Paddling a SUP in windy weather can be an exercise in frustration to those new to the sport. One moment you're blazing downwind, another you are struggling to return to your launch point. Here's a few tips on paddling in tougher conditions that will work for you!
Paddling in a sitting position is a great way to overcome the wind as well as rest your calf muscles. Kneeling on your knees and sitting cross legged will make things a lot easier. Grip lower on the paddle and you can move the board much like a canoe. If you brought a cooler with you on the board, this is a great opportunity to use it as a seat while paddling.
Positioning yourself higher up towards the front of the board will keep it from catching the wind. Often when paddling upwind you will hear the front of the board "slapping" the water. This will slow down your board as you head into the wind. By bringing your weight towards the front, you can reduce the amount of slapping your board makes.
If you are paddling with a larger surface area blade, it will catch a lot of wind after you pull out of every stroke. To alleviate this, you can use your top wrist to twist the edge of the blade towards the wind. Those familiar with feathering your blade in kayaking will realize this concept. By doing this you will lose less speed as you pull the blade out of the water.
Paddling a SUP into the wind is a great workout, comparable to pedaling your road bike up a steep hill. That being said, by taking small steps you can make your paddling session that much more efficient. Imagine how good it will feel when you come back down wind!