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.
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...
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 ...
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.
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...
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:
00:28 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...
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!
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...
00:08 Shortboarder Video Example – Before and After 23% improvement - Drag’s Impact on Horizontal Balance, Creating a Drafting Cavity, and Tempo
01:20 More Progressive Force = More Effective Propulsion
03:22 Good Setup to Front Propulsive Phase
04:44 Longboarder Video Example – Before and After - A Key Difference in Technique between Shortboarder and Longboarder - Entry Point Same, Entry Angle is Different
06:11 Comparison of Entry Point and Entry Angle Between the Shortboarder Example and Longboarder Example
09:43 The Problem(s) with Over-Reaching
11:07 Me on a Prone Board Video Example - Lack of Effort Used, Entry Point, Hover Technique, Entry Angle, Top Speed Acceleration vs Steady Velocity
12:14 Is it Better to Stick with One Board to Learn Technique? Our Brain’s Ability to Change Motor...
In July I had the pleasure of joining Shane Carpenter, DPT to conduct a Webinar for her clients.
She has a great philosophy on healing the mind and body and in this webinar I shared some of my Level 1 Surfing Paddling Techniques.
Here is Part 1
00:16 Who am I (Rob)?
00:57 How did I get into working with surfers on paddling techniques?
02:46 What kind of injuries were I seeing and how does my program solve them?
04:18 Some common mistakes?
04:47 Shane’s most powerful takeaway for her from my Workshop
05:34 A common physical limitation for paddling she sees
07:50 Paddling Technique Overview – Introduction to Level 1
08:06 What’s the Big Deal?
11:07 Three Key Goals
12:44 Simple Solution to Achieve the Three Key Goals and How to Self Diagnose Yourself
13:04 Surfers' Common Fallacy on Paddling
14:08 How to Self Diagnose Yourself
14:55 Basis of Moving Through Water –...
Surf culture is difficult to get your head around sometimes. The term "Hardcore" specifically. This term is very common where I grew up and within the general surf population. What does it really mean? It truly depends on how is saying it.
When I was young, "hardcore" meant a surfer who shunned any assistance, charged waves without fear, and surfed all the time. And for many surfers, this is still a base definition. But that is slowly changing and I'm once again honored to be featured in an article by a "hardcore" surfer representing a "hardcore" brand. Well, maybe Birdwell wouldn't be considered hardcore by the above definition, but certainly has a deep connection to surf history and I'm honored nonetheless.
Jamie Brisick, whose bio you can read below, did a great job at consolidating all of the many thoughts in my head into a clear and concise article. And trust me, my words did not come out that clear when we...
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