SUP Downwinder Tips: The most common first timer mistakes



At Blue Planet we offer downwind coaching to those wanting to get into this exciting sport. After doing many coached downwind runs I have noticed that most beginners make the same common mistakes when first trying to catch bumps. For those coming from a flatwater background, where a strong, steady, powerful, longer, slower stroke works best, making the adjustment to the quick, short accelerating strokes needed to catch bumps and then stopping and resting while gliding is challenging to say the least. I’m hoping that sharing these tips will help more paddlers get into this super fun aspect of Stand Up Paddling.

These are the five most common mistakes I see when I coach paddlers on their first downwinder:

1) Paddling too much at a steady pace

2) Not paddling at the right time

3) Not using the paddle to brace

4) Not using the right board

5) Not standing in the right place

I made two videos (using the GoPro4 Session camera) where I talk in more depth about these mistakes and how to fix them while I’m doing a downwinder and demonstrating how I like do it. There is no right or wrong way to do it and there are differences in equipment and technique but I have learned a few things from doing hundreds of downwinders and from observing and talking to the fastest in the sport, so I am sharing what works for me. I hope you enjoy these two videos, the first one is the short version, the second is the extended version. Some of the best things about downwinders (as compared to SUP surfing) is that you are always moving with non stop action, catching tons of bumps along the way and getting a great workout. Also, we have the whole wide ocean to catch bumps so it never gets crowded and we always welcome newcomers to our weekly training group.

For more tips from other paddlers on this topic, also check out this thread on

(click thumbnail to launch video)

(click thumbnail to launch video)

See you on the water!

Aloha, Robert Stehlik

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