SAN CLEMENTE, California - In SUP racing, knowing how to do a buoy turn efficiently and correctly is a skill all SUP racers aim to accomplish. In this How To Video from SIC Maui, SIC's Global Athlete Kenny Kaneko breaks down the steps on how to do a buoy turn with precision and style. Buoy turns are an important skill for any paddler and once perfected the knowledge will give you the confidence to paddle in a wider range of conditions from navigating boat traffic in marinas, positioning yourself in the surf line up, as well as gaining an edge on the competition in your next race.
Step 1: Gain Speed
The first step into performing a successful buoy turn is to gain as much speed as you can before getting to the buoy so that you have enough stability on your board for the turn.
Step 2: Shift Weight To Tail
Once you get to the buoy, you're going to want to shift your weight to the tail of your board, getting the nose of the board out of the water. Two different techniques that you can try to get to the tail of the board quickly and efficiently are to cross-step back to the tail, which should take about 2-3 steps, or, you can do a quick shuffle of your feet back to the tail.
Note: Once you're on the tail, keep your weight on your back foot but make sure that you have your upper body leaning forward and over your front foot.
Step 3: Turn Board Around Buoy
After your weight has been shifted to the tail of the board and you make your move to go around the buoy, take your paddle and push away from your board, but not pushing all the way back to your feet because that will cause you to loose balance. Take a couple of strokes, it should help you stay balanced while making the turn.
Note: Once you get more comfortable doing the buoy turns, you can begin to keep your paddle close to you and next to the board and swing it all the way around behind the tail of your board. This will allow your board to turn faster around the buoy with less strokes.
Tip: Keep your blade deep in the water so you have good traction when turning the board around.
Step 4: Return To Center Of Board
After making the turn around the buoy, you're going to need to get your body back to the center of the board. There are two different ways you can approach this. One way is to first bring your back foot up and then your front foot, walking towards the center. The other way, which is used more in racing, is to take a quick hop back to the center of the board.
So with these short and easy steps, you should be a master of the buoy turn in no time! One important thing to remember is to never be afraid of falling into the water. Becoming a master of the buoy turn takes a lot of practice, skill and effort and it is impossible to get better without falling into the water from time to time.
To see the full video demonstration, watch the video below.