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Stand Up Paddle => Technique => Topic started by: linter on February 13, 2014, 03:53:46 AM

Title: Easiest paddle stroke to learn & self teach?
Post by: linter on February 13, 2014, 03:53:46 AM
Well, with no waves forecast to arrive here in MX for the next decade or so, I thought I might try to teach myself how to paddle a little better.  Right now, I have no steady technique whatsoever.  One second my legs are stiff n straight, the next i'm in a round-backed crouch; one sec, my arms are stacked, the next, I have no clue where they are or what they're doing.  "Engage your core!" everyone says.  I don't even know what means.

Here's the deal.  I'm skinny as a rail and have a back that has very little ability to lean forward at the hips.  Some, not a lot.

All this being the case, could someone recommend a general all purpose stroke for the surf that's somewhat easy to learn?  Pics and links to videos would be tremendous.  I don't have high hopes for improvement but I've really got nothing better to do down here than to give it a go.

Thanks!
Title: Re: Easiest paddle stroke to learn & self teach?
Post by: supthecreek on February 13, 2014, 07:35:55 AM
Hey Erik
Paddling is a great way to fill in the hours when there is no surf.

I vary my technique when out on a 2 hour paddle/cruise

when dinking around in creeks and shallows:
I mostly "arm paddle"... meaning, I just stand with a slightly flexed body, and let my upper body do most of the work.... lots of arm and wrist motion.

when I want to sprint, or just get somewhere fast, I engage my "core" muscles.
what the hell does that mean ???

it means that I no longer "power" my stroke with my arms.
I hold the paddle in proper position to begin the "catch" (stacked over the rail)
then , holding my arms and wrists in a "locked" position
I bend forward at the hips
as a result... the paddle travels down the rail and I go forward
 repeat,  repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, ---- SWITCH SIDES------  repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat
Your arms never move... your power comes from bending forward and straightening up, over and over

by doing that.... you are providing most of the power from repeated use of your stomach/ lower back muscles (core)

I ALWAYS flat-water on my surf SUPs... even my 123 liter board
everyone tells me over and over.... get a big cumbersome flat-water board... you will be MUCH happier. They paddle straight... and they go SO fast.

I love the versatility of a small SUP on flat-water cruising... I can explore the tiniest of places.

But:
the best reason for using my surf SUPs......is paddle practice
there are no distractions, when ALL you are doing is paddling.
no looking for sets, no positioning.... just paddling.... a small, curvy, heavily rockered board....
EVERY flaw in your stroke will be exposed ;D

to go anywhere.... you have to work on your stroke.... you experiment... you learn.
you get to practice what you learn, over and over
you get better at going straight.....faster
your paddle transfers get better

when waves finely DO arrive.... you catch more of them ;D

I "discovered" the "C" stroke while paddling around in circles
I wanted to go straight.... I learned this:

you start your stoke, with the blade slightly facing the board
you pull towards a point in front of your feet
then turn the blade slightly and pull towards the tail
exit the stroke by turning the blade "out" and pulling away from your back foot
kinda like stirring a pot, there is a gentle curve to your stroke

 Board            \      <-- blade position at start
  is on            (
 this side        /      <-- blade position at finish
 
here is a vid showing the "c" stroke at work..... I made it this morning....JUST for you :D

enjoy you're flat-spell.... a good paddle trip is a GREAT substitution

One sided paddle excercise (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbs5vCGdsCk#)
Title: Re: Easiest paddle stroke to learn & self teach?
Post by: hbsteve on February 13, 2014, 07:49:41 AM
As long as you have been paddling, I was surprised at your post.
One thing I see often, people lifting their paddle high on the recovery.  Maybe they are trying to get the blade over a boulder or something.
A smooth recovery keeps the board gliding at its best.
Try bringing the blade back to the front by just letting it float on the water's surface.   This will help get the muscle memory to know just how high to lift the paddle on recovery.
Title: Re: Easiest paddle stroke to learn & self teach?
Post by: linter on February 13, 2014, 08:23:44 AM
  yeah, for as long as i've been paddling, you'd think i'd be a SUP god, etc, etc.  sadly ... no.  pretty much all my ingrained habits are badish ones.  plus, my god given natural abilities are not all that.  (you'll be able to read all about it in the june ish of outside mag, unless the story gets held.)

  STC: thanks for the info, as per usual.  like you, in the surf zone, i'm an arm flailer, but unlike you, my arms poop out pdq.  i figure there's got to be a better way.  yes, i know about the straight arm engage core concept but it's one thing to say and another thing to do.  i figure if there's a variable to get wrong, i will at least get it semi wrong at the start and then proceed to embed it in my muscle memory, and there's a lot of variables.  how much do you bend your legs?  is your top arm really locked the entire time?  do you learn way over?  as i said before, etc., etc.  what i need are videos of the most basic and easiest correct stroke.  how 'bout you go out and make me one ... or at least find one for me on the web  :D.

