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How to Do the SUP Sweep Stroke

The SUP sweep stroke is the most common way to turn your SUP board. Mastering the forward and reverse sweeps puts you in control of your paddling direction. This video demonstrates proper paddle plant and body rotation so you turn efficiently while keeping your balance and forward momentum.

The forward sweep stroke is a great way to turn your board if you’re standing still. It’s also an excellent way to make course corrections while you’re in motion because it allows you to maintain your speed.

The proper technique for executing the forward sweep is to bend your knees more than you would when just making a forward stroke. Rotate your hips and shoulders and plant the paddle blade at the nose of the board. Then, make a big wide arc with the paddle away from the board, thus swinging the board in the opposite direction.

The reverse sweep is exactly what it sounds like, a forward sweep done in reverse. You bend your knees, rotate your hips and shoulders and plant the paddle blade at the back of the board before making your sweeping stroke. Be aware that when doing the reverse sweep stroke, you will be killing your forward speed; the paddle blade is acting as a brake. So, the reverse sweep is best used when you’re moving slowly or standing still. When moving, in order to keep up your momentum, it’s best to use the forward sweep on both sides of the board for steering.

While practicing these techniques you’ll probably notice that it works best when you’re stopped or going slowly. That’s because the board’s fins resist quick changes; they’re designed to help keep the board going in a straight line. Shorter fins provide less resistance to rotation, so use them in situations where rapid course correction is needed. Every board reacts differently to turning; any time you get on a new board, check to see how it responds.