The Pivot Turn

Pivot Turns are a fast and efficient way of turning up to 180 degrees or more. They are used in general paddling but also in races to perform buoy turns and turning to catch waves whilst SUP surfing. They are called pivot turns as the board appears to rotate in one spot. The most important thing about performing a pivot turn is being able to move your feet into position whilst maintaining balance. A heel side turn is where the paddle is behind the heels. A toe side turn is where the paddle is in front of the toes.


#1 Change position on the board, remembering Momentum is your Friend. #2 Move your feet into the surf stance, by rotating front foot to the centre line of the board, near the handle. #3 Step your back foot towards back of the board, raising the nose of the board out of the water (Remember your back foot is the one with leash attached) #4 Once you have performed the turn, come back to the neutral position by bringing the back foot to the centre and rotating the front foot forward.

COMMON MISTAKES #1- Stepping too far back. Raises the nose higher out of the water, causing balance.

#2 - Not stepping back far enough. Nose of board raised out of water and results in a slower turn.

#3 - Having an ineffective sweep stroke. Turn is slower.# 4 - Having front leg locked straight. Causes imbalance.

HEEL SIDE PIVOT TURN A heel side turn is where the paddle is behind the heels. The paddle is moved in a sweeping stroke, behind the heels, to turn the board. It requires more strokes to turn the board as the length of the sweep stroke is shorter on the heel side, due to positioning on the board.

A TOE SIDE TURN A toe side turn is where the paddle is in front of the toes. The paddle is moving in a sweeping stroke, in front of the toes, to turn the board. The Toe Side turn is a faster turn as the paddle stroke can be more efficient due to a greater range of movement from the nose of the board right around behind the tail of the board.

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