a couple practicing their stroke techniquq on surboards on the beach

Tips for Paddling and Improving Your Paddling Technique

 A quick guide for beginners and returning surfers

Surfing for beginners can be physically taxing, as it requires moving around, balancing, and riding waves. Many beginners are shocked to realise that riding a wave and balancing aren't the hardest parts of the activity – positioning and paddling are. It makes sense because you will spend most of your time in the water paddling, balancing, and positioning yourself.

Most of your energy goes towards riding and balancing on the waves, positioning, and paddling. That is a lot of work, in addition to timing and rhythm. Paddling gets considerably more difficult when you're an exhausted newbie surfer.  When you aren't used to paddling, it can ache and stretch your muscles. That is why if you want to surf well, it is most recommended that you first develop your paddling technique.

4 Great Tips To Help Improve Your Paddling Technique

When you decide to surf, catching and riding waves will help you improve your skills more rapidly. Surfing gets more enjoyable when you're able to catch and ride swells. While it's not as simple as it sounds as waves can get unpredictable, it can become more manageable if you improve your paddling technique. Follow the steps below to help improve your skills so you can catch more waves during each surfing session.

1. Try to improve your strength through exercise before surfing.

All types of exercises will improve your strength and can impact your surfing performance but keep in mind that being strong alone will not make your paddling techniques perfect. Additionally, you want mobility and flexibility to comfortably move your shoulders when you paddle. You’ll also need core stability to maintain an upright posture when on your board.

Calisthenic workouts are quite effective exercises since they frequently engage several muscles simultaneously and make use of the core. Other recommended activities are climbing and body weight exercises, which engage similar muscles as when surfing.

2. Remember to stretch and warm up before you surf.

Before entering the water, make sure you have sufficiently warmed up. Stretching before surfing improves stamina and performance and reduces the risk of injuries. On the other hand, stretching after surfing helps to reduce stiffness and soreness. 

Also, don't forget to cool down. Cooling down is actually more crucial than warming up and stretching. When stretching, consider dynamic stretches instead of stationary ones. Do your stretching exercises to reduce the possibility of pain and injury when you paddle out.

3. Practice paddling techniques in the water.

The most crucial factor for boosting your paddling skill is practice. You grow better at paddling the more you do it. It's absolutely helpful to jump into the sea and have fun, even when there are rougher waves. Still, make sure not to underestimate water for your own safety. Practise your techniques using different board sizes to get the hang of paddling.


a man on a surfboard on the beach, learning to balance


4. Find and get used to the correct paddling techniques that work well for you.

· Position yourself properly.

Ensure that you are positioned correctly on the board. Before you begin paddling in the water, for additional comfort, be sure that you are in a good position. Your weight can shift a little bit further forward when paddling out compared to paddling onto a wave.

Having your body too far forward on your board results in frontal drag. However, if you are placed too far back, your board will not move through the water with ease.  You can paddle more effectively if you maintain the proper weight distribution and positioning.

· Assume the correct form.

Keep your head up and avoid resting it on the board as you move. Paddling more quickly is made easier by having your head up. You can rest your head and neck once you get past the waves. Your back should be slightly arched, and your shoulders should be elevated.

Also, remember that your sternum, not your chest, should support your body weight.  Make sure your entire body is aligned correctly and not sliding or tilting to one side.  Lastly, avoid touching the water with your feet and push your feet closer to reduce drag.

· Be mindful of your hand placement.

As you push through the water, firm up your hands by keeping your fingers close to one another. Your hands and fingers shouldn't become slack or floppy. If your fingers or hand are loose, it will create drag that will slow you down. So, be sure to position your hands in a hydrodynamic way. Utilise them similarly to any other paddle blade.

· Don’t be afraid to follow through.

Your strokes should continue throughout and around your entire body. Early hand withdrawal reduces the distance your strokes will carry you and will even produce drag. That will slow you down.

Small or quick arm strokes are virtually useless. Instead, use lengthy, deep strokes without any splashing on the surface. Plunge your hand as deeply as you can into the water. When you paddle, you can push some water out behind you with your hand to maximise the stroke. Use the entire stroke to propel yourself effectively.


a teacher instructing a surfer on board positioning on a beach


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Prepare yourself with the right surfing gear, whether you're advanced or are just starting out. At Slimes Newcastle, we provide a broad selection of goods as a dependable supplier of surfboards and surfing accessories. Here, surfers of every skill level and taste will find something to their liking. We provide what you need, whether you're looking for beginner or professional-grade equipment.

We provide you with all that you need to go surfing, including a selection of equipment, leashes, wax, and wetsuits to give you a better surfing experience. Rest-assured that you'll be getting professional assistance and high-quality products from Slime Newcastle’s experienced and welcoming staff. Call 02 4961 3088 today or email newcastlestore@slimes.com.au to get in touch with us or speak with a professional.

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