How To SUP Downwind and Upwind


Irrespective of whether you are a SUP beginner or you have some experience, the sport can be challenging when the wind gets involved. If you do enjoy paddleboarding, the idea of the wind keeping you away from your beginner stand paddleboard may not sound great.

With the right tips and knowledge, it should be easy to SUP downwind and upwind. In this article, we will help you enjoy standup paddleboarding irrespective of whether the wind is in front of you or behind you.

How to SUP Downwind

Just like the name of the sport suggests, when you SUP downwind, the wind will be behind you. Often, the winds involved are high enough to create large swells that you can ride. The tips below should help make the next downwind SUP fun:

Safety First

If you decide to SUP downwind in open waters, you will have limited options to correct your situation if something went wrong. For this reason, observing paddleboard safety is extremely crucial.

It is always a good idea to SUP downwind with experienced standup paddleboarders who understand the tides and currents of the area you intend to go to. Make sure that you have a backup plan if the weather happens to changes.

In addition to carrying the mandatory paddleboard leash, ensure you have a personal floatation device, light, and a whistle. You need to have a radio or cellphone to contact help if the need arises. You may also need to wear neoprene apparel.

Choosing a Paddleboard

The ideal paddleboard for downwind paddle boarding should be longer (at least 11 feet), with a moderate rocker in the nose and a planing hull. A longer board will make it incredibly easy for you to catch the swells. The rocker will ensure that the nose does not dive under the water and hence slowing you down.

Starting Out

To SUP downwind successfully, you need to understand when to time the paddle strokes and how to link the rolling waves (swells). The water is usually moving at a higher speed during downwind paddleboarding. Hence, you should always jump on the wave before it gets away from you.

You should be standing in the middle of your Isle SUP board with your knees bent slightly and feet slightly offset. This will help you retain your balance.

When to Paddle

You will need to start using your SUP paddles when you feel a wave start to pass underneath the board. Whenever you feel as if you are sliding down the wave backside, you should start paddling with strong and quick strokes. This will give you enough momentum to catch the next wave.

Staying on the Wave

Once you are on the wave, you will need to paddle quickly several times. This will give you the momentum you need to stay on top of the wave.

When moving down the face of a steep wave, you need to pay attention to the board’s nose. If the nose happens to sink too far into the water (pearling), you can be thrown off the board.

To ensure that this does not happen, you should step back towards the board tail and enjoy riding the wave. If you feel that you are slowing down, step forward. This will give you extra speed.

How to SUP Upwind


After you SUP downwind, you will probably want to change direction and SUP upwind. If the wind is relentless, paddle boarding upwind can be tough. The tips below should make it easier for you to SUP upwind.

Stand Forward

While paddling your paddleboard, move towards the front slowly. Move to a point where you have the ability to push its nose down. This will make it easier for you to cut through the waves.

Turn the Paddle Blade

This will help ensure that the blade does not act as a sail while you SUP upwind. Rotating the paddle blade while paddling will allow it to slice through the wind. When submerged, finish the turn and also paddle through the rotation. This will give you a good full stroke.

Consider Kneeling

Standing upright creates a lot of wind resistance. This can make things difficult for you while you paddle. Placing one knee on your paddleboard can help you reduce the resistance while maintaining your stroke power. You can also bring both knees down, shorten the grip, and make short and quick strokes.

Shorter and Faster Strokes Work Better

Long strokes will give the wind enough time to throw you off the course after pushing you back. Short, quick strokes give you faster cadence. This helps you stay in line.

Change the Grip

Keeping the grip tightened on the paddle can lead to reduced paddling efficiency and strength. To ensure this does not happen, change the grip position now and then to keep the grip strong and fresh.

Stay Fluid

While you SUP upwind, you should keep moving your body. Angle your body in a way that reduces wind resistance.

Go Straight

While you SUP upwind, staying straight is a much better idea when compared to tacking. Staying straight will help you cover more distance.

Globo Surf Overview

If the wind is relentless, paddle boarding can be a struggle. However, with the right information, you should find it fun to SUP upwind and downwind.

When paddleboarding downwind, you should focus on linking the waves. When paddleboarding against the wind, you should do anything in your power to cut the waves and also reduce wind resistance.

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Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!