The Journey Towards Having More FUN Surfing

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


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.  


From Bog To Barrel

The science behind repetitive practice is sound.  We all understand this.  But few of us implement it effectively

It’s not just that practice makes perfect.  It’s really more that perfect practice makes perfect

A wonderful case study supporting this is my client, and (I’m honored to now say) friend, Tim.  Tim was dedicated to improving his surfing at the end of last year.  The progress he felt after his first boat session last August was enough for him to go “all in” by getting the Sunset 8-session Pass for the following season (2020).  His plan was to commit to learning small technical changes that paid huge dividends in the ocean.  And it worked.  Big time. 

This is Tim’s story, from his own mouth (picture timeline of his progression below)

“Man, where to start?  First off, boat surfing every few weeks over the summer during COVID was a lifesaver.  50-minute drive...


Paddling Mythbusting - You Have to Paddle As Hard As You Can to Go FAST

Do you ever feel like when you paddle hard, you don’t really go as far as you thought you would, or anywhere at all? 

A lot of surfers who take my paddling technique course say that they were taught by their good surfing buddy to paddle hard.  So let’s investigate this.  Does paddling harder lead to moving faster? 

In this video we investigate whether this myth is true, how to avoid wasted energy use, how to apply more force, and what it is we actually feel in the water when we take a stroke.  

Hope you enjoy!

 If you have any questions, I'm just an email away.  

Interested in the Level 1 or Level 2 Paddling Technique Courses?  Learn more here.

In the meantime, I'll see you in the water!


Paddling Mythbusting - You Have to Paddle as Fast as the Wave is Moving

I have heard it before.  In order to catch the wave, you have to paddle as fast (or faster) than the wave is moving.  But is this true?  Or another paddling myth?  

Find out how fast waves are moving, how fast surfers paddle, and whether or not you have to paddle as fast as the wave is moving in order to catch it.  

 Watch here:


Just wanted to say, I really enjoy hearing from you.  If you ever feel the motivation to drop me a line, please do so.  That can be if you have any questions about the paddling technique programs, or the surfing fitness programs, or even the surf technique programs.  Or even just to talk surfing.  

When I first started the Surfing Paddling Academy, I remember having a particular phone call with a surfer who had emailed me a question.  The answer to the question had a little more than an email could contain.  So I told him to call me.  I said it would only take fifteen...


This One Surf Coach Helped My Surfing Instantly

surf technique Aug 28, 2020

"One such surf technique lesson I’d learned from Clayton made such a profound impact on my surfing, I not only felt it behind the boat, but immediately upon continuing that practice in the ocean.  I had struggled with this for ages.  Sometimes I would have flashes of brilliance, but I wouldn’t know why.  As I explained this frustration with him, I could see he was ready with an answer.  And the answer that came out surprised me like no other. "

In July and August of 2018, I traveled with my family to Australia.  The idea was to conduct my Level 1 Paddling Workshops to the many surfers on my email list that hadn’t had a chance to visit me in Northern California.  It was a lofty endeavor.  Eight total workshops, two different locations, almost four weeks with two kids under 10. 

It took months of preparation contacting various venues to see if they had the set up I needed to conduct the Workshops, looking at...


Paddling Mythbusting - Reach Far or Not?

Paddling Mythbusting – Reach as Far as you can or Not? 

Another paddling mythbuster is a common mistake I see in surfers of all levels. 

Should a surfer reach as far forward as possible in each stroke, then enter and pull through?  Or should they enter their hand and arm somewhere else?

The short answer is that reaching the hand and arm as far forward as possible is not helpful.  Over-reaching causes several problems including hurting the shoulder, making it harder to catch the wave, and adding significant drag in both shortboard paddling and longboard paddling. 

Watch the video to learn more:

 As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.  I'm only an email or phone call away.  

For interest in the Level 1 Paddling Technique Course, go to the Surfing Paddling Technique services homepage here to learn more.  


Surf Stories - My First Trip to Asu July 2010

surf trip Jul 22, 2020

The side image of the set I saw pulling up to Asu for the first time in July 2010 still lives in my dreams.  Six to eight foot solid walls of crystal blue water wrapping and peeling from the top of the reef in front of me.  

Earl pulled us right up to the channel.  I watched as Earl, Samantha and JP jumped off and paddled to the takeoff zone.  Pulling out my camera, I decided it may be prudent to watch a few roll in before extracting my board.  

A lull in the action.  Seven or so surfers were already in the lineup.  "Crowded" by Asu standards.  JP, Samantha and Earl added to that but it gave me good insight into which waves to paddle for and where to sit.  But I couldn't quite see where to lineup from my vantage point to the side. 

A set reared it's head on the horizon beyond.  It began reeling down the reef, fast as a freight train, then slowed when it neared Earl.  He was positioned about fifty meters...


Muscles May Play Less of a Role in Strength Building Than Thought

surfing fitness Jul 13, 2020

By Gretchen Reynolds

When we start to lift weights, our muscles do not strengthen and change at first, but our nervous systems do, according to a fascinating new study in animals of the cellular effects of resistance training. The study, which involved monkeys performing the equivalent of multiple one-armed pullups, suggests that strength training is more physiologically intricate than most of us might have imagined and that our conception of what constitutes strength might be too narrow.

Those of us who join a gym — or, because of the current pandemic restrictions and concerns, take up body-weight training at home — may feel some initial disappointment when our muscles do not rapidly bulge with added bulk. In fact, certain people, including some women and most preadolescent children, add little obvious muscle mass, no matter how long they lift.

But almost everyone who starts weight training soon becomes able to generate more muscular force, meaning...


Paddling Mythbusting - Shallow or Deep?

I am asked quite frequently whether the hand should move shallow, underneath the board, or deep, well below the board when paddling.  Which one is more efficient?  Which one provides more power?  Which is more effective?  

In this video, we investigate whether the myth of paddling with the hand close the board and shallow is more effective than going deep.  Hope you enjoy it!

Feel free to contact me with question - I'm only an email or phone call away. 



How To Catch Waves Easily - Part 3 Kolohe Andino

Part 3 of 3 on how to catch waves easily: Kolohe Andino paddles into this wave with no stress or effort.  Kolohe’s wave is different than Mason and John John’s (from Part 1 and Part 2 of this training series), but we discuss how to adjust our strategy while using the same method to catch waves easily. 

Hope you enjoy and get something from this.  These concepts are taught in greater detail in the Level 2 Paddling Technique Course where we focus on Catching a Wave - Positioning, Timing, Sprint Technique, Pop Up, and more so that you can learn how to catch waves with ease. 


How To Catch Waves Easily - Part 2 John John Florence

Here is part 2 on how to catch waves easily: John John Florence and his ease of taking off so casually.  Here, John John takes one stroke and uses a vastly different strategy to catch this wave, but we discuss why that is.  We compare Mason's wave from Part 1 in this training series to John John's, and then in Part 3, we compare both of these to Kolohe Andino's southern California wave.  

Hope you enjoy and get something from this.  These concepts are taught in greater detail in the Level 2 Paddling Technique Course where we focus on Catching a Wave - Positioning, Timing, Sprint Technique, Pop Up, and more so that you can learn how to catch waves with ease. 

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