5 TIPS FOR PADDLING
Mastering wave catching starts with efficient paddling, because if you can’t properly position yourself at the point where the force of the wave catches you, even the best stand up technique won’t get you very far. In this article, we will explore five essential keys that will allow you to always be in the optimal position and obtain the necessary power to initiate your stand-up successfully.
- Perfect Position on the Board:
The first step is to observe how your board floats and how you are positioned on it:
Your body should be located both longitudinally and transversally in the center of the table. Being too far forward will cause the tip to sink. Getting too far back will slow you down and make the lift difficult. Find your ideal position and remember it with the position of your hands on the board.
- Efficient Paddling Technique:
The rowing technique is similar to the front crawl in swimming and allows you to maintain a steady pace. We differentiate three key moments:
- Entry into the water: Throw the arm towards the nose of the board at a suitable angle so that the hand enters first, then the wrist, the forearm and finally the elbow and arm.
- Stroke: Keep your hand relaxed and let your wrist drop slightly downward. As you move forward, bend your elbow and push off the back of the board. It’s like you’re swimming in the water, but instead of sliding, you’re sliding your board!
- Getting out of the water: When it’s time to get out of the water, don’t forget to keep your elbow high. When removing your hand, do so at hip height. That way you’ll be ready for the next stroke!
- Relaxed in the rowing:
Avoid cupping your fingers when paddling, as this adds tension and drift. Keep your fingers loose and apart to avoid resistance from the water during the stroke.
- Balanced Paddling Pace:
The key is finding the right way to paddle and making the most of every push to go further. What you need is a smooth but steady stroke, so you’ll be making the most of your energy and avoiding tiring yourself out too quickly.
Imagine that you are on that board, in the middle of the waves, and you want to reach the perfect point to catch the best one. Instead of paddling like crazy, focus on that mechanic of the paddling. One stroke after another, keeping that steady pace. You will see how your board begins to advance efficiently!
Remember, it’s not about the number of strokes, it’s about the quality of each one.
- Select your waves:
Do not try to paddle in all the waves, choose the best ones and look for the exact point so that the energy of the wave takes you and you can surf it. You can paddle laterally, Ideal on beaches with several peaks to move and find the highest section. Or you can paddle explosively, powerfully to match the speed of the wave. Angle your wrist down more, lower your shoulders, and bring your weight forward to lift your tail off the board.
If your challenge is catching waves after a successful paddle to the peak, focus all your energy on the first part of the stroke for quick acceleration. Raise the front of your body for leverage, throw your hands forward, and pull hard.
If you want to learn to surf safely, do not hesitate to join us in Huanchaco, Peru. The Urcia Surf School team awaits you to take you out to sea.