Lack of progression and fatigue leads to frustration which then leads to an unpleasant lineup. Nobody wants that. The first step in thwarting this downward spiral is to improve your entire surfing experience, from the pre-surf ritual, paddling out, deciding on a spot to surf, making adjustments, choosing the wave for you, riding with flow, kicking out, sharing with others, and finally exiting the water to talk story with others afterwards. At its root, to have more fun means to improve. It doesn't matter where you start in this journey of progression, from novice to pro, you can always improve and enjoy the experience of surfing just a little ... bit ... more.
Have you ever paddled as hard as you can for a wave and felt like you weren’t really going anywhere? It’s a high likelihood that your paddle strokes slipped.
Slipping is like a car spinning it’s wheels. Uses a lot of energy, but doesn’t move you forward very far.
You still move forward, but only from one of the two types of propulsion you are able to tap into.
Check out this video that explains what slipping is and why it's so important to prevent it.
Feel free to reach out to schedule a Level 1 or Level 2 paddling technique course! Looking forward to hearing from you.
A few clients turned me on to Brad Gerlach’s Wave Ki. They were finding that their surfing felt like it was improving after embarking on Brad's surfing guidance so I wanted to check it out to see what it was like.
I must state that the following review is not influenced by any referral fee, affiliate payout, or similar. This is my own opinion of Brad’s program based on my experience. Brad and I have spoken on the phone about how important it is to spread the word of what we do with genuine passion. This was after I had begun my journey in Wave Ki and was captivated by the results I was getting.
I'm a little over a year in. This is my honest opinion and experience with Wave Ki.
What is Wave Ki?
Wave Ki is a land-based practice similar to movement practice one might experience in martial arts. Barry Green has talked about treating surfing as a practice – something to be consistently working on with...
I’ve luckily been to the Kelly Slater Surf Ranch ten times now, almost all of them as a coach or analyst. The first few were as a consultant for WSL/KSWC to analyze why surfers were missing waves. After studying the problem and providing clear solutions, the performance training plan in which my paddling training was going to be apart of was tabled. But those experiences sparked an idea.
What if I could provide takeoff and paddling training BEFORE surfers arrived at the Surf Ranch? Would that increase their chances of making waves?
Those questions lived in my brain the next few times I had been invited to the Surf Ranch as an assistant coach, an extra resource to the surfers on the trip. As I provided on-site training, I kept asking myself how effective would a pre-visit training course be and how could I measure it?
My next step was a bit obsessive. I began compiling data. When I was brought in by WSL, they had collected all of...
Like many of us, I have several boards in my quiver that I either don’t use anymore, or use only on occasion. Their yellow glow of degrading foam shines bright in my garage pleading to hit the salt water again.
I thought about selling them, but then put myself in the buyer’s shoes. I wouldn’t want this old, yellowing potato chip board.
And, I’m somewhat attached to them sentimentally, as I have gotten great waves on each one. My memory holds onto those moments, and won't let me get rid of the craft I used.
So what is a surfer to do?
While eyeing my sons on their devices, wasting the day away indoors on games that have no positive social benefits, I had an idea. An awful idea. I got a wonderful, awful idea.
Feeling my creative side growing, I proposed we give four of my surfboards a new look. They were, let’s say, kind of game for it.
My plan was that it would take one day to paint...
I’m a paddling coach. I don’t teach how to surf better on a wave. But I have seen immense improvement in my own surfing progression whenever I follow these two simple steps. When I lose these steps, usually when life gets in the way, it’s easy enough to follow these steps to get back on track.
So here they are – How to Surf Like a Pro in Two Simple Steps -
STEP 1 Spend more time surfing
Taj Burrow was quoted saying “the only different between me and you is that I’ve surfed more than you”.
Like Skateboarding, Snowboarding, Wakeboarding, heck riding a bike, Surfing is a “feel” sport. Your brain needs to make a connection for each movement in a variety of combinations. Surfing is much harder to make that connection because the canvas changes each time you ride a wave. Your brain has to work even harder than sports like skateboarding where you can make the same movement on the same...
This past month I was fortunate to be asked to coach at the Surf Ranch again, this time with Barry Green, head coach at Centered Surfing in Santa Cruz.
I am always in awe of the Kelly Slater Surf Ranch experience. In a place in which a surfer benefits with more waves when someone falls, no one is ever rooting for someone to fall. In fact, the majority of the behavior I see are surfers spreading aloha to each other.
When a surfer falls, but the next surfer can't go because of the timing, I don't often see that next surfer complain. Rather, I see that surfer cheer on the surfer that fell, propping them up rather than putting them down. I've even heard surfers call the next person down the line to go, and surfers giving away priority waves to other surfers.
Maybe it's the groups I've had the chance to go with, maybe it's the culture radiating from the surf guides and safety team, or maybe it's just luck, but I've seen very...
Which provides more propulsion when paddling - a straight hand or a cupped hand?
In this Paddling Mythbusting episode, I share a simple experiment I conducted to determine whether a cupped hand or a straight hand provides more propulsive force.
Let me know if you have any questions.
Until then, I'll see you in the water!
Back again with another Paddling Mythbusting episode. Today, we’re going to investigate whether pushing water up at the end of the stroke is helpful or not.
I know, it definitely sounds and feels like it does something. But does it really? Let's find out...
Thank you so much for watching and I hope this helps.
photo: Sabine Dukes
One of our very own Surfing Paddling community members paddled the Catalina Classic (again) this month. And boy, was this year a tough one. That crossing is a difficult paddle even in the best of conditions, but this year’s race was particularly challenging.
Here is Brian’s story of perseverance and sheer grit from his own first-person account:
This August I had the great privilege to compete in my 3rd Catalina Classic 32 Mile Paddle Board Race (https://catalinaclassicpaddleboardrace.com/). This race has a long and storied history, dating back to Tom Blake and two others paddling from Palos Verdes to Catalina Island in 1932. The current form of the race started in 1955, lead by Bob Hogan, and would start on the isthmus (Two Harbors) on Catalina and end on the south side of the Manhattan Beach Pier. This year, 2021, saw the 44th edition of the race in this format.
After the race, I wrote up about 5 pages on this year's...
Sometimes, the best plan is a backup plan.
As surfers we learn to be adaptable. Tide changes, we adapt. Peak shifts, we notice. The goal is always the same - find that wave riding feeling.
This past month a few friends and I had planned a trip and those plans went to hell in a handbasket. So, we had to pivot, and it turned out to be one hell of a ride.
Mike, Andy, Kevin, Travis and myself had planned out a three day boat surfing trip at a location renowned for good water all day. The campsite was booked, the boat prepped, itinerary set. But then the Caldor fire in the Tahoe National Forest smoked us out.
The air quality forecast was unhealthy for the days we had planned to go. What to do then? Chance it, and hope the forecast was bunk? The wind forecast is notoriously inaccurate when there are wildfires.
With two from our group inbound via car and plane, we had to make a decision. Lucky for us, that dead wind that forecasted the poor air quality was perfect for a local surf...
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