If you haven’t checked out Rob Casey’s site yet, you should. He often has good information. I liked this piece he did, so thought I would pass it on.
Paddling a SUP upwind in greater than 20kts can be a pain, unless you’re doing it intentionally to train for fitness or a race. If you’re unwilling or physically can’t sit and paddle your board like a canoe, then the most efficient method is a sailing technique called Tacking.
Tacking is essentially padding upwind in a zig zag pattern going diagonal to the wind. Tacking takes longer but prevents your body from acting like a sail trying to go upwind. By paddling diagonal, your body is going sideways reducing windage. You can do intentional diagonal angles or just let the board turn itself after paddling on one side after a few strokes, then switch hands to the other side.
Read the rest here.