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How to Do the SUP Pivot Turn

Mastering the SUP pivot turn allows you to swiftly change a SUP board’s direction, whether you’re still or moving. You accomplish this turn by standing toward the back of the board and lifting the bow to reduce the length that’s in the water. Now you can take forward and reverse sweep strokes to easily turn the board. This video shows you several techniques for learning this valuable skill.

To be successful in performing the pivot turn you need to be comfortable moving around on your board. The basic idea of the turn is to submerge the stern of the board, lifting the bow out of the water. It’s a good idea to start out by sitting on the board, then sliding back and practicing some turns with your center-of-gravity lower. Move back until you find the “sweet spot,” the place where you feel comfortable with the nose out of the water. Take a few forward and reverse sweep strokes to see how easily the board turns. Also note that by leaning your body forward and back you lower and raise the bow.

Now move to doing pivot turns while standing. Orient your forward foot straight ahead, slightly off the centerline of the board. Pointed your back foot 45° toward the side of the board, with the heel just across the centerline. This stance gives you excellent side-to-side and front-to-back stability.

Work your way back to find that sweet spot of the raised bow. Keep your paddle in or at the surface of the water ready to brace. As you become more comfortable with the pivot turn you can practice changing directions, changing hands and stopping your board all together.

As you shift your weight onto your forward foot and back foot, you change the angle, or pitch, of your board in the water. Once you’re comfortable with the turn while stationary, try doing it while you’re moving. When you’ve mastered the pivot turn a whole new world of possibilities opens up for your paddling.