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<< Analyze surfing technique | main | X marks the spot >>
Best Volume for easy to paddle surf board.

I get asked by beginners, " What size / brand board is best if you have a hard time catching waves ? 

I get ask by intermediates, " What size Volume liters should I order so my board is easier to paddle ? "


The answer is "It doesn't matter if you have a weak paddle".


A wise Waikiki Beachboy told me " Surfing isn't surfing, Surfing is Paddling.  Why ? 

Because 90% of the time is spent paddling, only 10% is actual riding on the wave.   


Hands relaxed.  ( not with fingers cupped or spread far apart )

Breathing.  ( not holding your breath )

Body in line with the stringer and positioned correctly front to back. 


Everyone has a different paddle style.  But if your arm is straight on the return phase, it takes too long to get back in for the power phase. 


Surfer on Left is doing the straight arm " Windmill "paddle which is very stiff.  

Surfer on the Right is doing the double arm paddle which provides more torque but less RPM.  It's like pedaling a bicycle with the crank arms in the same alignment.  The board pulses forward then pauses, then pulses again.  


The surfer in the background is doing the Windmill paddle which is not efficient.  He is also too far back on the board.  


"If I'm too far forward, I'll pearl" you might say.  But if you are too far back, that is even worse.  I'd rather catch the wave and pearl  than paddle from way back on the board and miss the wave.  

Here the surfer is positioned nicely on the board, paddling smoothly, eyes up.  Nose is close to the surface of the water ( which helps the board glide )


But in a moment, she pops up and gets to her feet.  That transfer of weight automatically brings  the nose up.  


Too far back on the board makes the board into a snow plow.  The faster you paddle the harder you have to fight.  You may think being farther back makes you less prone to pearl, but it contributes to a weak paddle ( and just delays the pearl once the wave sucks up the tail and slams the nose down ) 


Even if you work out at the gym, have good fitness and are "strong" , you still have to have good technique.

Notice here her body is spinning to the left as she reaches forward with her right hand. 

Good paddlers have a "quiet body"  but fast moving hands.  Basically only from the shoulders outwards moves.  


Imagine a airplane with one engine pointed a bit of angle different than the other. Or if the motor moves around in it's mounts.  It would waste energy, when the thrust should be sent straight back.  


Last week we discussed Analyzing Surfing Technique.   So take a look at this photo and try to see some paddling technique problems.


On the Right, the surfer is too far back and his board can't glide or go down the face.  The nose is so high out of the water, only his finger tips can enter the water, not his whole arm.  

On the Left,  the surfers legs are torquing back and forth.  Nose of the board is nice. Arm is nice and deep.  But the legs swinging left and right eats up energy.  


Is 55 liters easier to catch waves than 57 liters ?   

Can a 6'6" Fish board with high volume paddle as well as a 8'0" softboard ? 

Flatter rocker better than more rocker ? 

Bigger fins mean more drag ? 


The answer would be up to you.  YOU need to be able to paddle the board.  If your paddle sucks, everything will suck.  Catching waves, getting back out, getting tired faster, etc.  


Have you read any surfboard makers catalog say " this board is BAD for catching waves and HARD to paddle " ?  They all can catch waves if the rider can.  If the rider can't paddle properly ( and take off at the wrong place at the wrong time ), the board can't catch waves properly.  


Good surfers ( or should I say good PADDLERS ) can ride anything no matter what size or volume.   


Please check Matsunosuke Kugenuma, Hope Cheng and Eason's photography on FB    and  to see more.  













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