Let’s check in on your PADDLING action.
Do you have trouble catching all the waves you go for?
First up, you need to make sure that you’re lying on the board in the correct position.
To be “in trim”, the nose of the board should be just out of the water when you paddle – too far forward and you’ll be nosediving, and too far back, the nose will be sticking way out of the water (maybe get someone else to check this while you paddle). Your legs need to be on the board – not dangling in the water like “training wheels”, as this will surely slow you down.
So, you’re after a smooth, efficient stroke as opposed to a thrashing windmill.
The proper paddling action requires you to reach forward during the “catch phase” of the stroke. The leading arm should straighten and the thumb on that hand enters the water first (that way, your hand goes in on an angle, for less resistance).
Keep the fingers slightly apart as you pull back through the water, just under the rail of your board. This “pull phase” ends level with your hip.
With a high elbow, bring the hand out of the water, ready to reach forward again.
Watch this Quicktip video a couple of times to get the idea.
- reach forward
- hand in on the angle
- pull back through to hip level
- high elbow
For sprinting – try focussing on the first part of the action. Lift your upper body off the board a little. Reach forward with each stroke and pull hard. Only pull back to level with your ribcage (creating a shorter, faster stroke).
Catching a wave is generally a mixture of doing 6-8 long strokes to get you moving, and then finish off with about 4 short, explosive ones to get the speed.