Advantages of Paddle Surfing in Bigger Surf

Erik Antonson
Erik Antonson
June 16, 2016

What’s up folks!  Sorry I missed yesterday.  This South swell has been slamming into us for the past 48 hours and I’ve been surfing my brains out.  Couple that with the Fiji Pro running yesterday and I couldn’t muster the energy to journal.  I still have to break down the advanced turn, but that will wait one more day.

Some notes from the last two days.

It’s been a while since we’ve had a power SW swell.  The last few have been S or SSW and those hit us very differently.  For our beach break the SW is best – we feel more of it and the lines normally hold up.

I rode a shortboard in the morning yesterday, didn’t feel like dealing with the whitewater.  Sets were close to double-overhead.  Guiones isn’t a very powerful wave, but she’ll hold you down.

One thing that surprised me, I’ve been riding SUPs so much lately and haven’t surfed a shortboard in bigger surf for months, is that you get pushed much deeper on a shortboard when you’re taking waves on the head.  I bailed my board twice yesterday and both times I was sent super deep.

A standup keeps you closer to the surface, but drags you.  A SUP has so much float, it gives you a constant pull and knowledge of up.   It is harder to orient under water with the shortboard.

I can 100% say that I now feel more comfortable in bigger surf, even at a beach break on a standup.  A few reasons why –

  • Time – standing gives you a 20 second advantage of knowing when and where a set is coming.
  • Paddling Speed – with the time advantage you can cover 20-30 meters more distance.
  • Early entrance in waves – A paddle board lets you get in earlier.  I use that time to decide if the wave looks good and if I want to commit.
  • Surfing Speed – I used to use a Suunto GPS watch and averaged about 4-5mph faster on the paddle board vs. shortboard.

There are negatives – Getting caught inside and not being able to duck dive is #1 there.  Also consequence – you don’t want to get hit by a carbon fiber missile that weighs 12 pounds.

Well… Time’s up.  The Fiji Pro is about to start!  Enjoy your day folks – Erik

Contact us if you’d like to come down and surf here in Costa Rica – it’s good!

Progression Journal

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