Paddling out the back is challenging.
Not only is paddling out the back, through the breaking waves going to be one of your first major challenges in surfing, but as you surf in larger and more challenging (and rewarding) surf, you will find that getting out the back is not always a walk in the park, even for the experienced surfer. There are a few main techniques all surfers use in order to paddle out. The techniques can vary depending on the types of break (reef, point, beachbreak etc…), and also depending on the size of your board.
How to Paddle Out – Techniques
- Find the best spot to paddle out
- We obviously don’t want to paddle out right into a bunch of oncoming waves, right? At a beach break, you want to look for a place where waves are coming in less often. Reefs and points can sometimes offer a channel, or an area where you can paddle easily around the breaking waves.
- Walk out as far as possible
- This will save you from paddling when it isn’t really necessary. This is easiest done at a beach break, but is also possible to walk out over rocks and some reefs with proper knowledge of the spot.
- Punch through the waves
- This technique is best done on a bigger surfboard, when you can’t submerge the board down and duckdive, or on smaller waves when you don’t need to go under the wave.
- Always make sure you are paddling hard at the wave, and are hitting it straight on!
- The Turtle Roll
- This technique is mostly used on longboards, or boards that are too big to duckdive.
- It involves turning upside down before the wave gets to you, and allowing the wave to pass overhead while you are underwater.
- I use this technique when the wave has too much whitewater to punch through, or if the wave is going to break right in front of me.
- The Duck Dive
- This technique is used mostly for smaller surfboards, although it is very possible to duckdive a longboard with the proper timing (a wave that isn’t fully broken) by a skilled surfer.
- The Duck Dive is when the surfer pushes the board underwater, while still lying prone on the board.
- After the wave passes over, the surfer then surfaces and continues paddling out.
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