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

Bad techniques or habits

3 years 3 weeks ago #38432 by John Ski
I'm relatively new to paddling, so I really don't know what are good or bad habits.  I wanted to keep a look out before I develop them.  I've been watching the videos by Oscar and Ivan and wondering if the more experienced paddlers can give other examples of bad techniques?  So far I've come up with:

Don't paddle past your hips, better to finish right about the knees.
Don't paddle fast and crazy, slow steady deliberate strokes improves efficiency.
Don't forget to use leg drive.  Every time I use leg drive I noticed and increase in speed immediately.

When I engage my core on a left stroke, I would push the paddle away, making the boat veer right.  I think my muscles are weak so instead of pushing down on the stroke, I'm pushing away.  To fix this, I started just paddling on the single side and this has helped improve.


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3 years 3 weeks ago #38449 by waverider
Replied by waverider on topic Bad techniques or habits
Leave the gps at home. You have to learn to keep your head up so your airway is clear, breathe in through your nose and out your mouth, otherwise you run out of breath and get a dry mouth. It also allows you to keep an eye on the symmetry of your top hand. It is too easy to develop the head down slouch which messes your breathing and you dont notice the sloppy top hand, which is where the wheels start falling off when it becomes erratic, when you keep staring at the gps on your footstrap. GPS also temps you to chase speed before technique and you end up with a splash and dash style. Focusing on a stable distant horizon is also far better than the wobbly hull. You would also be surprise how much you can drift off course with your head down. You are aiming for best technique not PB top speeds, that comes later

Technique before paddle rate, if you get your technique down it is easier to up your rate to improve water speed,  whereas it is impossible to do it the other way around. Your technique will always disintegrate if you try to up your rate before you are ready

Bulletproot remounts, removes anxiety about falling in, anxiety about falling in makes you hesitate. Hesitation makes you fall in.

Your balance and stability is all about weight on the blade, not your butt,  in the brace, but more so on the catch, especially crosswinding. Thats why you feel more stable directly into wind rather than behind, you are digging harder and putting weight on the blade. Back paddling is a good drill for this.

Do whole sessions practicing going across the waves and chop, this is your most unstable, if you only spend a few minutes each session as you slow to turn around and comeback it wont be enough to build that comfort level. do it solidly for an hour of so every now and then and it becomes second nature.

A front mounted go pro filming yourself so you can replay in slow mo is an extremely good tool. what you intend to do, what you think you are doing and what you are actually doing are completely different things.

If you are slicing the blade sideways there is a good chance you are folding the top arm across and down, probably also causing a late exit. I had this issue on one side that took forever to eradicate. On flat water you may hear a gurgling as the water resistance pushes the blade back out of the water. You drop the top hand to try to push it down , but all it does is pivot the shaft around bottom hand (creating shallower blade angle), lifting blade further out and sideways.

Best tip is to keep smiling and having fun, if you are not doing that it all becomes pointless and you give up..

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3 years 3 weeks ago #38454 by Epicpaddler
Good advice.

Filming your technique with a GoPro or similar will help a lot. I notice I was dropping my top hand and worked to correct it. Also, focusing on the horizon and not your paddle, bow, GPS, etc will really help with stability. I posted last week about stability in mixed conditions, and that's the one thing that really works for me. I also remember Nick Cryder saying "find your feet" which really helps focus when I'm struggling with stability. The Oscar and Ivan videos are great I rewatch them all the time.

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3 years 3 weeks ago #38462 by mrcharly
Replied by mrcharly on topic Bad techniques or habits
There is a lot to learning a good forward stroke.
Practice should be on calm water - chop or swell will conceal your poor form.

Some tips:
  • Top hand should travel parallel to the water's surface.
  • Get your Catch right. If your catch is poor, everything else will be mucked up. A good catch enters the water with narry a ripple, no sound and buries the blade completely. I always feel like getting the blade in is a delicate maneuver, touching the water as delicately as a cat checking if it is wet. 
  • Catch. Lock frame (arms/chest). Rotate, starting with legs (drive side pushes, other side hip rotates forward as leg bends), finishing with body. If you are getting it right, the paddle will draw a 'J' on the left (mirrored on the right).
  • Drill on flat water. Take a strong stroke. Make it as perfect as you can. Pause one second, paddle in recovery position. Next stroke.

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