How to do the Pivot Turn for SUP

Table of Contents

Performing a pivot turn on a paddleboard can be a challenging yet essential technique to master, especially when navigating narrow spaces or changing course quickly. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced paddler, a pivot turn can enhance your paddling skills and increase your confidence on the water. This article will guide you on how to perform a pivot turn on a paddleboard step-by-step while answering some crucial sub-questions.


What is a pivot turn on a paddleboard?

A pivot turn, also known as a pivot or pivot spin, is a technique used in paddleboarding to change direction quickly while remaining in the same position on the board. It involves using a combination of paddle strokes and weight shifts to rotate the board around a fixed point. This maneuver is commonly employed in SUP (Stand-Up Paddleboarding) to navigate tight spaces, make sharp turns, or perform tricks.

Here’s a general description of how to perform a pivot turn on a paddleboard:

  1. Stand on your paddleboard in a stable and balanced position, with your feet shoulder-width apart and parallel to the stringer (centerline) of the board.
  2. Take a few forward paddle strokes to gain some momentum and ensure that you have enough speed to execute the turn effectively.
  3. Once you have enough speed, initiate the turn by shifting your weight slightly towards the back of the board, which will lift the nose of the board slightly out of the water.
  4. With the nose of the board lifted, plant your paddle in the water on the side opposite to the direction you want to turn. The paddle blade should be fully submerged in the water.
  5. Engage your core muscles and use your paddle as a pivot point, applying gentle pressure to initiate the rotation of the board. Simultaneously, you can use your back foot as a pivot point by applying slight pressure on the tail of the board.
  6. As the board starts to rotate, continue to maintain your balance and keep your weight centered over the board. You can adjust the angle and speed of the turn by varying the pressure on the paddle and the tail of the board.
  7. Once you have completed the turn, reposition your paddle and adjust your weight distribution to stabilize the board and continue paddling in the new direction.


What are the equipment requirements for pivot turning on a paddleboard?

You need the following equipment to perform a pivot turn on a paddleboard:

– A paddleboard
– A paddle
– Personal floatation device (PFD)
– Leash
– A comfortable swimsuit or wetsuit


What are some pre-pivot turn paddling tips?

Before you attempt a pivot turn, you need to ensure that you have stable paddling skills. Here are some pre-pivot turn paddling tips to enhance your skills:

– Practice paddling in a flat and calm water environment to improve your balance.
– Always use a leash and PFD when paddleboarding.
– Position yourself closer to the tail of the board to maintain stability.
– Use your core muscles to stabilize your balance.


How do I perform a pivot turn on a paddleboard?

Now that you’re familiar with the basics, you can follow these simple steps to perform a pivot turn on a paddleboard:

Step 1: Paddle your board at a comfortable speed, and then slow down to a stop.

Step 2: Position yourself close to the tail end of your board.

Step 3: Place your blade into the water behind the tail of the board, angling it towards the nose.

Step 4: Lean back, and twist your torso to increase pressure on your paddle.

Step 5: Use your paddle and body weight simultaneously to rotate the board around the tail end and bring the nose to point in the opposite direction.

Step 6: Use a forward stroke with your paddle to move forward in the opposite direction.


What are some common mistakes when performing a pivot turn?

Performing a pivot turn can be challenging, especially for beginner paddlers. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

– Not positioning yourself close to the tail end of the board.
– Failing to engage the blade and lean back to increase pressure on the paddle.
– Relying solely on your arm strength to turn the board instead of using your body weight.


Can I perform a pivot turn on any type of paddleboard?

Yes, a pivot turn can be performed on any type of paddleboard, whether hardboard or an inflatable one. However, it’s advisable to perform the technique on a wider and more stable board to maintain balance and stability.



Pivot turning on a paddleboard can be a fun and rewarding technique to master. By following the steps outlined above and avoiding common mistakes, you can perform a pivot turn like a pro in no time. Remember always to prioritize safety, use the right equipment, and practice regularly to enhance your skills. Happy Paddling!

Josh Mitchell

Josh Mitchell

"I live and breath boardriding"

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