When it comes to stand up paddle technique, you can only learn so much about the mechanics of the stroke standing up. At some point you’ve got to get into a canoe( preferably a OC-1) to really break down the mechanics. If possible, have someone watch you that can give you feed back or better yet video you. Video is about the only coach that won’t lie and won’t miss your little errors. Make sure to get a few different angles. What you feel versus what you’re doing can be so far apart some times it’s scary. Why the canoe ? Good question. Because it allows you to isolate the most important part of the stroke, the upper body. By taking the legs and hips out of the equation you are left to isolate the arms, shoulders and back.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to get rid of your stand up board, I’m just advocating the canoe as a great training device. Plus for all you guys and gals getting into downwinding the canoes steering device gives you an opportunity to learn about steering easier than a stand up’s steering. A while back I was telling Scott Trudon ( one of Maui’s premier downwinders ) the benefit of canoe paddling to help your stand up technique. It took him a little bit to get over the hump of trying, but now I would say the OC-1 accounts for nearly half of his paddling, and his stand up paddling got even faster. Because the steering is so much easier in an OC-1, it gives you the chance to really focus on learning read the swells and to connect bumps, and as any good downwinder will tell you ” it’s all about connecting the bumps” . Once you learn that, your average speed will soar up.
One of the best aspects of canoe paddling is canoe surfing. It’s not necessarily about technique in a surf canoe, but it sure is fun. For some reason the canoe acts like a stand up board when it comes to magnifying the size of a wave. So a big wave really feels like a monster. This picture is from a session that loch Eggers and I had Peahi (Jaws ) a few years back. Laird towed us in using the jet ski. I hope this helps and keep experimenting with everything, you’ll be surprised with what you will discover.