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How to become a stronger paddler

A majority of our time surfing is spent paddling.

By being an efficient paddler, we are able to catch more waves by being in the right place at the right time, and catching more waves leads to faster improvement in our surfing and loads more fun in the line-up.

Paddling exercises

The most effective exercise we can do to become a better board paddler is to simply to get out there and paddle. Here are 3 exercises that will help improve your paddling strength, power, endurance and cardiovascular fitness which will have you catching your fair share of waves out in the line-up.
All exercises can be adapted to perform in either the ocean, swimming pool, river, or lake.

  • Paddle sprints
  • Resistance paddle
  • Paddle, duck-dive or roll

Paddle sprints

1. Start by setting yourself one of the following 3 goals. You can alternate between the 3 sprint options to keep things interesting.

  • a set distance to paddle 
  • a set period of time to paddle or
  • a set number of strokes to perform.

Make sure the above options are challenging yet achievable for your current fitness level. You may need to experiment a little to work this out for your own individual needs.

2. Use the surfboard that you would normally go surfing on so that your paddle sprints are specific to your paddling demands whilst surfing.

3. Paddle your board as fast as you can (with correct technique), until you reach your desired paddle sprint distance, paddle time or number of paddle strokes.  

4. Recover/Rest/Repeat5. As you become more efficient over time you can step things up by: 

  • increasing the distance, period of time or number of strokes 
  • and/or reduce the recovery/rest time between your paddle sprints. 

Photo by Piotr Chrobot on Unsplash

Resistance paddle

1. Start by setting yourself one of the following goals. You can alternate between the 3 sprint options to keep things interesting.

  • a set period of time to paddle 
  • a set number of strokes to perform
  • a desired paddle intensity 

Make sure the above options are challenging yet achievable for your current fitness level. You may need to experiment a little to work this out.

2.  Create a paddling resistance (paddle on the spot), by either

  • fastening your leg-rope to the pool fence, or a nearby pole or secured object. You may need to join 2 leg-ropes together to provide extra length. Ensure that the leg-rope is low to the ground or water surface or you will find yourself nose dive while paddling.   
  • Or have a training partner hold onto either the tail of your surf board or your leg-rope to preventing you moving forward while paddling.

3.  Paddle your board (using correct technique), for your desired period of time, number of strokes or level of intensity. 

4.  Recover/Rest/Repeat 

5. As you become more efficient at paddling you can step things up by 

  • increasing the period of time or number of strokes.
  • increasing how quickly or hard you are paddling
  • and/or reduce the recovery/rest time between your resistance paddling.
 

Photo by lydia harper on Unsplash

Paddle, duck-dive or roll, repeat

This exercise encourages a smooth and efficient transition between paddling and getting past or through the waves and back out into the line-up. The more efficient you become at the transition between paddling and duck diving or board rolling the more efficiently you will be able to get back out past the breaking waves and into the line-up. 

1. Start by setting yourself one of the following goals. You can alternate between the 3 sprint options to keep things interesting 

  • a set period of time to continue paddle/duck-dive or roll 
  • a set number of paddle, duck-dive or rolls to perform
  • a desired intensity

2. paddle your surfboard at your desired effort

3. perform a duck dive (on a short board) or board roll (on a long board) with your best possible technique

4. resume your paddling position back on your board as quickly and as smoothly as possible.

Your surf stoked coaches Jenny & Serena

Now get out there and catch some waves! And most importantly – have fun in the water!


Does this make you want to plan your next surftrip? We’d love to see you on our Surf Getaways!

Check out our upcoming Ladies Surf Getaways to Fiji

Fiji Ladies Surf Getaway

or Byron Bay

Byron Bay Ladies Surf Getaway

Our Ladies Surfing Getaways are designed for individuals or groups of like-minded ladies who are looking for that perfect surfing escape.

or get in touch to help you plan your Custom Getaway, available to any small group or family.

Custom Surf Getaway

We have teamed up with Byron Bay’s most respected and experienced tour and activity providers to enable you to explore and experience as much as you would like at the pace of your choosing. Surf Getaways can tailor make the ultimate Byron Bay holiday with any combination of activities to satisfy every traveller.

Whether you have little or no surfing experience, or you are a seasoned enthusiast, our personalised coaching programs, led by Jenny Boggis and Serena Adams, will significantly improve your surfing and your confidence in the water. Perfectly combining the finest accommodation with the ideal dose of surfing stoke and indulgent pleasures, our Ladies Surf Getaways will guarantee you the ultimate holiday memories to last a lifetime!

2017-09-14T08:34:06+00:00 September 14th, 2017|Exercises, Paddle fitness, Surf coaching, Surf tips, Uncategorized|

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