How to Paddle Faster

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Have you ever felt tired after a one minute paddle in? You’re not alone! Paddling technique is critical to ensure you get out there fast without completely draining your body’s energy supply.


To improve your paddle, it is necessary to learn the correct technique to power through shore breakers and currents. First, you always want to open your torso and extend your arms. Finger placement is also really important. If you spread them correctly, it can improve your velocity up to 20 – 40 percent. Scientists from the University of Toulouse (France), Duke University (USA), and the University of Pretoria (South Africa) have completed a study on this and discovered that the ideal spacing between your fingers is twice the boundary layer thickness of one finger.

Once you start to practice and work on these techniques, you will slowly see improvement in your over all style and paddle power. Focus on deep breaths and timing and keep your mind on the objective – to get out their fast and catch that barrel out the back!


The paddle board champion and big-waves surfer, Jamie Mitchell, gave some tips about it:

1. Keep relaxed. When you’re paddling, don’t tense up and get all stressed. Relax the shoulders and keep everything loose. People tend to miss a wave or get frustrated and you see them thrash or look like they’re chopping wood or something. Keep it simple and stay relaxed – that’s the best way to move along quickly.
2. Hand position. People ask me all the time how I hold my hands and fingers when paddling. Do I keep them close together or have a slight gap? I personally just relax the hand and it tends to have a slight gap. If you keep your fingers together, it feels unnatural — like you have to try to keep them like that.

3. The catch. Have you ever watched a good swimmer’s stroke underwater? Maybe you should. You want to try to copy the same stroke that they are doing under water and transfer it to your stroke on your surfboard. (Especially if you are thinking of paddling Maverick’s after that last swell!)
4.Feel the water. Yes, that’s right — feel the water. You need to feel the pressure of the water against your hand from the time it enters to the time it leaves the water. The more you feel it, the harder it is on your arms but the faster you will go.

5. And if you are after that extra edge and want to take it to the next level, try to grab a paddleboard and do a couple of sneaky training sessions to strengthen your stoke.

Practice makes perfect, get out their and give it a try!

Looking for additional ways to improve? Check out How to Read the Wave When Surfing & Stay in the “Sweet Spot”

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