   
Title: Re: Easiest paddle stroke to learn & self teach?
Post by: supthecreek on February 13, 2014, 08:36:52 AM
hbsteve.....You are 100% correct in your assessment... 100% self taught... admittedly,  I suck...

hold on.... let me look up "recovery" ;D

and yes... "They".... do have boulders to consider
Title: Re: Easiest paddle stroke to learn & self teach?
Post by: supthecreek on February 13, 2014, 08:48:27 AM
linter
I really don't know any correct stroke to pass on....
My only point was:
enjoy the flat-spell, by doing a lot of flat-water cruising on a surf SUP... it will help you improve.


its raining and crappy today... I'll do a little video research
Title: Re: Easiest paddle stroke to learn & self teach?
Post by: Bean on February 13, 2014, 09:01:10 AM
Here's the deal.  I'm skinny as a rail and have a back that has very little ability to lean forward at the hips. 

....could someone recommend a general all purpose stroke for the surf

Two thoughts that might help.  One is to engage your lower body by bending your knees.  This will actually make your reach more natural and take some load off your back.  My second thought is exploring different paddles, maybe a smaller blade or shorter length.

As far as stroke vids, in addition to being a huge STC fan, I still review Danny Ching's Mastering Paddle Technique from time to time.
Title: Re: Easiest paddle stroke to learn & self teach?
Post by: mrbig on February 13, 2014, 09:07:35 AM
There is a great series of videos by Larry Cain. He breaks the stroke into five parts. You can practice each one separately. Older thread here in technique led me to his videos.
Excellent information and easily understood. Helped me a lot!
Title: Re: Easiest paddle stroke to learn & self teach?
Post by: Beasho on February 13, 2014, 09:12:40 AM
Hey Erik
Paddling is a great way to fill in the hours when there is no surf. . . . I vary my technique when out on a 2 hour paddle/cruise . .
One sided paddle excercise (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbs5vCGdsCk#)

This is all very cool.  You certainly are putting your GoPro to good, if not maximum, use.  

If you can go 0.3 Miles then you can essentially do it forever.  I typically count between 10 - 13 strokes when cruising for distance between spots before switching hands.  It would be nice to be able to get into surf stance and stay on the same side indefinitely.  During the summer on a 12' board I have come close.  Surf stance seems to be easier to generate continuous asymmetric power.

With regards to form I notice your top hand in-line with the center of the the board.  This means your paddle would have to have a slight inclination like \ .  If it were truly vertical, e.g. reaching overboard with top hand, like this | you should get even less yaw and potentially more power parallel to your fin with each stroke.
Title: Re: Easiest paddle stroke to learn & self teach?
Post by: mrbig on February 13, 2014, 09:21:21 AM
Post is by argosi August 1 2013 in technique. All five vids HERE ON ZONE AWESOME!!
Title: Re: Easiest paddle stroke to learn & self teach?
Post by: kayadogg on February 13, 2014, 09:24:43 AM
Linter, there are many thoughts on proper stroke technique but some basic concepts that are easy to keep in mind when paddling are:

1.) drop your bottom hand lower than it is right now even if it feels uncomfortable (this will help you bend more and engage your core)
2.) try to remove the paddle at your toes (don't paddle past your heels)
3.) try to keep an eye on your top hand, it should form an oval path throughout the stroke

Here's the short answer: Larry Cain Paddle Stroke (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oN8GtBh0sU#)
(I think Larry drops his bottom hand too much during the recovery but since he is an Olympic athlete and a beast, he can get away with this)

If you really have a lot of down time, here's the long answer:  http://www.standupzone.com/forum/index.php?topic=21478.0
Title: Re: Easiest paddle stroke to learn & self teach?
Post by: supthecreek on February 13, 2014, 09:27:49 AM
Thanks bean :D......  you are definitely better off with Danny Ching!

beasho... you are right... once you learn the technique, you can paddle any board straight for long distances.
It really helps when paddling for a wave.
I see too many people miss a wave because  they had to switch sides, just at the critical moment.

Nice one kaya :)

Ok Erik... here's your assignment for today:

Jimmy Terrell dry land clinic

at 2:58... I learned about "Recovery"

at 6:52... he covers the "c" stroke

at 10:58... he tells me not to lift my paddle too high

it has been a productive way to spend another "historic" winter storm.

Jimmy Terrell Dry Land Paddle Clinic (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHGHEtcJI0A#)
Title: Re: Easiest paddle stroke to learn & self teach?
Post by: Dwight (DW) on February 13, 2014, 09:28:08 AM
With regards to form I notice your top hand in-line with the center of the the board.  This means your paddle would have to have a slight inclination like \ .  If it were truly vertical, e.g. reaching overboard with top hand, like this | you should get even less yaw and potentially more power parallel to your fin with each stroke.

What he said  ;D

First thing I teach anyone.

