Paddle Battle – Episode #1

With spring approaching, that means the weather is going to finally warm up and provide us with some epic conditions to learn how to surf. I have had so many people around me recently try to pick up surfing and unfortunately haven’t been able to stay motivated because it’s a tough, multi-facet sport and the frustrations of repetitive wipe-outs or hold downs underwater have driven them away.

The other issue is paddling…

I have probably taken this skill for granted because of a background of Surf Lifesaving and body boarding/surfing since very young age, but most people find this a very difficult skill to master. My next few blogs are going to be surrounded around paddling technique and how to improve this skill.

Let’s break down the different global components of surfing:

  • Paddling for re-positioning or to maintain position in line-up

  • Sitting on the board waiting

  • Paddling for a wave

  • Standing up on the wave

  • Being underwater (duckdive or wipe-out)

Now think about which components you spend most time doing throughout an entire session of surfing. Definitely the paddling component! So it makes sense that there should be a great emphasis on improving this aspect, because you could literally be spending 80% of a 2-hour surf performing this skill.

The first part of improving paddling starts with getting that positioning on the board right where you aren’t too far forward that the nose of the board is submerged but also not too far back where the board is almost perpendicular to the ocean. These common mistakes lead to poor paddling efficiency, because they create increased drag through the water. The optimal positioning is very much dependant on the board you ride and your size and shape but I want to take you through a simple way of finding the right position!

Identify if too far forward or back:

  1. Hands out in front, head down

If the board begins to nosedive and you feel like you will slide forward than you need to shift your body weight back until you maintain relatively horizontal in this position.

  1. Hands down by side, head down

If your legs begin to sink down into the water and the nose of the board breaches the water excessively than you need to shift your body forward on the board until it remains relatively horizontal in this position.

That is the very beginner stage to improve paddling with two simple tests! This can make the world of difference, and trust me I have seen some interesting paddling techniques out there and the one thing they have in common is that they don’t last. Change/Adapt or quit!

Are you a surfer, or wanting to get in to surfing? Book in to see Simon today for his expert help - book online here, or call us on (08) 9448 2994.

#surfing #surf #paddling

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