SUP Board Bracing Techniques
No matter how good your balance is, sometimes you’re going to lose it. How you handle your paddle in these circumstances makes the difference between staying upright and going for a swim. When a brace is needed, if you have to think about how to execute it, it’s too late. Practice the techniques shown in this video until they become second nature and you’ll spend much more time on your feet!
Bracing is using your paddle to keep yourself upright on your board. Anytime you have your paddle in the water, and it’s active in taking a stroke, it’s serving as a brace. It’s giving your body a third-point-of-contact; your feet serving as the other two.
Anytime you’re in rougher water, or feeling unsteady, lower your center of gravity and put your paddle in the water in an active stroke. If you’re feeling really unbalanced, you can drop down to your knees and keep an active blade in the water to keep you more stable.
That is the ongoing support you get from your paddle as you’re moving across the water. However, there are other bracing techniques you need to learn. There are basically two types of braces you’ll use. One is the low brace, where your wrists are curled down and the power face of the paddle is facing up. The other type is the high brace, where your wrists are curled up, with the power face of the paddle facing down.
For the low brace, you’ll do your bracing on the side the paddle blade is on. You’ll bend your knees and as you start to fall, you’ll push down on the surface of the water and move your weight back over the center of the board.
With a high brace you’re basically doing the same thing, but it will work better in some situations. Even though it’s called the high brace, your arms still stay low. The only difference is in the position of your wrists.
Another type of brace is called the righting draw. It’s used when you’re falling toward your offside, the side your paddle blade isn’t on. So, you’re grabbing the water to pull yourself back upright.
These are techniques you need to practice until you can do them without thinking about it. Practice, practice, practice and you’ll take fewer swims!