Review: the Mocke Surfski Coaching Videos

Tuesday, 15 October 2019 15:17 | Written by 
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Jasper and Dawid Mocke - co-hosts for the coaching videos Jasper and Dawid Mocke - co-hosts for the coaching videos

The year: 2004. The place: Fish Hoek Beach in a howling southeaster. Dawid Mocke says to me, “Go paddle upwind for a while.” So, I did. Quite a way upwind. Eventually I turned around and surfed the runs back to Fish Hoek. Dawid met me at the beach. “What happened to you?” he yelled. “The lesson’s finished now!” And that was my introduction to Surfski School…

Dawid swears that I said, “Thanks for the session!”. I thought I was just warming up.

“We kinda just pushed you out there and let nature take its course,” laughed Dawid. “Those were the early days! And that southeaster must have been at least 30kt!”

Courses and Certification

Even in those early days, the Mockes were already developing a system of teaching the basics of ocean paddling, which became their Ocean ABCs course. A little while later, the ABCs were supplemented by an “Ocean Paddler” course that built on the basics.

They were instrumental too in developing surfski proficiency certification, which is required today for any race run under the auspices of Canoeing South Africa.


Hard at work making the videos!

Video Courses

So why the video courses?

“My brother Jasper and I have done hundreds and hundreds of coaching sessions,” says Dawid. “Not just at Surfski School, but at races and events all over the world.

“There’s a set of recurring questions and themes that come up time and time again.”

And hence the videos.

“The idea was to summarize a body of knowledge in one place,” says Dawid. “We’ve included the critical information that you need.”

There are many surfski videos on YouTube, good, bad and indifferent on many aspects of paddling. But these courses are the only place you’ll find a complete sequence from start to finish of the basics of learning to handle your surfski.


The videos were costly to make; the Mockes hired a helicopter to take the aerial footage. (To minimize the impact on the environment, though, they arranged to extend the flight of a tourist helicopter that was already in the area!)

“But we’ve kept the cost to the paddler really low,” says Dawid. “The heart of it is to reach as many people as possible.”

The Masters of Surfski course costs $20, The Downwind Pro course is $15.  AND there's a combo option - both courses for a total of $30...

So, what do you get?

Masters of Surfski

In the Masters of Surfski course, you get the basics – in detail – over a set of videos totaling three hours:

  1. Paddle, Stroke and Technique – moving the ski forwards.
  2. Speed and Stability- staying in the ski.
  3. Remounting, both sides, both methods.
  4. Mastering the waves aka Catching a wave – the benchmark skill for any surfski paddler.
  5. Situational awareness - and safety.


Both styles of remount - side-saddle and "leg-over" are shown

And finally, in a couple of bonus clips, the Mockes share some thoughts on racing – the start, psyching yourself during the race and techniques for finishing.

I cannot think of a quicker, more efficient way of learning the basics of surfski paddling.

Downwind Pro

This course is shorter – total one hour – and deals with what for me is the essence of surfski paddling – going downwind.

Take Your Speed

The videos have plenty of graphical explanation

For the Mockes, the five rules of downwind paddling are:

  • Nose in the hole – catching runs
  • One at a time – riding runs
  • Keep up the run rate – get into the rhythm of the waves
  • Little ones lead to big ones – catch small wind waves to accelerate onto the faster ocean swells
  • There’s always one behind – don’t try to force your way over the wave in front of you.


Check your quadrant!  A critical skill in downwind paddling

I’d buy this course simply to watch the stunning footage; the videographers made sure to choose the optimum time of day when the angle of the sun accentuated the shapes of the waves – so you can see clearly when and why the paddlers make decisions on where to go and when to catch the waves.

I’ve done a fair amount of downwind paddling (approximately 500 Miller's Runs and counting), but I still found these videos a delight to watch and found them a source of “educated questions”. I wanted to sit down and discuss the waves one by one with Dawid and Jasper; even more I want someone to film me in similar conditions so that I can see for myself how I can improve…

But in the meantime, these videos have totally inspired to get out there and practice (and of course have enormous fun doing it).

Very highly recommended

I rate these courses very highly and regularly recommend both of them to anyone starting out – the “Masters of Surfski” will give you the basics while the “Downwind Pro” holds out the promise of the paddler that you can become…  

And if you are an experienced paddler, I STILL rate them.  Everyone can benefit from watching this stuff.

And who won the last race?

Dawid and Jasper compete just as ferociously with each other as anyone else. While filming, the videographers captured a brief discussion they had as they tried to figure out who won, the last time they raced each other… See for yourself!

Find out more

Click here to find out more about the Mocke Video Courses.

Click here for the surfski school website

Click here for the Mocke Paddling website

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