Paddling A Surfboard
Paddling a surfboard is one of the KEY components to becoming a competent surfer.
Like it or not we spend the majority of our time either sitting on a surfboard or paddling a surfboard.
I sometimes think it should be called sitting & paddling with a little bit of surfing waves mixed in.
We paddle out to the lineup, we paddle against currents, we paddle to the next peak, we paddle up or down the beach, we paddle away, from, past or around other surfers, we paddle to catch waves and sometimes we paddle in.
Surfers are paddlers.
With so much time devoted to paddling a surfboard it’s a good idea to be good at it.
Paddling for the Beginner.
Here are the Basics
The first thing you must learn when learning how to paddle a surfboard is balancing and positioning your body on the board.
Positioning: By positioning we mean where you are laying down on the board.
- Lay to To far back and the nose of your board will be sticking up your legs will be under water and you will actually be pushing water and not really going anywhere. This is the most common of mistakes new surfers perform. By laying to far back on your surfboard you will have a hard time getting outside let alone catching waves.
- Lay To far forward and your nose will sink. You will be paddling towards the ocean floor and not getting anywhere. When you are to far forward you will also end up over arching your back which is not good for paddling or your back.
- New surfers tend to spread their legs out and let them hang to the side of the surfboard for better balance.
- Learn to keep your legs together. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, however learning to balance yourself while keeping your legs together will ultimately make you a faster more efficient paddler.
Tip:You have to find the spot on your board where nose and tail are evenly balanced in the water. This balancing will be dependent upon the type of surfboard you are riding. Longboards have a lot more leeway as to where the spot is and are the easiest to balance your self on while short potato chip boards being the most difficult. If you are just learning how to surf check out this page about Beginner Surfboards.
The goal is to position yourself correctly on the surfboard balancing both yourself and the surfboard so you will be smoothly planning along the surface.
Things to Do
- Keep your head up and you’re back arched.
Note: Arching your back, for new surfers is going to wear you out no matter if you are in good physical shape or not.
- The Stroke: You will find a lot of advice about Technique mostly touting the “S” stroke. Its basically making a drawn out “S”. It doesn’t have to be a perfect “S” it should feel natural yet still be functional.
- One arm after the other. Starting towards the nose of the surfboard and ending stroke near/past your hips. Your arm/hand will be fully extended in front of you, as you perform your stroke try to keep your arm as close to the board as possible. To far away from the board and you won’t get the maximum amount of power.
- Dig deep and smooth. Use your arm and not just your hands.
- Do not slap at the water with your hand when begging your stroke. It should enter smoothly.
- Keep your fingers close together but not forced, it should feel natural, form a slight cup with your hand. DO NOT Let Your finger splay out.
- Relax your body and breathe
The Best Way To Learn How To Paddle A Surfboard Is To Paddle A Surfboard.
- Watch more experienced surfers paddle see how the position themselves when paddling out to the lineup and when paddling to catch a wave.
Becoming A Better Paddler
- Paddling is one of the most strenuous parts of surfing. So being in Surf Shape is one trick to becoming a better paddler. This means conditioning those muscles that are used when paddling: arms, shoulders, back, core.
If you are looking to get into good paddling/surf shape this is a great program for beginners and longtime surfers alike. CHECK IT OUT HERE! You will be paddling around others in no time, beating out the pack for the peak or getting back outside to the lineup quicker. which means MORE WAVES!
- Another thing to consider to become a better paddler is keeping your muscles stretched out, nothing like cramping up when an outside set is looming down on you..
Yoga is good for this. This is a yoga program developed specifically for surfers that we have found great if your into getting the most out of your surf sessions.CHECK OUT YOGA FOR SURFERS HERE.