4 Tips To Improve Your Paddle

May 05, 2017 | 0 Comment

4 Tips To Improve Your Paddle

Most of the skills we have in surfing come from just spending time in the water

developing intuition. The longer we spend watching the waves, the better we get

at picking the right ones. The more waves we surf, the better we understand how

they feel and how to move along them. However, some things cannot come just

from instinct but require study and training.

We’ve all been in the situation where you start paddling out and almost instantly

feel tiered and sore. You can’t keep position against the currents and you can’t

paddle hard enough to catch waves. We put it down to a bad day, maybe we’ve

just been surfing too much lately. And while that may be the case, it’s far more

likely that the problem lies in our technique, more specifically, our paddle


A good paddle technique should stop any pain you develop. ‘Surfers shoulder’

isn’t just something unavoidable that happens, you’re doing something wrong.

But fear not, we’ve put together a list of ways you can improve your paddling.

Once you’ve mastered the paddle, not only will you have fewer injuries but also

you’ll be able to paddle faster and longer without using up all your energy.

1. Position

Position on the board is incredibly important. Lie too far back and you’ll cause

too much drag making it impossible to get anywhere. Too far forward and you’ll

just start nose-diving while you paddle.



You should lie in the centre of your board with your feet together. Play around

with your positioning towards the front and back until you find the sweet spot.

Every board is different. On long boards, you’ll find your toes will be right at the

bottom of the board while for short boards, you may even find that your sweet

spot means the nose of your board lies just under the surface of the water.

2. The S-stoke

While at first, on longboards, you may simple lift your arm and push it under the

water along the side of the board. You will find as you move to shorter boards

that in fact an s-shaped stroke will get you much further. As your hand enters the

water, pull it under your board and around and back out as it leaves the water,

making an s-shape.

3. Slightly open fingers

It might seem to make more sense to hold your fingers tightly together to create

as much force as possible. But more force doesn’t necessarily lead to more

efficiency. Actually it works a lot better to keep your fingers slightly open, how

much will depend on what’s most confortable for you but it’s thought that about

30% is best.




4. Different paddles for different waves

Finally, every wave is different and this means we have to adapt our paddle to

suit them. For a cleaner, more hollow wave, you have to paddle deep and strong.

However for a mushy, messy wave, you want to stay above all that white wash so

it requires a lighter, less penetrative and quicker stroke.

Once you’ve begun to implement these changes into your surfing, the next step is

to make them become muscle memory. You’ll be catching more waves, getting

less injuries and lasting longer out in the water. Go get some waves!