I’ve been studying coaching a bit lately and the difference between Qualitative and Quantitative practice and decided to journal my surf progression as a means of staying focused on quality work. The idea here is that you get much better if you focus on quality practice over just more time doing the same thing. So, here’s the progression journal. Feel free to follow along…
The podcast really started as a way to gain knowledge into the minds, techniques and equipment of the best in the sport. I wanted this info and thought there were other surfers out there that would find it valuable. So PaddleWoo was born. The video trips I’ve hosted have been to help build the sport but a side-effect of them is spending tons of time with the best in the world and having a video library to draw from when I’m having trouble with a maneuver or technique. I’ll share some of that insight here.
These entries are not going to be written as a story and I promise I’m no writer.
Sunday, April 24th…
To catch you guys up:
Been questioning the norms of board and paddle size lately. This started with getting a 7.9 instead of a 7.7 a few weeks back… that’s up from the 7.4-7.6’s I’ve been riding. I’m pretty much settled on liking boards at or a touch more volume than weight. I weigh 80-82kg and have been at the 78-85L range now for a bit. The new Infinity says 88L, but I’m guessing it’s a bit smaller than that as I sink it the same as my 85L Hobie.
There’s a massive difference in being just under or at your L to W and 5% over. I’ve always believed that effect on surfing makes the extra work and lower wave count worth it, but I’m starting to doubt that now. Here’s my rational… At the beginning of the learning curve (I have a surfing background) it was much easier to surf a smaller board. The smaller you go, the more the short boarding skillset applies. And, when I finally got down to the 80L mark, my focus in practice was paddling smaller boards. I felt the surfing would come.
Here’s where I MIGHT be changing my mind… I’m about 1.5 years past getting down to the low, bottoming out on the race to the bottom. After I was able to paddle what I thought would allow the highest performance I switched my practice from stability/paddling to refining paddle technique for surfing. I never questioned volume again… Until I inadvertantly received a bigger than expected board.
I’ve now been riding my Infinity for 3 weeks of dedicated practice. Wave counts are super high… fun factor way up there too. The board performs at 95% of the smallest board I have and the only real difference is in smaller steep waves, surfing vertically. But, I’ve found a workaround for that too, just going later. I’ve watched Colin McPhillips do it 1000 times over the past 5 years, but never really thought about why… (Colin rides 8.4’s and 9.0’s) His approach in steep conditions is to surf a bit behind the wave. Hitting sections already breaking and thus falling being thrown back out to the flats.
Performance is increased by paddle technique. You don’t know this as a surfer, but you develop it paddle surfing. Using the paddle to drive the rail is a skill. The better you get at it, the less low volume will dictate performance.
Since the Legends trip, I’ve been breaking down a lot of that footage and there’s some patterns coming to light. I’ll get into those soon…