To enjoy the waves more while surfing, learn to paddle out reasonably and effectively

Believe it or not, paddling out into the wave is one of the most incredible feelings you may experience.

Imagine you finally have a day off and you plan to spend it surfing, honing the movements and making people around super jealous about your paddling out. You hope this is the day when you encounter the best waves and ride them.instructor teaches students to surf on the boardHowever, you may fall into the trap and get tired soon unless you stop wasting energy on paddling out and focus on catching a smooth wave and riding it up to the limit.  No pain, no gain! Paddling out is inevitable, but do it right and you will save 50% of energy and extend the surfing session.

Hopefully, four pieces of advice brought to your attention below will make your surfing lessons on paddling out into the waves easier.

Find a Channel

riding a surfboard under the supervision of an instructorFollow this advice to keep your physical and emotional state safe. What is considered to be a channel Basically, when the waves go towards the shore, the water needs somehow to get back to the ocean, looking for the path of least resistance.

Certain spots appear when the escaping water literally flows away creating channels. These deeper spots do not break down waves and help a surfer to come out easily. The math is simple: +1 water flow moving out to the ocean, -1 water flow moving towards the shore = 2 points for a channel to come out.

girl on a surfboardIt is easy to spot a channel. First of all, look where surfers appear and assume there might be a channel. If there are no surfers around, look for a spot with no white water. It is more difficult to find a channel on a sandy bottom as the waves appear near the shore and the spot where the waves break down always shifts a little.

Things are much easier with reef spots, especially deep in the ocean, as the channel always remains in the same place. Once detected, you may get back to it again and again.

Never Extend Your Paddle Back

men go surfing on surfboardsThis advice is good for people who squeeze out as much of every single wave as they can. They ride each of them until they break down or come to nothing. Some surfers may even do a pumping move out, putting pressure on a front foot, slamming the surfboard’s nose up and down for paddling extensively.

If it sounds familiar to you, stop doing that as it has nothing to do with serious surfing and does not improve your skills. Leave the wave when it dies out. The most interesting part happens in the critical section of the wave, in other words, on its wall.

Once it becomes flat, get over it and come back paddling to catch another one. You may find it unfair as there are only a few waves an hour and you want to enjoy them to the fullest. But do not worry about that and save energy to catch up with more high-quality waves because this is exactly what you need for progress.

Time Sets

man rides on a surfboard

It is a common fact that every wave you dive through will push you back a few feet.

Let’s do the Math again: if your paddle out is 100 ft (ca. 30 meters) and it takes 5 waves to get through, each pushing you back 10 ft (ca. 3 meters), then eventually you will have to overcome 150 ft (ca. 46 meters), hence spending 150% of time on paddling.

Keep a wary eye on the ocean and you will see an interesting pattern – a set of 3-5 waves followed by a pause and then another set comes out. Timing the sets saves a lot of energy if you catch the last wave of the first set and get out right before the first wave of the next set.

man is training on a surfboard in a poolIn real life paddling out for 400 ft (ca. 122 meters) may bring an extra 200 ft (ca. 61 meters) resisting the waves. Surfing a few hours per day may bring striking figures, but you can always avoid them by timing the sets.

Always keep in mind the sets if you are only half-way through. The majority of the waves break down and disappear before this moment.

If you paddle out into the breaking spot, the wave will hit you, but if you stay in the shallow water and wait for the end of the set, you will find it easier and faster to come up with paddling.

Purposeful Paddling

instructor shows how to ride on a surfboardIt is strange but if you do not paddle hard, you will automatically gain an extra amount to paddle and spend extra energy out. As it has already been mentioned in section 3, the wave you come through always pushes you back a little.

The slower you paddle, the more waves you will overcome, hence you will perform the longer paddling. By the time you reach out the spot, you have just been washed out by the previous set, another one may rear its head and there is a chance you will spend the whole day dabbling in the foam but not riding waves.

There is nothing to worry about as we all have been out of there. But here is what you can do to prevent it.

Focus and paddle out hard. Taking into account all the previous pieces of advice to paddle out the right way to make it further, paddle out with all your might.

rides on the wavesYou may find it difficult in the beginning, but soon you will get in good shape. Let’s epitomize once again: spot the channels, never extend the paddle back, mind the sets and paddle out with purpose.  Should you have any concerns or personal ideas to follow, we would like you to comment in the section below.

We hope these tips are helpful and you will enjoy your ride by paddling out reasonably.
Max Surfer


About Author

>> Professional surfer with over 10 years of experience >> Participant in numerous international competitions, including World Championships >> Experience in training and instructing beginner surfers

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