SurfinShape Paddling Technique

3 Techniques to keep in mind when paddling the SurfinShape Board so that you can lower your chances of injury when using it.

In this video on SurfinShape Paddling Technique, I discuss three key techniques to keep in mind when paddling the SurfinShape Board so that we can lower our chance of injury when using it.

1: Enter 8-12 inches (or 20-30 cm) in front of your face.  A slight bend in the elbow is a good visual cue that you are entering around this zone.  Entering here allows us to use our rotator cuff muscles the way they are meant to be used.  A test to see if you are entering in the right location is to see if you can raise your elbow prior to entering the water.  If you can’t raise it to at least 30 degrees, you’ve reached too far.  Enter sooner.

2: Avoid pushing down upon entry.  Pushing down sends us up, not forward.  Pushing down also places undue stress on the elbow and rotator cuff.  The hand and forearm need to reach the Front Propulsive Phase before any force is applied.  Either send the hand and forearm straight to the Front Propulsive Phase immediately upon entering, OR let the hand and forearm drop naturally into this position.  This will depend on whether you are practicing your efficiency stroke, or your power stroke as well as whether you are practicing your shortboard technique, or your longboard and shortboard sprint technique.  Here’s an outline in case you’re not sure: Shortboard efficiency stroke = low entry angle, glide forward underwater, let the hand and forearm drop naturally.  Shortboard power stroke, Longboard efficiency and Longboard power stroke = medium entry angle, no glide underwater, straight to the Front Propulsive Phase. 

3: Progressively Apply Force Backward.  Applying force backwards sends us forward.  However, avoid pushing as hard as you can in the beginning of the stroke.  A progressively applied force curve will yield the best results in the correct direction.  In other words, you’ll move fast in the forward direction with the highest efficiency and effectiveness.  Just like how a car has different gears, you too should shift from low gears to high given the speed you are moving.  You can practice gears 1 through 3 with no bucket attached.  Practice gears 4 through 6 with the bucket attached.  Remember, do not apply all of your force immediately.  Progressively apply force as you move through the underwater armstroke. 

With these three key techniques, you will avoid most of the damage that can be caused due to improper paddling technique.  If you’re interested in more techniques or are having shoulder or paddling issues that these do not correct, feel free to contact me.

See you in the water!

SurfinShape Product Review

In this SurfinShape Product Review video, I took a look at the SurfinShape “O” Model and the “W” Model and put them through the paces.  

A breakdown of the video:

00:00 Intro

00:28 What comes with the Board

01:30 “O” Model test, no bucket

02:50 Thoughts on the test

03:30 Installing the bucket

04:22 Guesses on how it will perform

05:05 “O” Model test, with bucket

05:40 Thoughts on the test and comparisons to other resistance tools

09:32 “W” Model no bucket expectations and predictions

10:18 “W” Model test, no bucket

10:50 Thoughts on the test

12:13 Installing the bucket on the “W” model (no different than the “O” model)

13:13 “W” Model test, with bucket

13:42 Thoughts on the test and comparison to the “O” Model.

14:53 Summary and Recommendation


If you have any questions regarding this SurfinShape Product Review, feel free to contact me.  

See you in the water…


PSA on Using Resistance Tools for Paddling

In this PSA on Using Resistance Tools for Paddling, I discuss the different tools you can use to work on technique and fitness for improving your paddling as well as an important warning

It’s important to use Resistance Training Tools Safely.  There are several different resistance tools you can use to improve surfing paddling technique and paddling fitness, and there are pros and cons to using each tool.  However, across all of the tools, there is one very important safety measure you should take so that you don’t injure yourself while using the tools.  

That important safety measure is to “level down” your effort.  More is explained in the video…

Hope this helps.  As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me

See you in the water!

stretching for surfing

Improve Your Next Surf – The Best Way to Improve Your Surfing For Tomorrow

and the day after that, and the day after that…

There is no way you are doing this. It’s the #1 technique to improve your next surf, and I never see anyone doing it.


Thank You So Much for watching!

Please, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me!  

And go ahead and forward this onto anyone you think it could help. 

See you in the water!

– Rob

Want some more information on the XSWIM Surfing and Paddling Training Program?  Check it out here…




New XSWIM Surfing Workout – Leg Day!

new surfing workout leg day

Sometimes, you just have to mix it up with your surfing workout.  This day was our second time out trying to dial in the right wake.  While we were working on that, we took a few cracks at it.  

By the end, my legs were toast!  Funny how a few dozen bottom turns and off the tops will wear you out.  

