Paddling out on a longboard is an essential skill for any surfer looking to catch waves and enjoy the ocean’s energy. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider transitioning to a longboard, mastering the art of paddling out efficiently and effectively is crucial. Longboards, known for their larger size and stability, require a slightly different approach compared to shortboards or other surfcraft. In this guide, we will walk you through the fundamental steps and techniques to paddle out on a longboard, ensuring that you navigate the surf lineup with confidence and ease. By understanding the mechanics of paddling, utilizing proper positioning, and employing smart wave selection, you’ll be well-equipped to make the most of your longboarding adventures. So grab your board, let’s dive in and learn how to paddle out on a longboard!
Choose the Right Equipment
The first step to paddling out on a longboard is to choose the right equipment. Longboards are typically longer and thicker than shortboards, making them more stable and easier to balance on. They also have a flatter rocker, which allows for a smoother and more predictable ride.
When selecting a longboard, it’s important to consider your height, weight, and experience level. For beginners, a longboard between 9 to 10 feet long is recommended, as it provides a larger surface area and stability. Additionally, a longboard with a wide nose and tail will make it easier to paddle out.
Position Yourself Correctly
Once you have your equipment, it’s time to position yourself correctly on the board. Firstly, you want to make sure that you’re lying in the center of the board, with your chest and hips in the centerline. This will help balance the board, making it easier to control.
Next, lie flat on your stomach with your hands on either side of the board, near the rails. Your head should be lifted, and your eyes should be scanning the horizon for incoming waves. Ensure that your feet are hanging off the tail of the board, as this will help prevent the nose from diving underwater.
Time Your Paddling
Timing your paddling is crucial to successfully paddle out on a longboard. Wait for a lull in the waves before you begin paddling. Trying to paddle through a set of waves is not recommended, as it can be challenging and dangerous.
Once you’ve identified a lull, start paddling out to sea in a diagonal path. Paddle with slow and even strokes, using one arm at a time. Keep your body low to the board, and use your core muscles to stabilize your body on the board.
Avoid the White Water
As you paddle out, you will come across a section of “white water,” which is the broken part of the wave. Avoid paddling through this section, as it can throw you off the board and make it difficult to paddle out.
Instead, aim to paddle around the white water, positioning yourself outside the breaking waves. Keep an eye on the incoming waves and try to time your paddling to make progress towards the outside.
Use the Rip Currents
Rip currents are narrow channels of water that flow away from the shore and can help you paddle out. These currents can be identified by their rough, choppy surface texture and the absence of waves breaking on them.
To use rip currents, position yourself in the center of the channel and paddle out using the current’s flow. Use your peripheral vision to spot any incoming waves and adjust your position accordingly.
Practice and Patience
Paddling out on a longboard takes practice and patience. Don’t feel discouraged if you struggle at first. Keep practicing and refining your technique, and soon you’ll be able to paddle out with confidence.
In conclusion, mastering the art of paddling out on a longboard is an essential skill for any surfer. It requires a combination of physical strength, timing, and understanding of the ocean’s dynamics. By following the key steps mentioned earlier—such as selecting the right wave, positioning yourself correctly on the board, employing efficient paddling techniques, and navigating through the breaking waves—you can increase your chances of successfully paddling out on a longboard. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be discouraged if it takes some time to get it right. With patience, perseverance, and a deep respect for the ocean, you’ll soon be gliding effortlessly over the water, ready to enjoy the exhilarating experience of longboard surfing. So grab your board, head to the beach, and embrace the journey of becoming a skilled longboard paddler. Happy surfing!