Paddle like a pro

How to paddle faster on your paddle board

It’s human nature to want to improve. Whether it’s advancing in your career or upgrading your smartphone, the ever-present desire to grow and improve is innate in all of us. It’s no different on a paddle board. Whether you’re going for leisure or long distance, you want to be at your best by moving through the water with speed and efficiency.  

It doesn’t matter if you’re on a BOTE Aero inflatable or solid paddle board, the acceleration you achieve comes down to the number of strokes you take, the distance you travel with each stroke and some basic technique.

Whether you're going for leisure or long distance, you want to be at your best by moving through the water with speed and efficiency.


The first part of the paddle stroke is the most important because it helps generate the power you need to go faster. The further you can reach toward the front of your paddle board, the longer and more efficient your stroke will be. It’s also important to pull parallel to the board, creating a straight up-and-down motion rather than a more sweeping stroke. This keeps you moving straighter and more efficiently through the water over a long distance.

Paddle like a pro


Pull from your core, letting your paddle board slide forward beneath you. Don’t just use your arms for this but throw your entire body into it. Be sure to engage your core muscles, along with your arms and shoulders to power through each stroke. The purpose here is to get your paddle blade deep into the water and dig through every stroke.  

Paddle like a pro


Just as you don’t want a sweeping motion on your pull, you also don’t want to swing the paddle out when repositioning for your next stroke. Aim for a straight forward motion – the faster you get the paddle back to start another stroke, the more efficient you’ll be in gaining forward momentum.

Using the correct paddle motion is also vital to preventing injury to your shoulders and spine. Think tempo and technique when doing your strokes and your body will thank you later.

Paddle like a pro


Always avoid pulling the paddle too far through the stroke. After you plant your paddle deep into the water, pull it back and start the blade exit at your feet. If you continue paddling past your feet, you will lose speed because your body is no longer in a position of strength in the stroke. The paddle board will reward your efforts.

Paddle like a pro


This is one area of the paddle stroke that is not given enough attention. It’s not just about pulling hard, but also efficiently. It’s important that when finishing your SUP stroke that you turn the blade parallel to the paddle board right before the blade leaves the water for the next stroke. This creates a “clean” exit from the water and allows the blade to minimize resistance. That little bit of resistance saved over hundreds or thousands of strokes can add up to a lot of extra speed and energy.

Paddle like a pro

All of these minor adjustments can make your paddle board experience that much more enjoyable and result in a much smoother stroke. Before you know it, you’ll be cutting through the water, strengthening your body, and enjoying your paddle board experience like a pro. But, also keep in mind that everyone is different. What works for one person, might not be the most efficient technique for you. So, use these steps as a guide and with time you will figure out the best way to paddle faster for you and your board.  

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