What surfers learn about paddling is that it is different than what you would imagine. Most beginners start paddling in foam waves like they swim. Nice long slow strokes.
Controlling the Surf Board
What surfers learn quickly, especially if they are in a lesson, is that they can’t control the surf board after it is hit by the wave with slow paddles. In a foam wave the surfer is on the board and starts paddling 20 feet before the wave arrives. The surf board is not like a boogie board where you jump on as the wave arrives.
The surfer paddles slowly before the wave arrives and when it is 5′ from the board, he paddles hard. As the wave hits the board, it lifts the tail and points the nose down toward a pearl. Now is when the surfer has to paddle hard three or four times to get in front of the wave.
Paddling on Real Waves
On a real wave, the surfer allows the wave to come under the board. As the nose is pointing down and the board is moving forward, the surfer paddles three times hard and even kicks. As the board gets the momentum of the wave, the surfer can pop up.
On a foam wave, the surfer learns his paddling controls the direction of the board, If he stalls or his left hand paddles harder than the right, the board turns in the wave and flips. In a real wave, the surfer never loses eye contact with the wave so he knows the precise time to start paddling.
Paddling is also what causes fatigue. Surfing is easy, paddling is work. Cross training for paddling is excellent if you can’t paddle often. Aerobics create stamina and pulling cables builds muscle and endurance.
For Oceanside Surf Lessons, see the Home Page
For my Dry Land and in Water Demo video