Surfing with a racing paddle

July 21, 2007

Having sold my sea kayak and paddle I am now forced to use the borrowed carbon fibre wing paddle for surfing. It was an interesting experience.

I got to the beach at noon and played around in 2-3 foot surf for a few hours. As ever I failed to roll except when setting up in advance (except once when the wave rolled me back up by itself). I need to find a roll that I can do from the back deck, which is usually the position I find myself having been tossed in surf: I’ve been leaning right back high bracing into the pile, trying to keep the bow from sinking…

The wing paddle peforms okay for high braces though it does have a tendancy to slide out but I found this managable, I could flip the blade to the back and draw back to finish on a low brace. However that might be to do with the size of these waves. Where it is less good is in the strain it puts on my lower back and joints punching through waves to get back out – the paddles inflexibility really takes it’s toll. The 60 degree feather was also too much in the surf and caused some soreness in my grip (probably gripping too tightly).

The waves today were very short frequency, about 6secs which is a short as they get here, so getting back out was the hardest part as you have to punch through at least 3 breaking waves.

I planned to go again on Sunday (9sec frequency and 4-5 foot waves predicted) but my body was too sore!


2 Responses to “Surfing with a racing paddle”

  1. Seth Dent Says:

    I use a wing paddle for all kinds of paddling. I like it for surfing because you can dig deep to catch waves, but it doesn’t wear you out like traditional paddles. Once you get used to it, you will be able to do high and low braces without thinking about it. Good luck.

  2. andybilham Says:

    Fascinating stuff – great blog!
    Andy B

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