SUP River Ferry with Nikki Gregg

Nikki Gregg, professional stand up paddle athlete and all around expert when it comes to whitewater SUP, shows us how to safely ferry a SUP across a river. Check out Nikki's profile on SUP Connect.


Check out the SUP Fitness with Nikki Gregg instructional video.



Step 1: Set your ferry angle



Step 2: Tilt rail of SUP downstream



- Set ferry angle at about 45 degrees
- Get speed up as you exit the eddy
- Tilt rail of SUP downstream
- Always look where you want to go
- Maintain ferry angle across the river

The SUP River Ferry

Ferrying is a technique used to cross a river without losing ground or proceeding downstream. When performing a river ferry you move laterally across the river using the oncoming current to maneuver yourself sideways.

This is a basic yet critical skill to learn for stand up paddling in the river. This technique will give the paddler the ability to avoid dangerous obstacles downstream or help catch a river wave.

To perform a SUP river ferry, you will need to learn to control and maneuver your board using the oncoming current. There are two very important steps to this technique:

Step 1: Set your ferry angle

As you paddle out of the eddy into the swift-moving current, it is important to turn the nose of your board so that it is pointed upstream towards the opposite side of the river. Set and maintain a proper angle before exiting the eddy. This is generally about 45 degree but in stronger currents you will need to point the nose even farther upstream.

Caution: If the nose of your board is at too much of an angle, the current will grab the nose of your board and instantly turn you downstream.

Step 2: Tilt the rail of your board downstream

As you cross the eddy line pay special attention to the edges of your board. As you paddle into the current you want to have slightly more weight on the downstream rail, that way the upstream rail will be lifted out of the water and the oncoming current will flow under your board.

Caution: If the upstream rail of your board is too far in the water, the oncoming current will catch the rail and flip you over into the water.


  • Set your ferry angle at about 45 degrees
  • Get your speed up as you exit the eddy
  • Tilt the rail of your board downstream
  • Always look where you want to go
  • Maintain ferry angle across the river using correctional strokes

Remember: Practice the SUP river ferry technique in calmer water before attempting in a swifter current.

About Nikki Gregg
Nikki Gregg is a standup paddle fitness expert and owner of NRG Lifestyle Fitness Training. With years of experience as a personal trainer and now being one of the world's greatest ambassadors for women SUP, she offers keen insights on the fitness aspect of standup paddling and is one of the biggest proponents for taking fitness classes out of the "gym" and onto standup paddle boards, where the dynamics of the water and the beauty of the environment make it for a much more effective and motivating body trimming experience.


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Last modified onSaturday, 17 January 2015 21:26
Morgan Becker

After spending the first part of her life in Minnesota, Morgan traded in her snow boots for sandals and moved to sunny California. After graduating with a degree in Communication from The University of Southern California, she eventually made her way down south to San Diego and is taking advantage of the living by the best beaches and burritos California has to offer. If it’s sunny, you can find her at the beach relaxing, or exploring the calm water in the bay via paddleboards and kayaks.

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