How to Paddle A Surfboard - Paddle Well and Catch More Waves!

Paddling is one of the keys to awesome surfing.  Most people starting out don't realize how huge of a roll paddling plays in surfing. Go to a beach where people are getting lessons, odds are you will hear the instructor yelling “Paddle, Paddle, Paddle!”. If you want to catch a wave you have to get your speed up.  Don't be timid and just lie on your surfboard expecting the wave to push you along.  Paddle to catch the wave as if your life depended on it.

Not only is it important in getting you out to the line-up, it is tremendously important in getting you in a position to catch a wave. I guarantee you will catch more waves as you improve your surf fitness.

You will catch more waves with good conditioning, and you will be able to stay out longer and have much more fun surfing too. It pains me to see a beginner surfer flopped out on their surfboard because they are not in good enough shape.  If you want to learn how to surf, do whatever you can to get your upper body in shape before learning to surf.  Exercises to strengthen your shoulders, arms and core should be your focus. Simple exercises like push ups and sit ups will go a long way. Just trust me, pay attention to your surf fitness. The key to good surfing and how much you will enjoy your first few times out in the water will be what kind of paddling shape you are in before heading out into the surf.

The actual act of paddling sounds pretty simple and it is, you just need to get your position correct on the surfboard and concentrate on the correct form.

How to position yourself on the surfboard:

Your surfboard will probably have a stringer. This is the wooden strip that runs down the center line of the surfboard. Use this to position your body exactly in the center of the board. Next, you will position your body on the surfboard so that when you are paddling in the water, the nose of the surfboard is about one inch above the surface of the water. If it's up more than that, slide up a little on your surfboard. Most beginners tend to be too far back on their surfboards. If the nose of your surfboard is digging or plowing into the water, slide back a little on your surfboard. You'll find small adjustments are usually all it takes to get the trim of your board just right for paddling.

If you are paddling out through the whitewater and the surfboard slides out from under you and shoots out backwards, this is a sign that you are too far forward, slide back a little more.  If the incoming water lifts the nose of your surfboard way up into the air, possibly sending you onto your back with the surfboard on top of you, slide forward more.

How to Paddle A Surfboard

This is what you need to focus on when paddling on your surfboard.

  • You need to keep your fingers together and cup your hand.
  • Focus on extending your arm all the way forward towards the nose of your surfboard and keep those fingers together and give a good steady stroke.
  • Dig deep into the water on the stroke. Don't let your arms drift out from the sides of the surfboard.

how to paddle a surfboard faster

While this is going on, you need to also focus on your posture. Good paddling posture will be keeping your back arched and your chest up off of the surfboard. Your head will be up and your eyes looking forward. If you are paddling and your chin is on, or very near the surfboard, remind yourself to get that chest up and eyes forward.

Learn to paddle with good form and conditioning and you will catch more waves.

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