Day 3 on the Race to the Bottom – Flatwater Drill
That lead in photo is some motivation to learn to surf smaller boards! You can get barreled on big paddle boards, but it’s way easier to fit in little tubes on little boards. If you want to get barrels like that, come surf with us!!!
(Had an email about paddle position in the barrel. I’ll fully break it down in the future, but I drop my back hand so I can gauge where the wave is, just hold the handle.)
I really love that starboard backside. I favour rights in almost all cases, especially on a standup… backside surfing is better vertical and most paddle boards don’t excel in top to bottom surfing. But, that starboard, with all it’s tail rocker, comes off the bottom like a rocket. Especially in slingshot bottom turns. Today, I was actually looking for lefts because I had so much fun on my first wave.
I haven’t yet figured out how to come off the lip when you smash a super vertical section backside. It’s way easier to get to the lip doing a slingshot bottom turn, but since I don’t switch the paddle before I hit the lip, coming down I’ve got the paddle on the heel side rail and there isn’t much you can do there with balance. I usually get destroyed with the lip bounce.
I’m going to break that turn down with some video, and probably blog about what I figure out. I don’t run into that issue on other boards, as I’m not in that critical spot, so haven’t yet looked at best practices.
Also broke a leash today. Knew it was going to happen right before it did. A big set was coming through and I got over the first 3. The 4th broke right in front of me. I dove off the front, we were way out the back, water was probably 12 feet deep, so no risk of hitting the bottom. Right as I was diving in, I felt the leash catch the fin and the the wave took the board. Clean cut. Long swim.
I’d love to hear your tactics for swimming with a paddle in the comments. I’ve tried numerous variations. Nothing really stands out as a best. Caio Vaz throws his paddle ahead and swims to it. I normally keep it in my right hand and swim. Sometimes I hold the bottom of the blade and use the blade to swim faster. If you can keep the paddle vertical it works. I like that method because it’s an effective way to body surf. The blade acts as a hand plane.
Ok! Let’s get you guys paddling smaller boards. Today I got Oscar Mon, super stud instructor from Blue Zone, currently crushing the National Circuit here in Costa Rica, to help out with the video. I wanted to show you all a drill that works well for practicing paddling on smaller boards. We did it in the whitewater at our beach break, but you start in flat water.
Oscar weighs in at 165 pounds and is riding a Hobie 7.4 at 81L. He likes to give me crap because his Hobie is 1L smaller than the starboard I’ve been riding…
The drill: Pop up, either from seated or prone (links go to those lessons). You’ll be in surf stance and you want your paddle on your toe side, that’s your powerful stroke. Paddle a circle as fast and efficient as you can stroked on your toe side, turning to your heel side. This is the the way you’ll catch most waves, so getting familiar by doing reps will increase learning speed. Way better to fall when drilling than when the set of the day is bearing down on you…
When you’re trying to learn start on flat water and eliminate variables. Then, when it starts to get a little bit easier add difficulty. Oscar paddles his board just fine, so he’s doing this drill in a difficult location.