In addition to keeping your wrists in a flat or neutral position along with proper posture and framing, paddle grip is also vitally important.
You want to have a solid grip on the paddle for both your upper and lower arms. Some paddlers try to get more forward angle by having a slightly loose lower grip. However, this “trick” is no trick at all: a loose grip can have a negative effect on the ability to transfer power from your body and through the paddle into the water to propel the boat forward.
Another thing to avoid: don’t suggest you’re at a tea party! Some paddlers leave their “pinky” fingers extended. Be aware of that if you’re one of them, and leave that for tea time. 🙂
For the top hand, we want to make sure that it is placed right in the middle of the paddle grip so that any downward force is applied directly down the paddle shaft, rather than tipping the handle to the left or right. The same thing applies to the lower hand as well. You want to have a nice neutral wrist angle and not too much of a bend.
As you paddle, you start to develop calluses on your hands. These, in some ways, can tell you if you have the right grip. If your calluses occur on the middle of your hand, you’re doing it right. If they appear elsewhere on your hand, you’ll want to adjust your grip.