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Tips for Paddling in & out of Surf

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Getting out through the surf is one of the most challenging aspects of surf ski paddling, so we thought we would take a look at some important tips that will help you when you’re next tackling the waves.

  1. First and foremost, never stand with your surf ski between you and an oncoming wave, the last thing you want is to be cleaned up and risk injury.
  1. Make sure you are standing on your most comfortable side, this is important because once in the boat your first stroke will balance you and this will be easier on your dominant side.
  1. While standing in the shallows, do not let the nose of your boat be swamped by the waves by holding the boat by the foot strap and lifting just the nose of the boat, which will give you more control.
  1. The perfect moment to head into the waves is exactly after a wave has passed. At this point you should be standing with water up to your knees, before jumping into your ski and paddling before the next wave is able to reach you.
  1. Punch the waves. Although it may seem daunting attacking the wave at the right time without hesitation is the most effective technique. This is achieved by increasing stroke rate and not losing momentum.
  1. Avoid getting stuck in the impact zone – which happens when the wave crashes directly on top of you, hindering your forward momentum and can lead to some serious damage. After waiting for the impact zone to pass make sure you aggressively paddle up and over the white water – this is made easier by studying the waves before entering the water.

  2. When a wave hits, remember to never stop paddling. Forward momentum is critical and the typical response to getting hit by a wave is to stop and rebalance. However, by taking another stroke you will regain your balance and set yourself for the next wave. 
  1. Heading back into shore requires a lot of patience, a quick burst of speed, and composure. Position your surf ski positioned in front of a forming wave so that the nose of the boat won’t bury into the water - lean back as far as you can and pull back on the foot strap to prevent doing so. If you start to become unbalanced - continue paddling. If that fails, stick your paddle out to the side of the boat and push down to stay upright.

In conclusion have fun, don’t be scared, be prepared to get wet, and always practice safety first.

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