I coined the term paddle enhanced surfing two years ago when I was trying to define proper paddle surfing.  The term, paddle enhanced surfing, puts the emphasis on surfing – where it should be.  And while I’ve deeply bought into this idea for years, it hasn’t been until the last few months that I’ve internalized the differences in paddle surfing and paddle enhance surfing.

How can you tell the difference?

Do your surfing mechanics work without a paddle?  If not, it’s paddle enhanced surfing.

To test this, either paddle in to a wave prone without a paddle or after catching a wave with your paddle throw it out the back .  If you are paddle enhanced surfing, your surfing mechanics will still work.

But, if you’re paddle enhanced surfing and your mechanics will be wrong, and you’ll flounder and feel lost.

Let’s break down a frontside bottom turn through this frame.  It is very common, as I wrote about in the Your Paddle is Not a Rudder post, for intermediate paddle surfers, normally without a surfing background, to use their paddle like you would in a canoe to change direction.

In fact most of the clients I’ve worked with in the last few weeks have had the same habit of dragging their paddle on the inside, toe side, while dropping into a wave frontside and using the paddle to force bad technique to do a frontside bottom turn.  Generally, foot position is too far forward, 80% of weight it on the back foot to keep the nose out, and the paddle is dragging well behind the feet which pulls weight farther back, sinks the tail, burns speed and forces the bad bottom turn.  Using this bottom turn you’re not weighted correctly to transition to any maneuver, so the next turn is doomed to fail.

Surfing without a paddle will immediately expose the improper technique for this bottom turn.  You lean back but there’s no brace for the turn, the board will turn but skate out from under your feet.

Next surf session why not throw away the paddle for a few waves and see what holes you have in your game?  I’ve been doing this a few times a week recently and can say I’ve seen big improvements in my rail surfing and bottom turning.  When you can surf without the paddle it gives you the freedom to pick the spots to use it to a higher effect.


Coaching and Retreats




If you’re interested in coming down to work with me, email sarah@progressionproject.com.  Private coaching and retreats are full until the Foundation Training retreat Feb 25-Mar4.  We haven’t announced March/April dates yet (I am waiting on dates for an upcoming project, should have those soon).  Before we publically announce new dates we’ll email folks who have expressed interest.  So, if you’re interested, shoot us an email with when you’re looking to come train and you’ll be the first to know.

Thanks for all the support!  We’ll have some exciting announcements coming soon!  Erik

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