Advance Your Stoke: Why You Should Take an Advanced Sup Skills Course.

A solid set of Advanced SUP Flatwater Skills is virtually certain to enhance your enjoyment and satisfaction with being out on the water on your board. And those skills are not hard to learn. More skills = more fun = more stoke. So what’s been holding you back? 

There is a certain misunderstanding, or even mystique, about so-called ‘advanced’ flatwater SUP skills. It seems that many entry-level or recreational paddlers may feel that advanced skills are beyond their needs, beyond their current abilities, or that advanced skills are just for racing or for elite performance paddlers. 

Part of the misunderstanding I believe has to do with the misnomer that these are advanced ‘flatwater’ skills. And as such there is nothing really there for the aspiring SUP surfer, or river SUPer, or downwind paddler, or even foiler. But if this is your thinking then you are really missing out on a great opportunity to advance your skills, and your Stoke! Having coached canoe, kayak and stand up paddlers for a few decades now I can confidently tell you this – advanced paddling skills are not just for elite performers – they are for everyone!

Although common throughout the paddling world I actually quite dislike the use of ‘advanced flatwater’ skills. And I’d like to encourage you to start thinking about them more as core or essential or fundamental skills that every dedicated paddler should know. So how does learning and honing these ‘core’ skills contribute to your enjoyment and satisfaction, to your stoke for SUP? Well here’s a few ways…

  • Control of your board – understanding how to use your paddle and footwork to turn and maneuver your board at will, without sacrificing your hard-won forward speed and momentum, is an essential skill for controlling your board in wind, waves, surf, river or ocean currents, avoiding obstacles, and travelling through tight quarters. 
  • Faster more efficient travel – you don’t have to race everywhere you go, but learning to paddle efficiently, and in a straight line, means that you get to where you want to be more quickly and with more energy, so that you have more time and energy to spend when you get there. Basically you can go further, faster, for longer and have more fun.
  • Deal with less than perfect conditions – the ability to assess and adapt to less than ideal paddling conditions including those put up by wind, waves, strong currents, ocean swell and surf requires a variety of technique from managing board trim to adjusting paddle strokes, to paddle bracing and opens up a new world of paddling possibilities for you beyond the confines of quiet, sheltered waters.       

Here is how I figure it. No matter what your SUP dreams, aspirations or goals are, if you are keen enough to own your own board then be keen enough to learn how to fully use it! Whether you dream of  touring, surfing, river running or just exploring your local coastline, a set of advanced paddle skills will enhance your safety, level of competence and confidence on the water. And that in turn is going to mean more potential for adventure, discovery and exploration. And that means greater rewards, satisfaction and enjoyment from your SUP excursions. More fun. Advanced Stoke!  

Paddle On

Coach Neil

So, still wondering if should you take an Advanced SUP Skills course? Join our Advanced Touring Skills course this season.  




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