starboard 2024 inflatable sup paddle boards

Fanatic’s video guide on how to turn stand up paddle boards

We recently started selling Fanatic inflatable paddle boards, and as we welcome them onboard, we are posting some of their how to and SUP tutorial videos. We posted Episode 1 of the SUP Academy video a few weeks ago. Today we continue here with Episode 2: Turning, how to turn your SUP.

Fanatic SUP Academy – Turning

How to turn your SUP

There are various ways to turn and maneuver your SUP board. Which technique to choose depends mainly on your level, the spot and situation, and of course your personal preferences.

The technique most likely every beginner is using first is simply paddling forward on one side and backwards on the other. You will recognize that your board will turn a lot faster the less speed you have so putting a lot of energy into your first backward stroke will result in more rapid turning. Cross bow turns are also combining backward and forward paddling but are a lot faster and more complex than the beginner techniques described before. These techniques are often used during river paddling and games such as SUP polo. Begin your turn by rotating your upper body and bringing your paddle to the inward facing side of the turn. Your hands are not changing position on the paddle shaft, your lower arm is still pulling and not pushing the blade through the water. The water flow remains on the usual side of the blade. Once in position, move your blade in a wide arc forward towards the nose of the board. Lift the blade over the nose and plunge it back in the water on the other side, completing the arc.

Pivot turns are the fastest but also the most challenging way of turning. These turns are often used in waves and every other situation which requires a very fast change of direction. In order to make pivot turns fast and smooth, you need to sink the tail of your board to reduce friction on the water. To do so, step into a wide surf stance and shift your weight to your back foot. Now, move your paddle in a semi-circle around the tail of your board. As soon as the board has turned, shift your weight forward again and back into a paddle stance. The more you’re able to sink your tail, the faster the board will spin around its own axis.

Enjoy practicing, and see you on the water. Your Fanatic SUP team.

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About the author: Julian Kidd
I have been an avid stand up paddle boarder since 2009. I retired from a decade of professional kiteboarding to focus on SUP. Green Water Sports grew from this love of all things SUP. As well as being a keen paddle boarder, I'm a football fan, closet petrol head, web tinkerer, husband and father.