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.  

 

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MUST SEE: Best Surf Etiquette Video I've Seen In a While

I don't teach surf etiquette. Or at least, I assume clients know surf etiquette when they work with me. But I've been surprised and despite focusing on paddling technique, I sometimes have to step in and provide some guidance on surf etiquette.  

However, surf etiquette has many layers, and the more complex layers have traditionally been difficult to explain. Enter Brad Jacobson's recent video on surf "rules".  

With a Bruce Brown-esq style narration and quippy movie clips embedded, Brad's videos are edited well and quite entertaining. This video explains surf etiquette the best I've seen in a long while. Filming mostly in Southern California, he has plenty of video showing poor etiquette examples as well as what to do to avoid breaking the "rules".  

Here's a summary:

  • Paddling Out: If a surfer is riding as you are paddling out, take note of the direction they are surfing and paddle the opposite way to avoid crossing over their path (or interfering in...
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Can You Time Sets in the Ocean?

Can You Time Sets in the Ocean when you're waiting for waves?

Dr. David Sandwell, professor at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, proposed this question to his class.

Using some math, he concluded that yes, you can time sets. But will that be useful to us as surfers?

This video shows how you can use this information to increase your wavecount with the least amount of effort.

Enjoy and feel free to ask any questions:

 

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Paddling Technique - Slipping Explained

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.  

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Pre-Trip Surf Ranch Takeoff and Paddling Training Increases Probabilities of Making Waves

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...

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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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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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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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