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How to become a stronger paddler

Paddling exercises A majority of our time surfing is spent paddling. By being an efficient paddler, we are able to catch more waves by being in the right place at the right time, and catching more waves leads to faster improvement in our surfing and loads more fun in the line-up. The most effective exercise we can do to become a better board paddler is to simply to get out there and paddle. Here are 3 exercises that will help improve your paddling strength, power, endurance and cardiovascular fitness which will have you catching your fair share of waves out in the line-up. All exercises can be adapted to perform in either the ocean, swimming pool, river, or lake.

  1. Paddle sprints

  2. Resistance paddle

  3. Paddle, duck-dive or roll

Paddle sprints

  1. a set distance to paddle

  2. a set period of time to paddle or

  3. a set number of strokes to perform. Make sure the above options are challenging yet achievable for your current fitness level. You may need to experiment a little to work this out for your own individual needs. 2. Use the surfboard that you would normally go surfing on so that your paddle sprints are specific to your paddling demands whilst surfing. 3. Paddle your board as fast as you can (with correct technique), until you reach your desired paddle sprint distance, paddle time or number of paddle strokes. 4. Recover/Rest/Repeat. As you become more efficient over time you can step things up by:

  4. increasing the distance, period of time or number of strokes

  5. and/or reduce the recovery/rest time between your paddle sprints.

Resistance paddle 1. Start by setting yourself one of the following goals. You can alternate between the 3 sprint options to keep things interesting.

  1. a set period of time to paddle

  2. a set number of strokes to perform

  3. a desired paddle intensity Make sure the above options are challenging yet achievable for your current fitness level. You may need to experiment a little to work this out.

  1. fastening your leg-rope to the pool fence, or a nearby pole or secured object. You may need to join 2 leg-ropes together to provide extra length. Ensure that the leg-rope is low to the ground or water surface or you will find yourself nose dive while paddling.

  2. Or have a training partner hold onto either the tail of your surf board or your leg-rope to preventing you moving forward while paddling. 3. Paddle your board (using correct technique), for your desired period of time, number of strokes or level of intensity. 4. Recover/Rest/Repeat 5. As you become more efficient at paddling you can step things up by

  3. increasing the period of time or number of strokes.

  4. increasing how quickly or hard you are paddling

  5. and/or reduce the recovery/rest time between your resistance paddling.

Paddle, duck-dive or roll, repeat This exercise encourages a smooth and efficient transition between paddling and getting past or through the waves and back out into the line-up. The more efficient you become at the transition between paddling and duck diving or board rolling the more efficiently you will be able to get back out past the breaking waves and into the line-up. 1. Start by setting yourself one of the following goals. You can alternate between the 3 sprint options to keep things interesting

  1. a set period of time to continue paddle/duck-dive or roll

  2. a set number of paddle, duck-dive or rolls to perform

  3. a desired intensity 2. paddle your surfboard at your desired effort 3. perform a duck dive (on a short board) or board roll (on a long board) with your best possible technique 4. resume your paddling position back on your board as quickly and as smoothly as possible.

Your surf stoked coaches Jenny & Serena

Now get out there and catch some waves! And most importantly – have fun in the water!

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