The difference between intermediate and advanced turns in paddle surfing can be understood by the sequence of rail and paddle usage in the turn.
Intermediate paddle surfers use the paddle to set the rail.
Advanced paddle surfers use the paddle to accelerate a set rail.
In the next few days I’ll be breaking down this idea with frame grabs of both types of turns.
A way you can check to see what type of surfer you are is whether your spray goes up or out. If your spray is going out, it means your sliding your board into and through the turn. It will be weak and comprised of drops and you’re pulling on the paddle first. If your spray is going up and instead of drops it’s a slab of water, your using your rail first.
A few notes – A lot of great surfers are intermediate paddle surfers because they don’t understand the paddle advantage and don’t learn the skill.
A majority of folks learning to surf for the first time on a paddle board rely on the paddle and don’t learn to set the rail.
To hold you over until the series starts, here’s a breakdown of Colin McPhillp’s cutback. Notice his rail is set before he uses his paddle to pull the board into the water and accelerate the turn.