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SUP Tips For Paddling In and Out Through Surf

November 15, 2017 Cali Paddler

SUP Tips for Paddling in and out of SurfAt some point or another, you might enter a race where you have to enter through the surf to get to the start line. Or maybe you go for a paddle and want to beach along the way, but there is some surf to account for. This can be intimating to some. And others may not understand how a simple extra second can make all the difference. Here are some important tips, dos and don'ts and lessons learned the hard way which may help you safely get to your destination and not have to worry so much about that upcoming race with a beach entry.

This is part of a multi-part series.

SUP Tips For Paddling In and Out Through Surf -
brought to you by Better Surf Than Sorry

Generally regarding what kind of craft you are on you should always do the following:

Look before you leap…. Or peer before you paddle 😊 meaning, always watch the ocean for a little before going out. Look at the rhythm of the ocean to see how often sets come in. Look for rips and areas where there are fewer waves(usually deeper water) which are soft spots that are easier to navigate. Check for obstacles such as reefs, rocks etc. Realize that you are on a large craft and always make sure you are at a safe distance from others in case things go wrong…. it happens to the best of us.  Make sure your craft is at your side and never between you and the on coming surf. Always wear a leash. All of these become more important the bigger the surf is.

SUP Specific tips:

Paddling out:

  1. Always approach the wave perpendicular and at a good pace
  2. Have a short quick stroke
  3. Just before hitting the wave step back into a low wide surf stance. This will raise the front of the board to help get over the wave.
  4. Once you hit the wave, immediately try and take a stroke right behind the crest of the wave. This will help you level your board back over the wave plus paddle in the water = stability.
  5. If you go down, sometimes the best thing to do to get out of the impact zone is paddle on your stomach like a traditional surfboard. Otherwise by the time you get to your feet again there might already be another wave on you. To paddle on your stomach just take the blade part of the paddle , stick it under your chest and paddle paddle paddle.

SUP Tips for Paddling in and out of Surf

Paddling back in:

When coming back in you have to realize that you have a lot of board that just wants to go straight down.

  1. Plan way ahead. It doesn’t take much at all to catch a wave on a race sup. All you need is a bump. Don’t try to catch a steep wave that is already broken.
  2. You should already be in somewhat of a surf stance when paddling for the wave. Once you have it, immediately step back to the tail to keep the nose from pearling.
  3. When riding the wave, your paddle can help you steer plus you can steer by leaning like a regular surfboard.
  4. As you ride and the white water catches you it will start pushing your tail and turning the board. The best way to correct that is to paddle. That will straighten you back out. Leaning for steering usually won’t work when you are getting pushed by white water.
  5. If you are on the inside and trying to catch white water from a wave that is already broken, the best thing to do is paddle hard and try and match the speed of the wave by the time it gets to you. That way you don’t get knocked on your heels when it hits you.
  6. Always be in a wide low surf stance while surfing a wave in on a race sup.

SUP Tips for Paddling in and out of Surf

[ Photo gratitude to Erik at OnIt Pro! ]



Better Surf Than SorryThis article was brought to us by Alan Chalom and Better Surf Than Sorry - a company specializing in fun and exciting ideas. Our mission is to build a unique venue for trend setting surf related products that respect the surf and the creatures within. "My goal is to make and market products for beach lovers. You don't have to be a surfer to love surfing,” says Chalom, Better Surf's Founder. Alan Chalom has been involved in surfing and outrigger canoeing since the time he stood on his first board in Herzlia, Israel (1972). Alan has created a company based on his passions which helps makes you a living, and, in turn, immerses you that much deeper into your own passion. For all those ideas thought of between surf sessions and swells; they now have a home.

Alan Chalom has also built the infant and kids line Surfer Baby with the slogan "You're never too young to be cool." Inspired by the beautiful Kalia Sky Chalom, the latest addition to the Chalom family, Surfer Baby offers surfboard bibs and burp cloths, clothing, head wear, and decor that is all surf-inspired.!


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