How to Paddle a Surfboard

How to Paddle a Surfboard
Beginner surfers dream of mastering their skills on the water and catching that perfect wave. But without core paddling skills, you'll never make it further than the shoreline. Remember that paddling is more than pushing your arms through the water while you lay on your board. The trick is to find that spot that balances your weight while keeping up speed at the same time. Master your paddling on calm water and learn how to use your body weight to your advantage with these steps.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Surfboard
  • Surfboard
Step 1
Carry your board into waist deep water and lay your body on your body. Keep your weight center to the board and do not lean back. You may have difficulty getting onto your board the first time. Don't worry if it wobbles or you slip off.
Step 2
Keep your body off the nose of the board and inch your way down until you feel comfortable and balanced. If it feels like you are dragging through the water when you start paddling, inch forward until you find the right spot. It may take some time to figure out the best position for your body and weight.
Step 3
Stabilize yourself and lean forward and let the board steady out on the water. Raise your feet slightly and keep them apart to help balance your weight while paddling.
Step 4
Allow both your arms to rest in the water and start paddling. Alternate your arms and keep your hands cupped. Don't dip into the water too deep.
Step 5
Balance your weight against the board as you alternate your arms and feel the resistance against the water. Resistance against the water while paddling indicates that you are gaining speed.
Step 6
Lift your chest lightly when you hit choppy water to keep the nose and rails of your board from going under.

Tips & Warnings

Practice on calm water and graduate to choppy waters before paddling out to large waves.
Work on gaining speed and conserving your energy for surfing a wave.

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