How to Paddle Faster

From, originally written by Fox Lach…

If you are trying to improve your paddle stroke for speed and power, Jim Terrell from Quick Blade Paddles has some easy tips for you.

1 // CATCH: The beginning of the stroke, when the blade first enters the water.
Be sure to drive the blade deep into the water before pulling.
Extend to a comfortable reach but don’t try to over-reach.

2 // POWER PHASE: The driving of the board forward, past the submerged paddle blade. Be sure to concentrate on driving
yourself past the paddle blade, not pulling the blade through the water. Use your upper body and shoulder rotation for power
and use your arms as extensions from the shoulders. Your body is more powerful than your arms. Try to keep your top
hand over your bottom hand during the pull to allow more strokes per side. The paddle is most efficient when it is vertical or
has a positive angle, like at the beginning of the stroke. The power phase should finish
at your feet when standing. Pulling back too far will only cause deceleration between strokes.

3,4 // EXIT: The end of the stroke, when the blade is released from the water. Take your paddle out at your feet.
This will allow you to start your next stroke sooner and the board will not decelerate as much between strokes.
Be sure to exit by dropping your top hand downward, not by lifting the lower hand up. This is a more relaxing
way to exit and will also help get the blade out of the water clean and fast.

5,6 // RECOVERY: The return of the blade back to the start of the stroke. Point your thumb forward on the
recovery to allow the blade to “feather” on the return. This will allow the blade to be in the most aerodynamic
position on the recovery. This is particularly important when paddling into the wind. Loosen your shoulders
(don’t shrug) on the recovery to give your body a relaxed feeling in between strokes. Don’t rush
it—a nice, smooth recovery will help the next stroke be more powerful.

For more information about Jim Terrell and Quickblade Paddles, visit their website at


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