foot back you can make major weight shifts to control the level of the board. Stand up paddling isn't as efficient in this position. It's hard to change sides and theres a tendancy to continue the stroke too far toward the tail, thus turning the board. An important tip for the fore-aft stance is: Bend at the knees and ankles not the waist. Keep the weight of your butt over the board. Don't stick your butt out!

In the second photo notice Jerry has caught a wind swell and switched to the fore-aft stance to keep the nose from digging-in. He also dipped the paddle in the water for stability.

Photos courtesy of Jack Gillen and standuppaddlebend.com

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