Good technique is needed along with the power it creates when we are out at sea on a downwind run or doing a coastal tour. Technique and power go hand in hand so all the time you are failing to break free from the usual paddle flicking that most beginners start with you are never going to see increases in board speed or your own endurance.
It would be foolish to look at the fastest person in a race and immediately assume they have the best technique just because. So many factors go towards fast board speed. They could be younger, more elastic and able to sustain a higher work rate for longer.
A bit like in my other sport of showjumping, people with great technique are often doing it without thinking, but it is clear to see when they are doing the business. Everything seems to flow and look more natural without force.
To write a HOW TO GUIDE would almost be impossible as where do you start but I can certainly break down some of the common elements to see if you are even considering them when you go out on the water.
Foot position for many remains static and isn’t always the best way to increase power, board trim and balance. Differing water states can affect how the board performs so being able to trim the board will increase stability and speed overall. Another thing to consider here is your own physical well being. If you maintained a static position or always paddle one sided you would create weaknesses and possible injury due to overuse so balance your workload out.
Power does not come from you pulling with your arms when paddling. Using the torso and rotating is where the real power comes from.
The most power generated when paddling correctly is applied during the first few inches of your stroke. That max power is releasing the nose and slightly lifting it up whilst driving you forwards.
The Hips and Lats
Being flexible and agile will massively increase power output. Make sure you can feel that you are rotating your hips. Your lateral muscles under the arms and around the back should being to feel stronger. This large muscle will not tire like your arms hence why you need to use it.