What is paddle surfing?
Paddle surfing (or stand up paddle) is a sport that involves moving through the water on a standing board, with the help of a paddle. It is the most popular water sport in recent years; and can be practiced in the sea, lakes, reservoirs and rivers at any age.
History of stand up paddle boarding
Originally the tribes of Polynesia used narrow boats to go fishing, in which they stood up and helped themselves with an oar to go forward.
Paddle surfing was practiced in Egypt more than 3000 years ago.
The origin of the history of stand up paddle boarding is found in Hawaii, on Waikiki Beach in 1960. Surf instructors (called beach boys) used canoe paddles to guide their groups; and in the beginning the SUP was practiced only to keep in shape the days there were no waves. It only became popular in the 90s.
The creator of paddle surfing is John Zapotocky, born in Waikiki, he died in 2013.The big difference between SUP and Surfing is that we don’t need waves. It is a sport designed for all ages (since it is a low impact activity), which besides being fun and healthy is relatively easy to practice. The necessary equipment is only the paddle surf board and the paddle, although other accessories such as leash, neoprene suit and life jacket are used for safety and / or comfort.
How to paddle surf?
Paddling on a paddle board can be easy if we have a good board, a calm sea and no wind. Rowing consists of pushing the water back with the paddle. There are several types of paddling:
The beginner’s paddling
If you are a beginner, we recommend you start with a large volume board to make standing up easier. You must monitor the weather conditions, especially with offshore winds (winds that takes you out to sea).
Do not forget to warm up shoulders, arms and wrists.
To paddle, place the shovel between your feet and the front of the board. The arms should be well stretched to row; We paddle slowly and when we reach the heels, we lift the paddle to place it between our feet and the front of the board again.
Ideally, we make series of three or four paddles and change side. It is important to immerse the paddle well and row with it close to the board.
Rowing with power
At times our rowing needs more power than usual, either at the beginning of a race, passing foam or to reach the peak of the wave before the serie of smaller waves arrive.
We must reach for the water far away, so we will have to move the hip forward without moving the feet from the side that we are going to paddle on. The powerful stroke is achieved by pushing the hand of the knob down, while pulling the lower hand, while doing a hip and upper back movement.
When the paddle enters the water we must be completely stretched. The bigger the paddle backward movement, the easier it is to become unbalanced and less efficient.
The Downwind paddling
It consists of making trips in the high seas with the force of the wind and waves. In this type of paddle surfing you must alternate paddling power with quick paddlings.
Paddling to pass the wave
Trying to get to the peak of the wave can be complicated depending on the waves. To pass the wave these tips can help:
- Waiting to get to a part of the wave where we can stand without much effort.
- Taking a certain speed even to pass series of small waves, because if we go very slowly they will take us back and if we go very fast we can fall.
- Putting ourselves in the surf position if the foam is quite large, with the paddle nailed to the back of the wave, staying balanced.
- Rowing at high frequency and constantly, keeping some energy in case we get to the series of waves before expected.
Pallding to take a wave
We must make the paddle enter the water very straight, keep the shoulders aligned to put ourself in a surfing position. When we are at the peak we must give the last row, while we go down the wall to give the final push. From that moment it is not recommended to use the paddle (only in case of running out of speed or needing to manoeuvre).
We hope these tips will help you get into the world of paddle surfing. In future posts we will see more technical aspects and peculiarities of this sport, so if you are passionate about water sports, subscribe to our blog and don’t miss nothing related to these sports.
Paddle surfing: all you need to know about the paddling move. (2017). Taken from:
What is the history of stand up paddle boarding?. Taken from: https://www.gopaddlesurf.com/que-es-paddle-surf/
Marc Alvarez es de Barcelona y es el fundador de Watersportsmallorca. Es instructor profesional de deportes náuticos desde el año 1988. Está capacitado para dar clases de Windsurf, Kitesurf, Catamaran, Surf y SUP y puede hacerlo en una gran cantidad de idiomas: catalán, español, francés, inglés, alemán e italiano. Le gusta practicar surf-kite y ha viajado en busca de viento y olas a Australia, Indonesia, Marruecos, Islas Canarias, España, Brasil, Costa Rica, País Vasco, Portugal…