Why I Paddle Surf 90% of the Time
After my last post, Dropping Volume – Better have some solid processes, we got a nasty comment on facebook about the logic of riding small paddle boards as opposed to just shortboarding.
For starters, I don’t tolerate haters here, so if you post anything negative in a mean spirited way, the comment will be deleted, and you’ll be blocked. I can’t do anything about shitty mindsets for the greater world, but if you choose to play here, you’ve got to be cordial.
That doesn’t mean we can’t disagree, in fact I love a good argument, but not haters. Constructive criticism is always welcome and encouraged. I’m a work in progress, as are we all.
I do look at negativity, especially from haters, as an excuse to reflect on what you’re doing and to make sure you’re on the right path. Everyone has their own opinion, and in their mind, they’re correct. I try on that hat, whatever it is, to make sure I’m not suffering from cognitive dissonance.
Through that lens I asked myself, “Why not just shortboard?” Here’s where I landed.
- It’s just more fun on more days. My surf session to fun surf session ratio is about 100% since I started paddling. It sounds terrible, but shortboarding my ratio was probably 50%, and I left the water less happy when I arrived 25% of the time. Surfing is all about riding waves, so if the waves aren’t on it’s difficult to feel fulfilled.
- The Challenge. Riding small boards is one of the hardest things I’ve done in sport. I enjoy the challenge. I look forward to the challenge. It’s fun to feel like a kook, and all you have to do to get back to that place is drop a few liters.
- Forced Mindfulness. If you’re pushing your volume limits, you’re using 100% of your focus to balance. That focus translates to being fully present in the moment. Yes, you do get that same zen moment in shortboarding, but only when riding waves. In paddling small boards you can extend the active meditation.
- The workout. Going to the gym is a thing of the past. Maybe I do a few sets of kettlebells each week, but I used to workout for an hour a day while shortboarding. Now, I just paddle surf, and I stay in better shape. It is the total body workout that swimming wishes it was.
- Body Type. I’m 6.1 at 183 today. I’m built more like a free safety than a pro surfer. In surfing my weight has always worked against me, there is no added value in being strong. Not true in paddle surfing. In paddle surfing you can leverage strength through the paddle with an exponential effect.
- Peer group. I like paddlers. The commonalities we all share are solid traits. I’ve met many of my best friends through paddling.
- Steep Innovation Curve. Paddle surfing is still in its infancy. It’s fun being a paddle surfer now, just as I assume it was amazing to be a surfer in the 60’s and 70’s. With each new innovation you get to experience surf in a new way. Shortboarding’s been stagnant for a long while, but paddle surfing is evolving every day. I have no idea what shape I’ll be riding next year. Or what kind of paddle. Innovation and change are fun places to be.
- Paddle surfing is a complete sport. Fun. Exercise. Challenge. Comradery.
After looking in the hater mirror, I don’t doubt my path for a second.
What do you love about paddle surfing?