Last year I noticed that my stroke is considerably stronger on my left side than on my right. It is much smoother, I can cover more ground (or water), it’s more comfortable, and I go straighter. Paddling on the right feels unnatural, the board pulls to the left, and something just isn’t right.
There are many small things that could need tweaking to fix this, and it will require slowing way down and focusing on each little aspect to try to build it back up- the right way. These paddleboarding tips should help you develop a more efficient paddle board stroke.
If you are looking to even things out, start by checking these most obvious factors
- Not keeping the paddle shaft vertical
- Not getting the blade all the way in the water
- An inconsistent paddle angle when planting the blade and exiting the water
- The way the rails are being weighted
- Are you looking down?
While those are the most obvious potential causes, they are certainly not the only possibilities, these more subtle factors that can also be at play
- The paddle is a different distance away from the board between the two sides
- The distance between top and bottom hand on the shaft of the paddle when switching sides could be inconsistent
- Inconsistent stroke length
- Goofy vs regular footed…If you use a staggered stance, you will probably be weaker with your other foot forward
- Weaker core muscles on one side vs the other
- Not rotating enough (which could be because of weaker or less flexible muscles on one side)
So what can you do about it all? There are several ways to isolate what’s going wrong.
- Work with an instructor who can watch your stroke and pinpoint what you need to work on
- Have someone videotape you paddling and see if either of you can identify differences between the two sides. Also look for any of the above indiscretions.
- If you are unable to get a visual of what is going on, try systematically working on each of the above possibilities. This will be time consuming and potentially tedious, but if you focus on each aspect of the stroke from the ground up, one at a time, you should cover all of your bases.
Preferably find a calm place to practice your stroke so you don’t have to split your focus between staying on your board, or constantly correcting your course while you are trying to determine what needs fixing.
You are going to have to slow way down to give each piece of the stroke the attention it needs. Technique tends to break down when you increase speed, so it is of the utmost importance to take your time here. Technique is at the heart of your stroke and if you want to paddle more efficiently and go faster, then you need to really focus on all aspects of your stroke. Many of the pros agree you need to go slow to go fast.
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