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How paddling improves your surfing

A good paddling technique is one of the most important and fundamental skills you need in order to become a good surfer. Why? I will explain: If you want to surf a wave, speed is really important. That is because, in order for you to catch a wave, you and the wave need to be travelling at roughly the same speed. Do you keep missing waves although you’re sitting in the right spot? That’s probably because you’re not fast enough and why your surf instructor keeps telling you to…..


There are two main parts of the paddling process. The first one is the relaxed way of paddling, used when paddling out in order to get to where the waves are breaking. The second one is the sprint style of paddling which you do when you are going to catch a wave or when you fast move out of the way of breaking waves.

In order to reach the waves, or line-up as it is called, you need to be relaxed when paddling but still remain strong. It is important to always keep your head up and be aware of your surroundings such as waves, the conditions and other surfers at all times. When you’re in the correct position to catch a wave, you need to paddle as strongly as possible. When paddling you should always take a few glances over your shoulder to make sure you are not in anyone’s way and that you are in a good position to catch the wave. One last glace will give you a chance to make any last minute adjustments needed before catching the wave.

The most common type of paddling which the majority of surfers use is called the “prone” position. This is where you are laid down on the board with your back arched and head facing forwards.

Our Top Tips for Paddling Out:
Head: Always keep your head raised, with a strong arch of the back while always looking forwards. This helps to keep the nose of the board out of the water and will help the board to glide.
Hands: Use long, steady and powerful strokes in order to move as much water with your hands as possible in order to move forwards.

Our Top Tips for Sprint Paddling:
Legs and feet: When sprint paddling you can gain extra momentum by kicking with your legs and feet. However, be careful as it can take a lot of practice to get this right and you need to ensure you still keep a steady core when doing this.
Head: When sprint paddling your head should remain low, much lower than when paddling out. This helps to tip the board forward and generate more speed ready to take off.

So, next time your on surfing holidays and about to catch a wave, paddle as hard as you can and ride that wave from Double Island Point back to Rainbow Beach. We’ll see you on our next surf lesson!

The Epic Ocean Adventures Team.
Surf Lessons Noosa and Rainbow Beach.

Epic Ocean Adventures

Noosa - Rainbow Beach - Double Island Point National Park 4X4 Dolphin View Kayak Tours, Surf Lessons - Australia's Longest Wave, Surf Tours & SUP