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.  


How to Increase Paddling Power

In the Level 1 and Level 2 Paddling Technique courses I often reference “feeling water” or “holding water”.  Being able to better “feel” or “hold” water allows you to increase your Power output per stroke and therefore increase your distance per stroke efficiently. 

I use the terms “feel” and “hold” because they are good kinesthetic cues.  But they’re rather abstract descriptions for principles that are very scientific in reality. 

So in this video, I outlined some of the science behind “feeling water” and how you can improve that sensation which will in turn improve your power output per stroke:

“Feeling” and “holding” water is a combination of two things: drag forces and lift forces.  Drag forces in this case is a good thing as opposed to the drag that slows us down.  The same drag forces that slow us down allow us something you...


Shoulder Maintenance and Preparation for Dryland Paddling

surfing fitness Apr 15, 2020

After a lot of inactivity, the shoulder tend to deteriorate faster than the rest of our body simply because we aren't reaching over our heads in our daily lives all that much.  

With my foot injury, and now this shelter-in-place, I've been quite inactive, in my entire body!  But I'm slowly rehabbing the foot now (thank you to Jim and Shane).  And I'm almost ready to get back in the water.  

But before I do, I conduct these exercises to bring my shoulder back to a general baseline strength and mobility.  ESPECIALLY before any dryland paddling since dryland paddling is harsher on the shoulders than in-water paddling or swimming.  It's much easier for us to make technique mistakes when dryland paddling for fitness than it is paddling around in the lineup.  Often times we get so into the workout that we end up pushing down or pulling too soon which engages those tiny little rotator cuff muscles too much.  

There's a quite...


My Daily Routine - Water, Tea, Smoothie and Smiles

nutrition Apr 09, 2020

A peek inside my morning routine.  For fun...

I drink a lot of water throughout the day.  At least three of those bottles.

Usually I'll have a cup of Tea (Earl Grey on this morning).  Flavors vary depending on my mood.  This day I felt very much like Capt. Jean Luc Picard (I'll be pumped if you get that reference).

Smoothie: 2 mandarins (squeezed), 1 lemon (squeezed), handful of frozen mango chunks, handful of frozen pineapple chunks, 2 bananas (my favorite), handful of carrots, 2.5 handfuls of spinach, bit of coconut milk, cinnamon, and fill almost to the top with water.  Blend away and enjoy!

Alternate ingredients I've used: avocado, celery, almond milk, kale, lime, apple chunks, strawberries.  All depends on what's in the fridge...

And don't forget the most important ingredient to start your day - 

A big fat SMILE!!  

Wishing you and yours the best possible day!  Don't forget to look for laughter and joy in each day.


How To Paddle Faster - The Speed Formula

"Speed.  I am Speed" - Lightning McQueen

Only a parent would start with a quote from a kid's movie.  But I felt that in order to talk about how to paddle faster, we really need to first understand what speed is.

And I'm warning you now that since I am a math nerd with my mathematics background, I'm going to throw a bunch of formulas at you.  But in the end, you'll know where speed comes from and how to paddle faster.  

What is paddling speed?  How do we paddle faster?

Speed is defined as covering a certain DISTANCE in a specific amount of TIME.  Or Distance divided by Time (distance/time).

For the speeds we paddle at, we typically will define speed as METERS PER SECOND (meters/second or m/s). 

There are a variety of variables that impact this, including the paddling technique used, the design of the board used, the water conditions,  even salinity of the water, fitness level of the paddler, and others.  But if we break SPEED...


At Home Paddling Technique Exercises

Stuck at home?  I put together eight different paddling technique drills and exercises that you can do while you are stuck on land.  

The first four exercises are drills to enhance paddling technique while the second four exercises are designed to help you maintain and improve your fitness and mobility:

There are many other dryland drills shown in the Paddling Technique Level 1 Online Course.  

Improving your paddling technique first and foremost comes from understanding how to move through water efficiently and effectively.  Then you will understand why it's important to work these drills and exercises - to what end.  

When you can understand why something works the way it does, you are then able to adapt to the variety of scenarios we come across as surfers - different board designs, different wave sizes, different ocean conditions, etc.  The "why" is so critically important.  

Be sure to find out some of the "why" in the ...


Top 3 Ways To Make Paddling Easier

Shouldn't surfing be fun?  But often times it can be frustrating.   Sometimes we're in our heads about how we are surfing that particular day, or we're fatigued, or bummed about the crowd, or some other thing that we can't control.  Can we find a way to make something easy?  

My goal is to help you enjoy surfing more.  Paddling is a big part of surfing.  And it's a big contributor to frustration and the snowball effect that occurs once frustration sets in.  

Here's a video outlining 3 Ways to Make Paddling Easier.  Easy paddling.  That sounds fun!  

These are super simple techniques you can apply immediately.  Give it a go and let me know how it goes.  




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...


SurfinShape Board 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!


Adventures in the Desert - Baja Coaching Trip

surf trip Nov 01, 2019


I don’t speak too much Spanish, but I know what “Baja” should translate to.  “Adventure“.  Because it’s always an adventure when I venture south of the border down that skinny, jagged peninsula.  Or should I say that we get to really test Murphy’s Law (I know, Murphy is an Irish name, but c’mon, when does anything go wrong in Ireland in comparison to Baja?).

When things go wrong, that is where the adventure truly begins.  And boy was it fun.


For weeks we had been tracking Hurricane Lorena running up the coast of Mainland Mexico.  Is it going to hit our camp?  Is it going to send extra swell and perfect conditions?  The anticipation was killing me as I woke up each day leading up to the trip and checked the new path five different forecasts were reporting.  In the end, Lorena wasn’t the problem.  Mario was (I...

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