This is such a common mistake – partly due to not knowing, partly due to incorrect information on the internet, and partly down to confusion between different styles of paddles!
The most common mistake I see when paddleboarding is related to how paddlers hold their paddle.
Often this can be down to paddlers being new to the sport and not knowing any better (you should book a lesson here 😉 ) or, frequently, they have all their concentration on standing up and aren’t thinking about anything else! Well done for getting out and getting up – get stood up before worrying about which way your paddle faces!
Firstly, regardless of how you hold your paddle, it will propel you forwards (even if it’s upside down!).
Paddleboard paddles are usually made of the same few materials:
Entry-level paddles will usually be made from an aluminium shaft and a nylon blade – strong and durable, but comparatively heavy!
Mid-range paddles are often a combination of fibreglass and nylon
Top-level paddles are usually carbon fibre which is lightweight and flexible – the best combination for a good paddle!
You can also get one-piece wooden paddles which are really cool – but rarely adjustable!
The paddle is made up of
– the handle (or T-Grip),
– the shaft,
– and the blade.
Holding Your Paddle
Which way you should hold the paddle is all down to the way the blade faces.
If you paddle with the blade facing the wrong way, it will make it harder to paddle and make your paddle strokes much less efficient!
The two main paddle/ blade shapes are the curved blade (left in the picture) and the offset, flat blade (right in the picture) and sometimes a combination of both!
When a paddle moves through the water, the water will always be pushed at 90 degrees to the blade face. The idea of the curved blade is to concentrate the power into a central point as the paddle is pushed back through the water.
If this is used backwards, the paddle pushes the water away and there is lots less power!
The offset angle of a paddle is due to the blade wanting to be vertical during a paddle stroke (to push the water backwards, as above). The most comfortable position for the paddle shaft during this stroke is with the top hand a bit further forward than the bottom.
If this paddle is used backwards the water is actually lifted upwards as well as back, losing efficiency as well as putting you off balance!
Has all of that got you confused?
Maybe you should book a lesson with Outdoor Explore Wales!
Call or Message 07859 795 785 to arrange a private lesson
The handle of a paddle can help with holding the paddle the right way…
The handle, or T-grip, can come in many shapes but is usually asymmetrical. Provided you align the blade and handle correctly, you will be able to hold your paddle the correct way around without even looking!
The asymmetrical handle will be more comfortable one way than the other. It should sit in the palm of your handle with your fingers curled around the top. In the picture above, your palm would be behind the handle and your fingers curl around the top toward the camera
So, make sure your paddle is facing the right way – and away you go!
Get out there and practice and we hope to see yo out on the water soon!
Book your lesson now!
To book a small group or private Paddleboard Lesson in South Wales with Outdoor Explore Wales you can:
Call or WhatsApp: 07859 795 785
Don’t forget to like and follow us on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our channel on