Paddling Over Breaking Waves by Shark SUPS USA
Paddling Over Breaking Waves, A Shark “How To”
Paddling over breaking waves is one of the most daunting tasks in learning how to surf on a stand-up-paddle board. Don’t worry, with a little bit of practice and general knowledge, you will be paddling over breaking waves with the greatest of ease. These skills are for seasoned paddlers/surfers looking to get to the next level in the surf. Inexperienced paddlers should become much more comfortable on a board before venturing out into the open surf.
There are two scenarios that will require you to use any of the techniques that we talk about below. The first is your initial paddle out into the lineup and the second is paddling back out while being in the break zone.
3 Ways To Help With Paddling Over Breaking Waves
- [NOVICE] Lying Down Much like surfing, one option is to lie down on your board to paddle out. You will want to place the paddle on the board in front of you.We have seen people tuck the paddle under their body, but this is not optimal and can be awkward. On smaller waves this can be easy to master, but on bigger waves it will be better to get off your board, nose the board up by pushing on the tail, and propel the board over the foam. Once you release, duck under the wave while holding onto your paddle. Again, it is important to know your limits. If you are not comfortable because of the size of the surf, it might be best to wait for a smaller day.
- [INTERMEDIATE] Kneel So you have mastered paddling over breakers on your belly, what now? Your next step in your learning will be to paddle out in a kneeling position, much like on your belly on a bigger wave. The key here will be to kneel on the board in a way that allows you to shift weight to the back raising the nose of the board. You will do this by leaning back and paddling hard once you hit the white water. If you panic and forget to paddle things may not go your way.
- [EXPERT] Standing Up The third, and best, option for getting out through the surf is actually in the standing position. To do this, you will want to use a hybrid stance that has your lead foot pointing forward and the back foot more to the side. You’ll also want to have your feet slightly staggered, one towards the nose and one slightly towards the tail. Your position on the board is also very important. Your weight should be towards the rear of the board as this will allow you to put pressure on the tail end to raise the nose to oncoming white water.
As important to your stance, is the actual paddling. As the white water approaches you , you will want to take a few powerful strokes to build some momentum. This is important because the forward movement will lend to greater stability of the board. Just before the moment the white water gets to the nose of your board, you will want to bend your knees to lower your center of gravity and apply pressure to the tail with your trailing foot to raise the nose. Keep in mind, you will want to keep an active paddle through the entire process. If you sense you are losing your balance, it is best to drop to one knee, but get back up as soon as you can to address any additional waves that might be coming.