Mastering the catch is one of the best ways to improve your paddle stroke. To help dial in your technique, we asked APP World Champion standup paddler Seychelle to share her knowledge about improving the catch.
Seychelle joined Black Project at the beginning of the 2019 season, but had suffered a back injury before joining the team. Because of that injury, it was particularly important for her to find the best blade and shaft combination that would enable her to not only race on the professional circuit but also to rehabilitate and perform her duties as a coach on a daily basis. Fully rested and on the road to full recovery, Seychelle rocked the SUP world by claiming both the distance and sprint victories at the APP London Open, her debut race as a Black Project athlete. —Black Project Team.
Seychelle on Paddle Stroke Catch Technique
The ‘catch‘ is arguably the most important part of the SUP paddle stroke and having the right paddle blade is critical. I may be a bit of a gear geek, but I believe it matters what equipment you use. As someone who is very picky when it comes to paddles, one of the main reasons I switched to Black Project was because of how easy it is to catch the water and set my blade.
A “clean catch” means several things: The paddle enters the water with a positive blade angle. There should be little to no splash and the blade needs to be fully submerged before you begin to pull. The movement is like a scoop—think “forward and in.”
Set Your Paddle Blade
“Setting the blade” is when you drive your paddle down (as opposed to pulling back), to maintain a positive blade angle during your stroke. There should be little to no water disturbance, swirls, or splashing during your pull. Think “deeper and down.”
How to Know if Your Paddle Technique is Correct
The first thing you can do is listen to the sound your paddle makes, both as it enters the water and for the duration of your stroke. A silent paddle is an efficient paddle.
The best way to evaluate your stroke is to take some video of yourself paddling from a side-view. When slowed down, it’s easy to see the blade angle at entry and how long it takes to get your blade set, if at all.
Why is the Paddle Stroke Catch So Important?
If you do not set your blade properly, it doesn’t matter how hard you pull, you will be losing potential power as your paddle slips through the water.
When trying to improve your technique, first and foremost work on your catch. Then work on your pull.
The Hydro FlowX SUP Paddle Advantage
Black Project’s revolutionary Hydro FlowX SUP paddle helps refine your paddle stroke thanks to its completely reimagined design.
The proprietary Advanced Flow Technology (AFT) on the neck of the paddle blade is designed to significantly increase paddle efficiency and smoothness by reducing turbulence and unwanted blade movements. Meanwhile, the Deep Power Scoop (DPS) with dihedral edges delivers power in a controlled manner and works in harmony with our the AFT to create a first-of-its-kind paddling experience.
Learn more about the Hydro FlowX.
Photos: Si Crowther & Jason Reinhart
Follow Seychelle on Instagram @seychelleSUP