Paddle Through Waves – 3 Ways

Surf Tips

Paddle Through Waves – 3 Ways


Two stand-up paddlers take the safety of a deep water channel amidst some large waves

How to paddle out in bigger surf.

Right so you got the hang of surfing. Jumping up seemed a bit tricky at first but you got it sussed in the end. However you can see the guys and girls surfing “out-back” and you’re sure you could do it.
If only you could get out there!
Paddling out back, is the un-told drama for any improver surfer. If there was a similar aspect in snowboarding, it would be like someone taking away the ski lift.
But those green waves look like way too much fun, so you’ll have to take the charge and learn how to paddle out back.
First thing to do is wait and watch before you even head into the water. Check how big it is, how often the sets of bigger waves come and where people are sitting to catch the waves. Make sure you know where the rocks are and where the rips might be.
Ideally for the first time you want the waves to be in the shoulder high range (when someone is standing up the wave height comes to their shoulder) with a good wave period (time between each wave, anything over 10 seconds is good).
You now have three options, the “half push up”, “The Turtle Roll” and “The duck dive”. Let’s check out each one:

The Half Push Up

Paddle really hard towards the oncoming white water wave. When the wave is half a meter away push up on your surfboard letting the wave go between your chest and the board. When the wave passes lie down and continue to paddle out.

  • Wave size:
  • Very small – small

  • Ideal for:
  • Those first few lines of whitewater as you’re paddling out.

  • Not ideal for:
  • Waves that are about to break. Bigger waves.

  • Effort Rating:
  • Easy

    The Turtle Roll

    Again paddle really hard towards the oncoming white water wave. When the wave is half a meter away slide of one side of the surfboard, drag your feet so they are vertical under water, this will act as an anchor. The surfboard should be upside down as the wave passes over the top. When you feel the wave pass over, stagger your hands to give you more leverage and continue the second part of the roll back on top of your board.

  • Wave size:
  • Medium – Big

  • Ideal for:
  • All waves, especially if you are still surfing on a minimal.

  • Not ideal for:
  • cold days and hollow waves!

  • Effort Rating:
  • Rolling off = easy. Getting back on = Medium.

    The Duck Dive

    One thing to keep in mind with duck diving is if you have quite a buoyant surfboard you will struggle to duck dive it. The concept is simple. The execution hard. With plenty of practice this will become one of the most valuable tools in your surfing kit.
    Paddle hard towards a breaking wave. As the wave is about to hit you stick your bum in the air and push the nose of the surfboard under water. It only needs to go underwater by a few inches. As the nose goes under water, lift your back knee or foot onto the tail of the surfboard and kick the tail of the surfboard under. This scoping motion will drive the board underwater, and with the natural buoyancy of the surfboard it will (should) pop out the back of the wave.

  • Wave size:
  • Very small – massive

  • Ideal for:
  • All waves

  • Not ideal for:
  • Getting the hang of!

  • Effort Rating:
  • Tricky, but well worth it.

    Errant Surf

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