Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Christopher Sugrue’s Pointers on Paddling

Surfing Legend Tom Curren showcasing his buttery smooth technique, from Christopher Sugrue Photos

My name is Christopher Sugrue. As an advertising creative, I pitch the products of my mind’s musings to corporate bigwigs and serious suits for a living. On the interims between the serial episodes of brainstorming and bluffing that constitute my job description, however, I grab my wetsuit and board, fill my tank up, hit the road that leads straight to my favorite sparkling blue water, and surf.

Kate Bosworth paddles out in a scene from surfer film "Blue Crush" (2002), from Christopher Sugrue Photos

What beginner surfers need to know is that paddling makes up a huge chunk of the time one is in the water with a board. Paddling is how you propel yourself beyond the breaking waves and onto the lineup to hitch a ride on a wave.

This brings us to Christopher Sugrue’s paddling pointers:

From Christopher Sugrue Photos

  • On a day when the water isn’t too choppy, choose a spot where you won’t knock anyone else out.
  • Lay your board flat on the water. Lie on your stomach with your weight along the center of the board and your feet raised slightly off the end.
  • Keep your body far back enough to keep the nose of the board a few inches out of the water’s surface, but not too far back that you create too much drag.
  • Reach out with one arm at a time and stroke your way through the water. There’s no need to dig your arms to deep – just maintain a rhythm that pulls the board through the water.

  • From Christopher Sugrue Photos

  • Make sure that the nose of your board does not dip underwater at any point. To balance yourself on the board, try moving your legs slightly apart.
  • When paddling, maintaining good balance and proper board waxing are key to prevent from digging the nose of your board underwater or from having the board shoot up in front of you.

Find Christopher Sugrue on Facebook.