The Journey Towards Having More FUN Surfing

Surfing means different things to different people, but should always remain at its core

Fun

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.  

 

Revamp Your Old Quiver

surfing Mar 20, 2022

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...

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How to Surf Like a Pro in Two Simple Steps

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...

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Spreading Aloha at the Surf Ranch

surf trip Dec 15, 2021

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...

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Paddling Mythbusting - Straight or Cupped Hand

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!

Learn more paddling technique in the Level 1 online course or come visit me for the full Level 1 or Level 2 paddling technique courses. 

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Paddling Mythbusting – Pushing Up at the End of the Stroke?

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. 

If you like this, check out the Level 1 online course or come visit me for the full Level 1 or Level 2 paddling technique courses. 

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32 Miles...And a Lot of Grit

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...

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Plan B - A Surf Story

boat surfing surf trip Sep 27, 2021

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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Pain in the Elbow? Is Paddling Technique Causing It...or Not?

I’ve heard a common complaint from surfers that has something to do with elbow pain.  Many ask if there is a certain paddling technique that aggravates a discomfort they might feel in the elbow. 

There are a few incorrect paddling movements that might be the cause of the pain.  And there are a few activities that have nothing to do with paddling which are more often a primary cause of the pain in the elbow.

This video investigates elbow pain when paddling. Where could it come from? And how to prevent/recover from it.

Enjoy!

 

Want to help another surfer?  Become a Paddling SUPPORTER for only $3/month!  Your contribution helps keep these resources free for those that can't afford the more personal and customized training.  When more surfers are using better paddling technique, there is less fatigue, and therefore less frustration in the lineup.  Win-win for everyone!  

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Steady Head Reduces Drag and Adds Power

How well do you rotate along your long axis, from your head to your feet, when paddling?  It's such a subtle technique, but as you'll see in this video, critical to reducing drag, increasing propulsion, and reducing potential injury when paddling. 

Hope you enjoy!  Let me know if you have any questions!  

 

Want to help another surfer?  Become a Paddling SUPPORTER for only $3/month!  Your contribution helps keep these resources free for those that can't afford the more personal and customized training.  When more surfers are using better paddling technique, there is less fatigue, and therefore less frustration in the lineup.  Win-win for everyone!  

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Paddling Mythbusting - Enter Thumb First...Or Not?

Ever been told that you should enter the water with your thumb first to cut drag?  Did you ever wonder if that was okay?

In this paddling technique Mythbusting episode, we break down whether or not there's an advantage to entering thumb first or not. We discuss impacts to shoulder injuries and efficiency of movement of one paddling technique over another.

Hope you enjoy.

If you did, and you think this might help a friend of yours, please feel free to share it.

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