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Beginner SUP Lesson with AV SUP

After my recent SUP event I realised that my paddle technique was...how shall I say it, awful!! I was
not able to paddle in a straight line and my shoulders took the full brunt of the work, plus there is always room for improvement.

Small collection of Red Paddles
While picking up Mark's new Red Paddle board I got speaking to the guys at AV SUP. First we discussed carbon paddles because I still had an IOU from my birthday and was not sure what to go for. the conversation then moved onto my paddle technique and how it needed work. They pointed out that they had a beginner lesson in a week and although I already knew how to paddle, they would look at my technique and help me with a few pointers.

Sold and I booked myself onto a class!

Sunday afternoon rolled around quickly, and after dropping Mark at the sailing club I drove over to AV SUP at Universal Marina. The wind was a bit on the strong side but that didn't stop us, plus there was a small sheltered area near the pontoons.

Before heading out onto the water, armed with my new GoPro, we had a 10 minute session on land to run over safety, tides, weather and the equipment available. When on the water we were first shown self rescue, this is where you lay on the board with your paddle off to one side and then paddle with your arms. We soon moved on to standing and made us aware that putting the paddle into the water will help make yourself stable. None of this was new for but that was alright, because I was trying to get used to being on a hard board. Sounds odd, I know, but it is amazing how different a hard board is to an inflatable one. You are able to feel the water a lot more through it and it is a lot more responsive.

Once everyone was getting stable we started to look a bit more into the paddle technique. Explaining how the paddle should enter the water as far forward as possible, keeping the paddle up right and then taking it out at your body because if you go beyond then it is wasted energy. This was when I really started to work on the correct technique. At this point I was still not getting it up right enough but that was to improve later.

Next came turning and most importantly pivot turns, something I had not tried since I was first given a lesson. With this part came a high chance of some of us going for a little swim, so we were shown how to get back onto the board in the event we fell off. Falling in is not my favourite part, not sure why exactly but I think it stems from my sailing days.  There is some interesting footage of me stumbling lots after my first couple of attempts of trying to turn, butI soon got the hang of it and was super proud of myself.

Now that I had attempted a few and was comfortable with them I started to go for longer paddles to practice my technique and was given some helpful tips and encouragement. Just before the end of the lesson, we went for a long paddle down to a mark in the water and back again to practice everything we had learned. I was given a chance to try one of the instructors hard board and it was amazing! It was on this final paddle that I was told to 'sniff my armpit'. I was a little confused to start but this was a way to show how much you needed to twist to get the paddle up right. Once I understood and gave it a go, it made my day! I was finally able to put the paddle up right and knew then exactly how far I needed to twist.

I came off the water grinning ear to ear, it was great fun with a great bunch of people.

Below are some photos from my GoPro, showing my technique before and after, my pivot turn and then finally a happy Roz after a wonderful afternoon.

Thank you AV SUP!

Before working on my paddle technique

After working on my paddle technique

Pivot turn shot

Happy me after an afternoon of paddling


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