× Tips and techniques for getting the most out of surfskiing.

technique question...

8 years 8 months ago #25119 by Bodsy
technique question... was created by Bodsy
G'day everyone, firstly thanks for all the great info on the forum. As a new paddler it is invaluable. By way of intro I'm just getting going in a recently acquired club version of the older v10sport and enjoying doing some paddling again after a loooong break (did some races in late teens incl murray marathon and some single day 50 and 100 k races back then). I;m now 50 and around 6ft, moderately fit and a bit heavier than I'd like...so focusing on getting good technique, fitness and enjoying myself.
Paddling mainly in Canberra on river/lake and a few trips to the ocean to try out that side of things and eventually keen to do a few ocean races around the 20k mark...
I've watched and read a lot over the last year or so on technique and am now trying to work on that. Have read that the paddle (i'm using carbonology cs3 at about 215cm and 60 deg feather) should be as close to vertical as possible at the catch and that the wing is most efficient when its vertical. My main challenge at the moment seems to be getting good rotation and keeping lower (pulling) arm as straight as possible through the stroke - it seems that to get good rotation from hips through trunk and keep that lower arm straightish - that the blade of the paddle must be moving quite a bit into a horizontal position as the stroke widens towards the end and moves out 50cm or so as it leaves the water on completion of the stroke - ie the blade is maybe on a 45 degree angle at exit - rather than more vertical??
And also have read in a few books, forum posts etc that the line the paddle makes (ie looking down from above ) is a bit like a slightly flattened out J as it travels down alongside the hull exiting hopefully around hip position. This path seems to make sense if you try and do a strong close to vertical catch and then the blade travels out wider as you try and hip rotate and keep that lower arm straightish.
And is there any way to know if youre getting it pretty right - ie feel pull in the lats rather than shoulders etc?
Went for a paddle this morn and did a 2km time trial sort of thing at pretty hard effort while still trying to keep the technique together and the speed was around 10.8km/hr for that 2k. We do have some coaches here as part of the local canoe club so will also try and get a bit of video at some stage to post for some feedback from experienced paddlers etc!
Any tips etc much appreciated - partic about that paddle path/ J shape and lower arm straigt etc! Thanks all and happy paddling

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

8 years 8 months ago #25128 by kwolfe
Replied by kwolfe on topic technique question...
I'm in a similar situation to you. I got a V8 this summary and have been paddling now about 4 times per week for the past 5 months. Like you, I watched a ton of videos to make sure my technique was right.
One thing that really helped me was trying not to pull the paddle through the water, but to try and pull yourself (and the boat) past the paddle once its planted at the catch. Odd, but it really emphasizes using the trunk and lats to rotate yourself through the stroke. Then, the paddle just follows a natural path.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

8 years 8 months ago #25129 by mckengmsurfski
Bodsy, there is no substitute for professional help. You will save yourself a ton of time by hiring an expert to coach you individually on technique, with intermittent live follow up. The trajectory of your improvement will take off. Watching videos and trying to mimic what you see and hear online will most likely only take you a small portion of the way towards your full potential. The best paddling investment you'll ever make, in my opinion, is hiring an expert to provide live on the water technique lessons.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

8 years 8 months ago #25133 by Bodsy
Replied by Bodsy on topic technique question...
thanks Mark and Kwolfe and will take that on board (on ski...) , need to be patient and not expect too much too soon as well... I will definitely get some coaching Mark as youve suggested and just practice what I can when I get the opportunity. Thanks for your help.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

8 years 8 months ago - 8 years 8 months ago #25134 by AR_convert
Replied by AR_convert on topic technique question...
Welcome Bodsy. I was over your way for the National marathon champs earlier this year, nice stretch of water there at Molongolo Reach but you can keep your chilly weather :P

I too started on an Epic V10 sport club when getting into paddling and was using a CS3 paddle. The CS3 is a good all round paddle with a good catch, so good that I ended up having to shorten the length to around 212 to reduce stress on my shoulders.

Experiment with paddle length as you may find a higher rating with that paddle (shorter length) pays dividends? I actually started at 210 then worked up to 212 as I got stronger.


Always looking for the next boat :)
Last edit: 8 years 8 months ago by AR_convert.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • photofr
  • photofr's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Platinum Member
  • SURFSKI: K1 560M - 560x43.8 / K2 Viper - 650x56
8 years 8 months ago #25137 by photofr
Replied by photofr on topic technique question...
Welcome !
There are a lot of drills you can do, but before getting too deep into them, I have to warn you:
What will seem "logical" to us will seem so foreign to you. Keep the following in mind:
Your stroke will take less than 1 second to complete.
During that time, you will have to concentrate on about 15 things.
In my experience, it is not possible for a human to focus on 15 things when starting out, and even less so when worrying about balance (and I admit, I have never tried teaching surfski paddling to a non-human).

First and foremost: your best bet, to save a lot of time, is to find a coach.
Second: video yourself and place it here so that people can help with the most obvious problems.
Third: work on the worst aspect of your stroke first, and if you are unsure, here are some very common mistakes:

The beginning part of your stroke is by far the most important (I believe ever one will agree).
Since that seems to be the case, set yourself up for success: SLOW DOWN.
At first, this will be difficult, but after slowing down tremendously, you will be able to work on your balance and on your stroke.

For your catch, you will have a TOP hand and a LOWER hand.
The top hand should not be above your head, and shouldn't be below your mouth.
In fact, top hand should be close to your ear at the start of your stroke.

Start with that, with a good and solid rotation.
Remember, you are working not he catch… spear the fish and then apply power… and then pull out your blade before you think you should.

Think of the stroke as something that you will never be doing perfectly, but that you will enjoy trying to reach perfection over a 20-year period. It's quite fun, because you will constantly be improving.

The catch alone has several drills available to merely help. I'd say work on the above first, and then worry about the rest.


(Brittany, France)

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

8 years 8 months ago #25139 by Bodsy
Replied by Bodsy on topic technique question...
Great advice thanks AR and Ludovic. AR I have shortened the paddle to 215 from 218 but seems I need to go further and am a bit cautious about shoulder issues knowing how long they can take to come good... 'll try it a bit shorter again as I work on some of the technique suggestions mentioned. And will get some video to post on the site for feedback when I can! Some great surfski photos on your site too Ludovic/PhotoFR, cheers

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Latest Forum Topics