surfsup: As with any water sport, it's important that you understand how to reduce stress and trauma on your body . The most common but easy mistake to make by those just starting out is to hold the paddle incorrectly. This isn’t just poor technique; it could actually cause you to get injured. The paddle blade has to move the right way and should slope at an angle from you. By doing this, you will achieve a smoother stroke and cause much less stress on your shoulders and elbows. Stroke technique is one of the most important ways you can reduce injury, while also being able to successfully propel yourself forward. You’ll find that some paddles are entirely straight, and you can then use the paddle to dig into the water and then push yourself forward. Some paddles, however, have a bend in the shaft, called the elbow, and you can use this as a pivot to keep your lower hand steady while using your top hand to make most of the movement. This will also reduce how much twisting is needed by straight paddles.