SIC Talk Story: SUP Tip – Paddling in the Wind


Global Athlete Seychelle is back with another prerecorded SIC Talk Story: SUP Tip – Paddling in the wind. In this edition Seychelle goes over safety tips and technique for both beginner and advanced paddlers for paddling in the wind and chop.  


  Good morning! Welcome to this week’s edition of Talk Story Paddling Tips with Seychelle, continuing on SIC Maui, and continuing on my topic from two weeks where I was talking about paddling tips for paddling into the wind. The paddling tips that I want to talk about and give you today are for paddling when you have wind coming not from directly in front of you but from the side. And what are some of the tips and techniques that you can use to paddle when you have wind coming from the side? First things first safety, especially in windy conditions, having a leash is really important as well as a PFD and having a buddy or letting someone know where and when you’re paddling is always a great idea.  Now, the windier it is the more challenging it is to paddle equally on both sides. The better we become at practicing these techniques, the more balanced we can paddle equally on both sides no matter what the wind direction is. Now, things like having chop does affect the difficulty and makes it more challenging as well. However if you practicing these things you will get better at them. A lot about paddling when the wind coming from the side is about being able to steer your board. So if I have wind coming from my left side, I want to be able to steer my board to the left towards the wind in order to counteract the wind pushing my board to the right. So how do I do that? The first technique is using your paddle. So the angle of your paddle directly affects the angle of your stroke and the angle of your stroke is going to affect the direction that your board is steering. So, you know, this common sense says that if I want to turn to the left, I’m going to paddle on my right and I’m going to paddle out wide. I have this angle of my paddle and I’m going to make this wide steering stroke and I’m going to paddle from close to my board to away from my board in a wide angle with an angled paddle steer me.  That’s probably the first way that when you first got on a board, learned how to turn. You made wider strokes on one side and you make a really slow turn, right? So it’s actually more for steering your board than turning your board. So paddling from close to far away, angling your paddle away from your board, is going to angle your board, steer your board away from your paddle. Right? You guys probably got that one down. The opposite of that is true as well. If I instead, angle my paddle towards my board, and I reach out away from my board and pull back towards my board, that’s going to pull me towards my paddle. All right, so, away from the board, reach out nice and wide, pulling at a diagonal angle back towards your board. So, a straight stroke would be the paddle is straight up and down, right next to my board, and my paddle travels straight along the path of my board. My board travels straight along the path of my paddle. So, reaching out away, pulling back towards, I can paddle upwind to the windward side. Right? Practice that.  Instead of when the wind is coming from one side, instead of staying stuck, paddling wide, and pushing your nose of your board away from your paddle on the opposite side of the board, take your paddle to the windy side of the board, reach out away, and paddle. So in that way, you can take strokes on both sides and still be steering your board to counteract the wind pushing you down. That takes practice and if you’re reading this blog, you’re probably not paddling right now. So, you know, maybe watch it read this right before you head out for a paddle and take a look at that angle, right? And it’s about the angle of your paddle and the direction you are spinning. Steering the nose of your board by using the angle of your paddle to determine the angle of your stroke. To steer yourself either pulling the nose of your board towards your paddle, or away.  The second technique is steering your board with your feet and leaning to one side or the other in order to steer your board. The way it works with boards is the rail of your board is the side of your board. So if I dig the right rail in, I actually steer my board to the left. So it’s the opposite. If I lean to the left and dig that left rail in, that’s actually going to steer my board to the right. So, leaning to the right, weight on the right foot, the board, as I’m paddling, leaning to the right is going to steer the board to the left. And leaning to the left is going to steer the board to the right. And if you’ve ever paddled with me, you’ll see that I do this a lot. I’ll hook my heel on the lip of the deck of my board. It depends on your board shape and your board design. But for me, rather than, leaning and having this weird hip position, I actually put the heel of my foot over my rail to get a little bit of extra weight on the side that I’m trying to weigh down. So, if the wind is coming from my right, I’m actually going to weigh the left side of my board and I can paddle in a straight line on the left or on the right. It’s not actually going to turn your board. So don’t expect to lean and have your board like go “whoop” and turn. It’s a very subtle steering. With the pressure of your weight on one side, by digging a little bit of the edge of your board in it can keep you on track. Now for going straight… If I lean, it turns ever so slightly. I should say, it steers. So, as with everything in life and paddling, it takes practice.  A couple of tips to help you are to keep a bend in your legs, which, if you’ve watched the rest of my videos, you know I’m a big fan of having bent legs, bent knees, also keeping a relaxed in the legs, right? Because usually when there’s wind, there’s chop, and we need to be able to absorb that. So it’s going to take practice because if I’m leaning or waiting the left rail, I steer my board to the right. Then a chop comes from the right, that can create a little bit of an imbalance and instability. So, depending on your board shape, how that’s going to feel, how that’s going to happen. Also, it depends a lot on how relaxed you are, how stable you are. And a lot of times, When people get into these choppy, windy conditions, we tense up. Tensing up just makes it a lot harder. When you are relaxed in life and paddling, things are a lot easier. So keep your legs relaxed, keep your legs bent and, practice a little bit of steering your board. That’s really when combining those two things… pulling steering stroke and steering with your feet the opposite way you lean, it’s really powerful in allowing you to maneuver your board in whatever direction you want, no matter what the conditions. Yes, of course, it gets more challenging, the more windy, the more choppy and it’s going to take some practice to sort of feel these things and get efficient at these things. The better you are at maneuvering your board, the better paddler you’re going to be, the more comfortable, the more confident you’re going to be in all conditions. It helps a lot with drafting, being able to steer your board. I steer my board a lot with my feet when I’m drafting. So it’s gonna play well into all aspects of your paddling. I hope this is helpful. Leave me your comments and questions. I look forward to hearing from you. Have an awesome day. Happy paddling and thanks so much for reading!