Don’t be a slut, and other paddling tips

bad paddling

There is an epidemic sweeping our beaches. It’s called Stationary Paddling Syndrome. Sadly it seems to afflict mainly female surfers. Victims of the syndrome are often unaware they even have the condition. Sufferers can be spotted because they don’t move very much when they paddle.  They don’t catch many waves, and their paddling resembles a flapping, splashing motion. Luckily this syndrome is treatable and people can make a full recovery. Here are ten top tips if you think you suffer from this terrible affliction…

  • Keep your head still.  Remember that the head is a heavy part of the body so keep your nose directly over the stringer
  • Make sure you are lying on the sweet spot (ie slap bang in the middle) of the board with your belly button on the stringer. If you’re too far forward or too far back on the board you can have the paddling ability of Michael Phelps but you’ll still suck
  • No slutty paddling. Keep your legs and feet together. Your mother was right. If you have your feet apart and off the board they’ll act like anchors and slow you down.
  • Boobs off the board. Gently arch your back to keep your chest and shoulders up, but don’t strain the neck.  Keep the neck relaxed.
  • Active body. It’s not a Sunday picnic. Engage your core and your butt.  Imagine that someone is trying to stick a toothbrush up your ass.
  • Use your lats, these are the big muscles in your back. Stop thinking of paddling as something you just do with your arms independent of the body. That’s a big no no. The roots of your arm are situated deep within the back
  • Keep your elbow high when the hand enters the water, like a spear.  Don’t drop the elbow too much during the pull
  • Make sure you’re getting your whole forearm into the water.  Don’t do the fairy taps (fairy taps are when a surfer only gets their hands into the water)
  • Feel the resistance of the water against your arms.  Grip it.  It’s not like paddling through butter, imagine instead that it’s molasses or setting concrete. Feel the burn baby
  • Fingers held loosely together
  • Don’t paddle like a t rex dinasour, or a typist at a computer. Make sure your paddles are looonnnnggg.
  • Remember to breathe. Especially when you’re paddling to the outside. Blow it out on the exhalations.
  • If you are on a shortboard put your head down when you are paddling to catch a wave, this will help you drop in
  • When you’re paddling to catch a wave make sure you make a good paddling face. This is not the time to try to look like a supermodel in an Estee Lauder facial crème advert. Your paddling face should be committed, warrior-like, focused and not pretty.

Sorry, that was more than 10 tips, but I feel quite strongly on this issue.  A website that has some really interesting ideas on the subject is http://www.surfingpaddling.com  I highly recommend it. They also have a great youtube channel.

2 Comments

  1. Natalie

    Your website is EPIC! So glad I found it. I´m tempted so send you a photo of my determined paddling face – one of the few things I´ve always done right ;-). I follow you on facebook as well but I use my hubby´s account, I hope you don´t mind. Cheers, Natalie from Southland, NZ

    Liked by 1 person

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