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Red Paddle Co FAQ - How To Hold A Paddle Board Paddle

Posted by Luke Green

One of the most common mistakes that beginners make when learning to SUP is holding the SUP paddle the wrong way - we’ve all been there! The most common mistake is to hold the blade backwards with the blade bent towards you, rather than sloping away from you. This is usually because when you’re learning to paddle board starting from a kneeling position, it feels more natural to hold the SUP paddle closer to the shaft, pulling the water towards you like a big scoop. However, once you start standing ,you'll soon notice that this feels really awkward and definitely isn't the right technique for how to hold a paddle board paddle! It’s also really common for beginners to hold their hands too close together on the handle and the shaft, which can cause you to lose power on your strokes.


So, what is the correct method for how to hold a paddle board paddle? In order to answer this question, it’s first important to understand the 4 main components of a SUP paddle. These are:


T-Bar Grip: This is the handle at the very top that you’ll grip with one of your hands


Scale: This is just below the T-bar grip, at the top of the paddle, and this is where you can adjust the height 


Shaft: This is the longest and main part of the paddle that your second hand will grip


Blade: This is what propels you through the water (so long as it’s the right way round!

Woman paddling Red Original sport MSL paddle board near boat
Red Original hybrid adjustable paddle placed on top of SUP

The Simple Formula

So, the correct method for how to hold a paddle board paddle is with the blade bent or sloped forward. One hand should be placed near the top of the handle, gripping the T-bar, whilst the other hand should grip the shaft. Your arms should be just wider than a shoulder width apart. 


Which hand grips the T-bar and which hand grips the shaft depends on which side of the stand up paddle board you are paddling on. Your outside arm should hold the shaft, whilst your inside arm should grip the top.So, if you’re paddling on your left, hold the shaft with your left hand and grip the top with your right hand. If you’re paddling on the right, hold the shaft with your right hand and grip the top with your left hand.


It’s important to ensure that the SUP paddle is adjusted to the correct height for you. As a general rule of thumb, the T-bar should be approximately 6 inches above your head (or 3-4 inches if surfing). All Red SUP paddles are easy to adjust, ensuring you can adapt them to suit your individual requirements perfectly.


The Importance Of Knowing How To Hold A Paddle Board Paddle Correctly

Why is it so important to know how to hold a paddle board paddle correctly? Well, for one thing, it will make your paddling experience a whole lot more comfortable as you will be able to paddle more efficiently, meaning you can paddle further, for longer. This is also important for preventing you from straining or injuring yourself. 


For more tips on how to hold a paddle board paddle, or for details on the SUP paddles available from Red, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.