Paddling and Board Handling are Important In Learning to Surf

Sometimes it is the standing up on the wave that is the easiest part of learning to surf.

Reading the ocean and the waves takes a lot longer.  The more time you can spend in the ocean the better, even if it is just body surfing.

Secondly, you can improve your board handling and paddling skills in the flat water away from the waves.  The stronger you can become at paddling the easier it will be to get where you want to get to in the ocean and the more entry speed you can get when trying to catch a wave.  It is often hard for the beginner surfer to catch a wave because they can’t get enough speed from their paddling on take-off.  This will leave the surfer either missing the wave or creating a late take off.  The more speed you can generate when catching the wave the better position you will put yourself on the wave.  You can train your paddling by long distance paddling and short bursts of 5-10 paddles in between as if you were trying to catch a wave.  See how much explosive speed you can get from your paddling.

Thirdly, you can train your board handling skills in the flat water.  How fast can you do a 360 degree turn one way and then the other.  Try paddling 5 paddles in one direction and then sit up on the board to turn 180 degree quickly and paddle in the other direction.  Board handling is important so you can change direction quickly in the ocean to move into the optimal take off position or to move out of another surfers way.  Remember when you are paddling out the person on the wave has right of way so it is up to you to move!


In addition, you should know and be prepared to eskimo roll when paddling out the back to maintain position when the oncoming wave is too big or you don’t have enough speed to paddle through it. Make sure you can roll under the wave without letting go of your surfboard.  You need to maintain control of your surfboard at all times so you don’t hurt yourself or anyone else in the water around you.

If you are learning to surf through a surf school, ask them to teach you how to eskimo roll.  When you progress further with your surfing and move to smaller boards you will learn to duck dive.

Board handling and paddling are essential ingredients to learning to surf.


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