BOOTH Training’s Thursday Tip – The best place to stand on your board
What is the best place to stand on your board? It’s a question that is often asked by elite and amateur paddlers alike. This is because there is no straight answer and there are many different versions of what works.
For me I like to stand at the balance or centre point of the board. Generally this is where your carry handle is and it’s a very basic starting point. Some boards depending on volume will want you to stand slightly further forward or further back. However if your toes are at the front of the strap you are usually in the right spot. For flat water this works well but it’s always a good idea to do an analysis with a coach or even a friend to see if your nose or tail is sticking out of the water. You want a nice even trim where the nose is slicing the water and the full length of your board is being used.
This varies however in different conditions and I find that I step forward and backwards on the board depending if I have stability or not. When I’m unstable I’ll step maybe 1 foot length back as this allows the nose to come out of the water. This will stop the board from reacting to every bump and lump that you come across and is quite effective for me especially in side wash. Sometimes I will step forward to get the nose down to stay on wash or even catch a small swell. This way I’m pushing the nose down and holding a particular line. I will do this more in calmer or downwind conditions.
Now where it seems to be getting confusing is whether a split stance or a parallel stance is better. Now for me I will stay in a parallel stance for distance racing and almost all paddling. I do this as I feel it is more comfortable, more efficient and I can hold a better average speed. I don’t like shuffling my feet unnecessarily each change as I don’t think it gives an advantage but rather a disadvantage. When changing sides and changing feet I find my board wobbles side to side creating more friction which the surface area of the water. I also lose form for 2-3 strokes while I shuffle and in-turn I decrease speed. If I would only stay on one side this would of course be different.
I will sometime use a split stance when I’m downwinding and catching bumps. I will shift from a parallel to a split as I gradually walk back and forward on my board. This helps trim the board and I will also rail steer. The other times I have tried the split stance is in sprinting but only when I won’t change sides. Ie a 100m sprint race. Personally I haven’t seen much value in a split stance as only about 5% or less of my events I could class as ‘sprints’.
In my opinion a parallel stance in the middle of your board is the best way to paddle for 99% of paddlers. My advice as always is to try everything and work out what is best for you.
Let me know how you go with it and let me know what you want to hear about next on socials.