SUP Terminology-Non-Board Terms

Standup paddling is a unique pastime. Along with your board, there are accessories and other non-board words and terms associated with the sport. Get to know the following SUP language, and even if you are brand-new to the sport you will always sound like a seasoned pro.


This refers to paddling in the direction of a strong back wind. Downwinders post the fastest SUP speeds. This is often achieved by paddling far offshore, and then riding a downwinder back to the shore.

Board Bag

Some SUV board owners purchase a custom-made bag to store their board in. This is not a necessity, but is important for long-term storage and travel.

Paddle Fitness

Many SUP boarders enjoy performing Pilates, yoga and other physical fitness exercises while out on their board.


This is a simple one. You have to paddle your board somehow, and this is what you do it with. Paddles are offered in more shapes, sizes, materials and selections than even the many SUP boards themselves.


A quiver of boards refers to a large group of stand up paddle boards.


Fall off of your board without a leash, and you just might end up buying a brand-new board. An SUP leash attaches your ankle to your board’s leash cup. Paddle leashes are also available to keep your paddle from floating off.


A session of paddling refers to a specific period of time. An SUP boarding session may last a couple of hours, or an entire day.


This term applies to multiple water sports. A personal flotation device (PFD) is mandatory in some areas when using your SUP board.

Car Rack

This is a self-descriptive piece of equipment you can attach to your vehicle for external SUP board transportation.

Reverse Sweep Stroke

This is a particular paddle stroke used to turn your board. Place your paddle near the tail of your board, pulling forward while shifting to the paddle side of the board.

Forward Sweep Stroke

Another turning stroke, you paddle nose to tail, turning your torso to the paddle side of the board.

Side Stroke

You can turn your board by simply continuing to paddle on one side or the other. This delivers a long, arcing turn.

Back Paddle

A term which means paddling backwards. It is often times a quicker way to turn or reverse direction.

Bailing Out

No matter how proficient you are on your SUP board, you are going to have to “bail out” from time to time. This refers to falling off of your board, also called ditching.