When we talk about building long term strength and muscle memory, it’s all about repeating a motion (correctly) over an extended period of time until our brain skips a step.  When learning something new, the brain takes two steps to get the body to react.  Over time, through perfect repetition, it reduces that to one step.  

This is most likely a human adaptation for survival – the brain is realizing that the things we do repetitively might be important so it tries to speed it up.  

Unfortunately, with surfing, we get few chances to repeat a motion.  That’s why workouts like this, skateboarding, snowboarding, and other similar environments provide us with this chance to repeat a motion over and over again.  Are wavepools the future of surfing?  Maybe not all of surfing, but definitely for technique and practice.  

Last point I want to make – most people quit their workout routines shortly after starting.  Why?  It gets hard!  

Enjoy to the burn.  Meaning, enjoy the struggle, take satisfaction in how much working out sometimes sucks.  You’ll have to take this mindset from time to time this to get through it.  Then, when you’re done, you’ll feel great about the fact that you completed it.  Use this as motivation for next time.

In summary:

  • Repetition helps us with long term motor learning – but be sure to use good technique – the brain doesn’t care about the quality.
  • Bring some fun into your workouts – play games, challenge yourself/friends
  • Mix it up – do something different – skateboard, snowboard, wakeboard, bodysurf, etc.
  • To motivate you to go – think about how good you felt at the end of your last surfing workout.
  • To motivate you during the workout – “embrace the suck” This is a Green Beret motto.  Success doesn’t come easy.  Most of the journey sucks.  Know this and embrace it.
  • To motivate you when you think you’re done – Navy Seal 40% rule.  When you think you can’t go any further, you’ve only used 40% of what you have in the tank!  That’s right.  It’s all mental from then on.  Take a minute rest and do a little more.  Then rest and do more.  Then rest and do more.  Keep going until you’ve blown your mind!  Your body can always keep going.  Your mind is what stops you.  Don’t let it!

Have FUN!!




surfing fitness challenge

Challenge Equals Change – Surfing Fitness Workouts

How many of you have a hard time getting motivated to go work out, when the workout is so monotonous?  Surfing fitness is sometimes like that. We’d so much rather just go surf, or skate, or do anything but work out. 

XSWIM Workouts mix up that monotony of a normal workout.  And just sometimes we need that extra motivation.  

We need that extra motivation to affect change.  And the only way to get your blood pumping with the competitive fire within yourself is to challenge yourself.  Put yourself in uncomfortable situations and do the best you can to overcome that feeling.  

It is only in the defeat of the things you are uncomfortable with do you grow.  Sometimes you overcome it right off the bat.  And sometimes it takes time.  But you can’t grow without trying. 

Challenge Equals Change…

surfing duck diving

Duck Diving – John John Style

John John is one creative dude.  This is one of the most innovative techniques and workouts I’ve ever seen.  After trying it a few times, it’s really a lot of fun.  

Go ahead, try it out!  







favorite surfing workout

My Favorite XSWIM Surfing Workout – It Hurts So Good

Someone asked me the other day what my favorite surfing workout in the XSWIM program is.  I really enjoy the XFIT advanced workouts, but I had to answer with one of the first workouts I created just because of a swim set that I love so much.

I named the swim set “All You Can Eat 50s” and you can find it in the Test workouts (#2 of 5).  We start with a solid warm up of swimming with core work in between swim sets (crunches, scissors, heel ups, bicycle crunches, and elbow plank).  Then we get into a combined Endurance and Agility section – the All You Can Eat 50s set.  Here’s how it works so you can try it on your own (be sure to warm up / warm down and do not add any additional rest once you have started the set):

Continue reading “My Favorite XSWIM Surfing Workout – It Hurts So Good”

Mark Occhilupo makes a comment swimming surfing

Occy Comments on Swimming Surfing Connection

I couldn’t resist posting this. Surfing Legend Mark Occhilupo (Occy) makes a comment in his telecast regarding how he thinks the best swimmers make the best paddlers. Thanks Occ.



surfing paddling fitness and duck diving

Surfing Fitness Techniques for the Average Surfer

Are pro surfers just lazy?  Of course not.

The reason they use Jet Ski Assist in the Billabong Rio Pro contest is for the benefit of the audience.  It was boring watching them struggle in the old days.

But we are not pro surfers, and we do not have Jet Ski Assist.  So how do we get to enjoy large beach break days?

In the following video, I break down one of two keys to enjoying a beach break session and provide you with a workout that you can try on your own to improve your surfing fitness.

See you in the water,