Why is it so important to have correct grip pressure ?
As with every sport practicing correct technique is vital to improve skilfulness and avoid injury. All experienced paddlers know that keeping a light firm grip is key to an effective stroke cadence and practice it meticulously. A light but firm grip allows all the joints in the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder to move freely allowing for proper alignment and the corresponding muscles to fire effectively transferring power to the shaft. When a paddler grips the paddle too tightly the fluid transference of power from your core through your arm is lost. Rigid tight muscles hinder the joints ability to move effectively and extra pressure is transferred to the tendons and ligaments causing choke points and tiny tears. This in turn leads to inflammation and injury such as carpal tunnel,cramps,sprains and strains, fingers,forearm,elbow and rotator cuff tendinitis. It is much easier to see the problem with gripping too lightly. One slip and your in the water. Although the risk of injury is less it is still there. Shallow rocks or a paddle in the face won't give you tendinitis but ruin your day none the less.
Most paddlers know that gripping the paddle with a death grip is wrong and assume it's reserved for the beginner but we all do it unknowingly from time to time and here is why.
On a sunny day, out for a slow paddle, keeping a light grip is automatic, second nature. But what happens on training day ? What happens when you go for that late drop on a wave or when you need to get to the race marker first ? We choke the paddle. Nobody wants to slip at a critical moment and if you don't have confidence in your grip you will instinctively tighten up and lose form in the process .
Correct grip pressure is VITAL for Sup performance.