How To Increase Paddling Speed In Surfing

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Surfing is a thrilling water sport that requires a combination of balance, wave reading, and excellent paddling skills. While riding the waves is undeniably exhilarating, efficient paddling plays a vital role in getting to those waves on time. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, increasing your paddling speed can significantly enhance your overall surfing experience. In this article, we’ll explore six effective techniques and strategies to help you improve your paddling speed, allowing you to catch more waves and elevate your surfing performance.


How important is paddling speed in surfing?

Paddling speed is a crucial factor in successful surfing. It determines how quickly you can reach the waves and position yourself for optimal takeoff. The faster you paddle, the more waves you can catch, and the more opportunities you’ll have to showcase your surfing skills. Additionally, increased paddling speed enables you to escape hazardous situations, navigate through crowded lineups, and maintain control over your board. By focusing on improving your paddling technique, you’ll be able to maximize your time in the water and elevate your overall surfing performance.


What are the key components of efficient paddling?

Efficient paddling relies on several key components. Firstly, body positioning plays a vital role. Lie flat on your board with your chest raised slightly, allowing for better arm extension during each stroke. Secondly, arm strength and proper technique are essential. Utilize a high-elbow technique, with your arms entering the water at a slight angle and pulling through in a smooth, continuous motion. Engage your core muscles to generate power, and avoid unnecessary movements that can slow you down. Finally, your kicking technique should provide additional propulsion. Use small, quick kicks from your hips rather than long, sweeping kicks that can disrupt your balance.


How can I improve my paddling technique?

Improving your paddling technique is key to increasing your speed. Practice the following tips to refine your technique:

  1. Regularly engage in upper body strength training exercises to improve arm strength and endurance.
  2. Focus on maintaining a streamlined body position to reduce drag and increase efficiency.
  3. Practice a high-elbow technique to generate more power and maintain a fluid stroke.
  4. Utilize paddle drills and exercises to improve your stroke mechanics and build muscle memory.
  5. Incorporate core-strengthening exercises to enhance stability and generate more power from your torso.
  6. Film and analyze your paddling technique to identify areas that need improvement and make necessary adjustments.


How can I increase my paddling endurance?

Paddling endurance is crucial for longer sessions and to sustain your paddling speed. Consider the following techniques to boost your paddling endurance:

  1. Engage in cardiovascular exercises like swimming, running, or cycling to improve your overall endurance levels.
  2. Incorporate interval training, alternating between high-intensity paddling bursts and periods of rest.
  3. Gradually increase your time in the water, starting with shorter sessions and gradually building up to longer durations.
  4. Practice breath control techniques to optimize your breathing during paddling and conserve energy.
  5. Develop a consistent paddling routine to allow your body to adapt and build endurance over time.
  6. Consider cross-training activities that target the muscles used in paddling, such as yoga or Pilates, to enhance your overall fitness.


How does body positioning impact paddling speed?

Proper body positioning significantly influences your paddling speed. Lie flat on your board with your chest slightly raised, ensuring your weight is evenly distributed. This position minimizes drag and allows for better arm extension during each stroke. Keep your head up, scanning the horizon to maintain awareness of your surroundings while reducing the strain on your neck. By maintaining an optimal body position, you’ll increase your paddling efficiency and speed, enabling you to catch more waves.


Are there any additional techniques to improve paddling speed?

In addition to refining your paddling technique and endurance, the following techniques can further enhance your paddling speed:

  1. Optimize your equipment: Ensure your surfboard is suited to your skill level and wave conditions. A board that matches your weight and height will allow for better maneuverability and increased speed.
  2. Master the duck dive: Learning the duck dive technique helps you efficiently navigate through breaking waves, reducing the time and effort spent paddling out.
  3. Strengthen your back muscles: Targeting your back muscles through exercises like rowing or lat pull-downs can enhance your paddling power and speed.
  4. Focus on flexibility: Incorporate stretching exercises and yoga routines to improve your overall flexibility, allowing for a longer and more powerful paddle stroke.
  5. Use wave energy: Timing your paddling strokes with the incoming wave can provide additional momentum, aiding your overall speed.
  6. Stay motivated and consistent: Consistency in practicing and maintaining a positive mindset will contribute to gradual improvements in your paddling speed and overall surfing performance.



Increasing your paddling speed is a valuable investment in your surfing journey. By focusing on refining your technique, improving your endurance, and incorporating additional techniques, you’ll notice a significant enhancement in your overall performance in the water. Remember, consistent practice and dedication are key to achieving success. So, grab your board, hit the waves, and embrace the exhilarating experience of riding the perfect wave!

Josh Mitchell

Josh Mitchell

"I live and breath boardriding"

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