Wednesday, April 3, 2013

10 Ways to Become an Awesome Paddler

Hey guys, I know it's been kind of a while since I posted any surf tips. Sorry about that (that is, if you missed them)! As summer approaches and more people head to the beach, I plan to update that section of my site more often. Alright, so here are my tips for paddling.

Paddling is one of the most important aspects of your surf technique. Many people (even really strong dudes) don’t have the proper technique and miss some great wave riding opportunities because of it. Commit yourself to forming a proper paddle and you’ll get more waves and have more fun out in the lineup for the rest of your life! 

1. When you are laying on your board the nose should be a few inches out of the water. If your nose of your shortboard is more than approximately 2-3 inches out of the water than you are too far back and wasting your paddle power. On the other hand, you don’t want the nose of your board to dip into the water either. If your nose is in the water, you are too far up.

2. The stringer of your board is the center. Always lay with the stringer running down the center of your chest and body.

3. Keep your knees and legs together. I can spot a beginner a mile away because they are usually paddling around with their legs apart. Don't make the same mistake! It slows you down!

4. Lift your chest, neck and face away from the board when paddling. This will help you see where you are going, spot oncoming waves, keep the nose out of the water and will help you gain speed while paddling.

5. Make nice, even, alternating strokes. Reach out beside the nose of your board, drive your arm through the water and have it exit the water next to your legs. Always keep your fingers together!

6. To change direction lean slightly on the side of your board you want to go towards.

7. Kicking can help when trying to catch a wave, but rely mostly on your arms.

8. When you are really trying to get into a wave that is hard to catch, scoot up a tad, speed up your paddle and put your chin close to the deck. Most importantly, don’t give up!

9. When your hands begin to paddle on the face of the wave and you feel your board is being moved by the wave this is the time to stand up. If you’re up before this happens, chances are, you’re going to miss it!

10. If there’s an approaching open peak down the beach, go for it! Even if you don’t catch the wave you are practicing your paddle and adapting the mindset of a waterwoman (or man).

As always, have fun out there!
I learned so much of what I know from Taj Burrow's Book of Hot Surfing
Check it out!


  1. Now I just need oh a surf board and the ocean and I'm set. Haha. I wish! Someday I will surf and remember all your tips. :)

  2. Can't wait to put these tips to good use! :)

  3. hmm, I think that you forgot step 1: not being afraid of the ocean :)

  4. Great tips! I am soo bad at paddling!! Will try to do all of the above next time out on the board!

  5. This is SO great. I never would have known about the legs together thing. Great info to know... for when I finally take some lessons!

  6. I want to surf! you make it seem totally do-able. Not easy per say, but definitely something I could learn!

  7. I've only been surfing once--in South Padre. The waves weren't too big, which was nice for learning, and I could just kind of walk out with my board since it was so shallow:) It's hard to do, though! I'm am always so impressed with your pictures and being able to get out there in deep water. I'm going to store up all your tips and tricks so that the next time I surf I'll know what I'm doing:)

  8. I love this list and makes me miss living in Hawaii by the ocean. I want to go paddling.

    Bonnie Rose | A Compass Rose

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  10. Great tips Devon! I can't wait to (hopefully) put these to good use!

  11. I don't anticipate surfing anytime soon, but if I do, I know exactly where to go for lots of tips!!

  12. I don't think you've done one, but can you write a post on surf terminology?


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