Session Notes – Paddling Straight and the Board Dilemma
Quick notes from the session this morning.
The finals for the Costa Rica SUP contest series are this weekend. It was going to be the 25th, but they moved it up. Didn’t know until yesterday. So while I’ve been trying all these fin configurations and staying focused on understanding balance, I really should have been focused on surfing and cardio. I feel like I’m surfing at a decent level and I’ve been swimming every night with the groms, so I should be fine. It’s just not how I normally approach a contest.
I’ve got a dilemma for the contest. Not sure what board to ride. Right now it’s super small, which would make me opt for more volume. I’d also opt for more volume if it I think it’s going to be choppy, which it likely will. But, I’ve only been surfing the smaller Starboard and it usually takes me a few days to get a board dialed in. The X factor this weekend is that we have the new swell showing up sometime between Saturday morning and Sunday. It should hit hard, and the beach holding the event is Playa Hermosa, a heavy beach break. It would be perfect for the Starboard if the swell shows up.
This morning I decided to ride the Infinity to try and get a feel for it in case the waves are small and/or choppy. After the conversation about fins with Tyler I decided to try a small trailer set of quads – it was terrible. They were too small and I came in and switched them out after two waves to the GL center. Immediately felt way better.
30 minutes into the session I was surfing good. I feel a massive difference in speed off the bottom backside, Starboard vs. Infinity. Frontside I transition my surfing to focus on rail turns, so the speed off the bottom isn’t needed as much, but backside rail turns aren’t as powerful and it’s better to surf top-to-bottom for points in a contest. If I decide to surf the Infinity I’ll be opting for rights unless we get some size.
The other difference is in stability. After a month on the 7.4 I felt like I couldn’t fall. There’s something to be said for being fully confident in your stability and having a bit more speed to be right in the money spot when you catch a wave. Ha… in writing this I think I’m convincing myself to surf the bigger board. That’ll probably change before tomorr0w.
I did spend time today working on balance and paddling heel-side. Here’s a thought. I’m not sure the J stroke makes as much of a difference in paddling straight as keeping your rail in the water. Toe vs. heel-side, I’m able to keep the board angled more toe-side while paddling on that side and I think the rail holds the line and helps paddling straight. Heel-side I’m just starting to be able to paddle with the rail in the water and I notice a difference in the amount of strokes I’m able to do before switching sides because of direction. Just jotting this down and I’ll try to prove if it’s true over the next few sessions.