The importance of correct paddling technique
Good paddling skills will allow you to catch the wave early and thus having more time to make the take off smoothly. Bad paddling on the other hand, will result in late, more critical take offs that will reduce dramatically your success rate as a beginner.
How to paddle correctly?
It all starts with our positioning on the board. The best indicator to know your are lying in the right position is to feel the tip of your toes touching the end of the surfboard. Since the water are liquid surface, even when we’re in position we often need to adjust our body according to the ever changing surface. We do it simply by uplifting the chest using the lower back muscles if we want to bring the nose up, or putting the chest weight down if we want to apply down force.
At the normal position, your chest should be held up and your eyesight forward. At first, you need to send your arm straight forward above the water parallel to the rails of the board. When your arm is stretched forward you dig it in the water and push hard all the way along the board until it comes off the water near your waist. Then, you bring your bring your arm forward again in what look like a half circle until your arm is stretched forward again, ready for another stroke.
- Keep your finger close tight and your hand in a spoon shape. Your hand is your paddle. If we let water go through our hand we loose the momentum generated from the stroke and we won’t be able to move forward quickly enough.
- Bring your hand around horizontally and not vertically relatively to the water. This will help you generate faster strokes and get good paste. Unlike swimming, where our hands are going in a vertical circles, when surfing the board help us to float which allow us to move the hand horizontally to the water, save energy and paddle faster.
- Legs close together and straight. In order to generate speed and maintain the energy from your paddling, you must make your body work as one unit. Sometimes, beginners try to compensate on the lack of balance by spreading the legs and try to use them as a stabilizer. Forcing yourself to keep your legs tight and straight will help you strengthen your paddle muscles quicker and get into surfing shape.
- Use your legs paddle power for extra push. Sometimes in order to match your paddling speed to the wave’s speed, you’ll need to use your legs to give you an extra push. Remember, even though we’re using the leg to add another paddle power, we always keep it tight and straight.