No, you’re still not on your tail…

Erik Antonson
Erik Antonson
May 4, 2016

If you’re wondering why the site is looking different this morning you’re not alone.  I’ve gotten a few emails wondering.  I call it an un-theming.  Normally you theme a website and the old paddlewoo looked pretty good.  But as I’m so focused on dedicated practice, efficiency and conservation of effort in my surfing right now, the site and its fanciness just didn’t fit anymore to me.  So I uncluttered and stripped it down to its absolute essentials, which is exactly what I’m trying to do with my surfing, mindset and businesses right now.  And it feels good!

Someone asked me yesterday why I’m giving away all this free advice when I own a paddle surfing school and do private coaching.  That’s an easy one for me…  I’d much rather we focus on your turns and performance than getting waves while you here for a week surfing incredible waves, and this is stuff you can practice in a lake, river, wherever before you come down.  So… here comes another freebie…

If surf stance is #1 mistake I see while coaching, the #2 is that folks are never on their tail when they think they are…  Today I was coaching a good friend, Pim, whose been to our area a few times.  He is a good paddler and confident in big surf.  He works in a lineup well, and we have a lot of fun surfing together.  We just wrapped up a video session.

Pim, I love you buddy, but I’m gonna throw you under the bus here for the betterment of our sport 🙂  Pim is a good enough surfer to know that he should be back on his tail… and we talked about it a bit before surfing this morning.  Here are 2 screenshots from video showing foot position.

Paddle surfing foot position on tail
Notice:  Front foot on the heel side rail and back foot in front of front fins.  Correction would be to have front foot on the stringer and back foot over front heel side fin.
Not getting back to the tail on a SUP
Here again, front foot is on the heel side of the board, this throws in all sorts of problems on future maneuvers and back foot is forward on the board.


The fix starts with paddling into the wave in surf stance.  If you are in a semi surf/race stance with your front foot still on your heel side rail and not on the stringer it throws off balance to move around on your board.  So, get your front foot on the stringer before you paddle into the wave and then you can just move back on the board.

Heres some reasons to get on your tail:

  • You can take later drops.
  • Your tail rocker is more aggressive than your mid-rocker so you’ll turn harder with less effort.
  • That’s where your fins are, so you’ll hold tighter on the wave and pivot the board faster.

When you think you’re on your tail, move back another foot and maybe you’ll be there!

If you haven’t listened to the Jamie Mitchell podcast yet, your missing out.  I guarantee it will inspire you to be a better you today and tomorrow.

Here’s what Dave Kalama said about it on instagram yesterday:

Just listened, it’s really good stuff. Must listen.

Progression Journal


  • Norm Hann

    Great job Erik, thanks for sharing…..norm

  • Greg

    Erik these latest posts are awesome. Thanks! 2 questions on surf stance: paddling into the wave front foot is fully perpindicular to the stringer or only somewhat opened up and then turned once you glide? And back foot…how much moving around through turns ie either side of stringer towards the turnaide rail??

    • Erik -- PaddleWoo

      Back foot moves constantly. Normally on bottom turns the toes will be over front fin (frontside) or heel backside. Then coming off the lip, the foot will be all the way back on the kicker for tighter turns and up a touch for rail turns.

      Surf stance for me is front foot at about a 45. And I surf at about a 30 degree angle. And back foot for me is also about the same as front foot. I’ve received a bunch of questions about it, so I’ll do a more in depth blog about it with photos soon.

      Thanks! Erik

  • Kane Johnson

    Erik these are great and I genuinely look forward to new posts! The pictures are very useful, especially for this topic. Thank you for keeping the tips simple and easy to incorporate into my surfing!

  • Rory

    Great stuff Erik. I’m guilty of this all the time but also find myself having to get forward to catch the wave at times. Does this mean I’m not in the right position to take off?

    • Erik -- PaddleWoo

      No, a lot of times you’ll need to be forward on your board to catch a wave. Just know that then you need to move back that much farther. Surf stance will help you move back quicker. I almost to a shuffle jump when I get all the way up trying to get into a wave. Maybe that will be a future post. It is like you shoot your board forward a bit with your back foot as your dropping the wave. Both feet disconnect for just a split second.

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