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Stand Up Paddle Boarding: The ultimate ski training on non-frozen water?
By:  Peter Beisel   (2014/07/10)

    Stand up paddle boarding, affectionately known as "SUPing" is one of the fastest growing water sports in Canada. If you frequently find yourself near the water than chances are you've seen SUPers doing one of several sub-specialties such as touring, SUP yoga, surfing or just cruising. Sometimes I still feel like a beginner because there are so many things you can do on SUP, and for a skier in the summer it offers a lot of opportunities to cross-train and also enjoy the off-season!

   I won't delve too deeply into the world of SUP yoga, because personally I can barely touch my toes, let alone attempt a full on scorpion pose on a board, but I certainly advocate the extra balance and coordination required for strength exercises and stretching on  a SUP! For skiers, the balance for SUPing comes fairly naturally and actually the position for a proper forward stroke is very similar to that of a double pole or diagonal stride technique! I can tell you firsthand that this sport can make you sore the same way a big ski around the parkway in Ottawa does in the winter! Here is a profile multi-shot of a basic forward stroke.

Notice the feet parallel and  hips forward position. Ankle flexion and forward lean contribute to great reach through the "power phase" of the stroke (or pole push when skiing!).

    You should strive for a bit of a twist (not well pictured here) and reach as high and far ahead as possible, much like a diagonal stride technique in skiing.

    At the pole or paddle plant, you bend your waist (only a little crunch, do not do a full bendover) and also bend your legs as you put your body weight onto the frame that is created by your arms and core.

By using the big muscles in your legs rather than your abs alone, you are making use of the most powerful muscles in your body, and you will find yourself less fatigued over long distances.

As in skiing the follow through motion is dynamic and fairly short/punchy for max efficiency over longer distances. You do not need to keep the paddle (or your ski poles) driving past your hips behind your feet, it's more efficient to recover your arms and increase you cadence if you want to go faster. Remember to recover forwards into a position where you would fall if you weren't about to put all your power into your paddle or ski poles.

Although the motion is different in many ways it certainly beats an hour or two on the ski erg or other weight machine and promotes a lot of the muscle development and balance that could help you be a faster skier next winter!
    Hope you enjoyed the article, it certainly has been fun picking up a new cross-training sport for the summer! I hope to see you out there!

#Warning #ShamelessSelfPromotion:

If you'd like to do a paddle board lesson/tour while you're in Bruce Peninsula in Southern Ontario please contact me on my FB web page here:

See you out there!

Peter from XC Ottawa

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