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10 paddling tips

To be a good surfer you must possess a strong and fast paddle. By now you probably know the basics but there is always room for some effective paddling tips..

These 10 tips will help you to paddle more efficiently, prevent any waste of energy so that you catch more waves: 

1 EXERCISE

Paddling is one of the most strenuous parts of surfing. It’s tough on your arms, shoulders, core and back so try to keep these parts of your body in shape. You will improve your performance in the water and will be less prone to injury. 

2 LONG DEEP FULL STROKES

Take long smooth strokes. Fully extend your arm, go deep and make sure you complete the rotation all the way to your thighs.

3 PADDLE STROKE CLOSE TO BOARD

Try to keep your arms as close to your board for effective paddling. Kelly Slater even suggests “paddle with your stroke under your board, almost compressing water against the bottom of your board”.

4 SWITCH ON YOUR CORE

Switch on your core for extra stability. Arch your back slightly and try to implement your core strength into your paddling motion, adding more muscle and power into your stroke.

5 DON’T ROLL SHOULDERS

Minimize any rolling from side to side. Keep your body still on the board and let your shoulders and arms do the work. Don’t sway too much from side to side and keep your head still.

6 KEEP RELAXED

When paddling make sure you don’t tense up and get stressed. Relax the shoulders and don’t stiffen your facial muscles. Breathe in through your nose and focus on your technique.

7 FEEL THE TENSION

Feel the pressure of the water against your hand. You want a nice, strong feeling of tension against your hand when you paddle. That will transfer into a much stronger stroke.

surfer girl paddling out feet together

Feet together   Photo by N.Rupert

8 KEEP FEET TOGETHER

Don’t drag your feet in the water, this disturbs the flow of the board in the water. Keep your feet together on top of the board and lay evenly and balanced.

9 KICK YOUR FEET

Kicking your feet helps when you need that extra push into the wave. No need to kick for every wave only when you need that little extra propulsion.

10 CORK TECHNIQUE

This technique will gain you some momentum without having to paddle too much. Sit back on your board and lift your nose out of the water. When you want to go let the board a bit loose, frog kick your legs and you will shoot forward like a cork out of the water. Put in 2 or 3 extra paddles and off you go. 

Featured image by U.S. Geological Survey