Sup Technique: How to paddle through breaking waves

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BIC Sup legend, waterman and ACA Sup instructor Jimmy Blakeney walks us through strategy for standup paddling out into the surf through breaking waves in this video.

Tips from the Top:  Jimmy Blakeney on Paddling through Breaking Waves

Here’s the overview.  Be sure to watch the video above to see demonstration of the tips found here and a more comprehensive understanding of these statements.

Be aware of your surroundings.  Know who’s around you and whether losing your equipment might put someone near by in a dangerous situation.

For smaller waves:
OPTION 1:  Lay down on your board and paddle out with your paddle on the deck in front of you.

OPTION 2:  Paddle out in a kneeling position and paddle over the white water by leaning back and taking a hard stoke as you hit the foam.

For larger waves:
When standing up and paddling out through the surf, you’ll want to take a surfer’s stance with one foot in front of the other (see video).  Stand further back on your board in order to get the nose up when punching through the white water. Having forward momentum is important when moving through white water because without it, you’re much less stable.

Keep your knees bent and your center of gravity low over your board.  Keep that forward motion momentum in order to drive over the breaking waves.

Use your paddle as a brace in the moment the white water hits you.  Keep moving.  If you have to drop to one knee, get back up quickly and punch through to the outside of the impact zone.

Good luck out there!  Be safe and have FUN!


About the author

Evelyn O'Doherty is a standup paddle racer, surfer and yoga teacher from the East End of Long Island in New York. Her passion for watersports drew her to leave a teaching career to pursue her athletic endeavors as a sup instructor, racing coach, sup racer, and now, as online editor for Standup Journal. Evelyn lives in East Hampton NY in the Springs area where she has daily access to the water to train and teach. When the swell is working, you can find her in Montauk rattling around in her Ford Ranger surfboards hanging out the back headed for points East.

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