When you paddle 7'8s, you'll go in circles otherwise  ;D ;D
Title: Re: Easiest paddle stroke to learn & self teach?
Post by: mrbig on February 13, 2014, 10:47:40 AM
Warning! Do not watch the Todd Bradley how to paddle vids. Unless you want everyone yelling "Keep that arm straight old man"! Took a long time to reprogram. His arms are bigger than my whole body. Tahitian technique??
Title: Re: Easiest paddle stroke to learn & self teach?
Post by: supthecreek on February 13, 2014, 11:37:55 AM
In a recently discovered tape, proof exists of poor paddle technique leading to tragedy.

An unidentified Cape Cod SUPster, was seen using a poor stroke that resulted in him spinning endlessly in circles.
A whirlpool was created that eventually sucked him down. so sad.

warning:
do not watch THIS video... it may cause vertigo.

Poor paddle technique (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZ-_rWM2j1I#)

Title: Re: Easiest paddle stroke to learn & self teach?
Post by: mrbig on February 13, 2014, 11:50:06 AM
Nice board!
Title: Re: Easiest paddle stroke to learn & self teach?
Post by: hbsteve on February 13, 2014, 02:02:05 PM
STC--I was referring to local on water observations, only.
You have rocks to worry about.  So your style makes sense.

The video where the guy drops his top hand, got my attention.  I know he is very good.  But, when I drop my top hand, I let my lower hang and use it as a fulcrum.
Title: Re: Easiest paddle stroke to learn & self teach?
Post by: supthecreek on February 13, 2014, 04:35:55 PM
no worries hb
I am just having fun on a storm day.... any excuse to dig through my photo/film heap and use stuff.
the boulder reference was a great setup ;D

I only hope they are entertaining my buddy linter during his flat spell...
Title: Re: Easiest paddle stroke to learn & self teach?
Post by: linter on February 13, 2014, 05:19:11 PM
you're about the only thing entertaining me in this terrible time of wave draught.

i spent the afternoon studying Larry Cain's videos, then went out into drink and couldn't get my muscles to listen to my brain.  then i came back to my apt and got into the drink in a different way right here. 
Title: Re: Easiest paddle stroke to learn & self teach?
Post by: RomaniaSUP on February 14, 2014, 04:02:03 AM
It's going to take time to get the muscle memory down. When your focusing on one specific thing, your going to forget about other things. Once a few of them start to become natural habit it becomes much easier to drill in on specific techniques.

Don't go out and try to do everything all in one session. If you wan't to work out, go out and do interval training and focus on your breathing. Thats not the time to break down your stroke. When you want to go out for a long easy paddle, those are perfect days to really focus on technique and try to continue focusing on technique throughout the entire paddle. I try to fit in Larry Cain's drills as a cool down to my interval training, and a warm up for my distance paddle. http://www.standupzone.com/forum/index.php?topic=21478.0 (http://www.standupzone.com/forum/index.php?topic=21478.0)

My tips for going straight would be to keep your shoulders stacked. If you dropped a ball from your top hand you should be able to catch it in your bottom hand. A little more advanced but great for cross swell and wind is to steer the board with your feet. If you are paddling on the right side and feel the board going left, weight the left side of a displacement board (or the right side of a planing board) to drive the board back to the right.

On the recovery, keep the paddle low. Point your top thumb forward to bring the blade across the water. Think of 'icing a cake'. You'll want to learn this as you will need your high brace and low brace to keep you from falling in on some of these newer small surf SUPs.

Soooo much more stuff that I'm missing and just glazing over. You're probably better off just going to and taking a lesson with a certified instructor (WPA, ACA, etc.). We have ACA certified instructors teaching meetup groups around here for like 20 bucks. There are going to be a lot of people on this forum saying you don't need it and they are right. You don't NEED it. But if you can find one that isn't too expensive it's well worth the time as they will keep you from accidentally picking up bad habits.
Title: Re: Easiest paddle stroke to learn & self teach?
Post by: Bean on February 14, 2014, 04:24:50 AM
you're about the only thing entertaining me in this terrible time of wave draught.

i spent the afternoon studying Larry Cain's videos, then went out into drink and couldn't get my muscles to listen to my brain.  then i came back to my apt and got into the drink in a different way right here. 

And even after a couple, you were still able to get the glass into drinking position without even thinking about it - proving that you are capable of fine motor skills and muscle memory ;D
Title: Re: Easiest paddle stroke to learn & self teach?
Post by: Beasho on February 15, 2014, 10:25:14 AM

Ok Erik... here's your assignment for today:

Jimmy Terrell dry land clinic

at 2:58... I learned about "Recovery"

at 6:52... he covers the "c" stroke !!!!!!!

Jimmy Terrell Dry Land Paddle Clinic (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHGHEtcJI0A#)


OK went out and tried it today.   On my shortest board 9' 2" PSH Hull Ripper, this board yaws.   And I'll be schnockered if I couldn't put in 30+ strokes on one side with the above technique.  Where I would typically take 8 - 10 strokes before switching hands.

Felt like I might have been crabbing a bit, literally pulling the board towards the 11 o'clock on my left and 1 o'clock on my right but it was effective.  I probably need to work on the weird feeling of twisting the paddle through the stroke but this was worth the eye-opening experience and I even found myself thinking about it as I paddled for some waves.  COOLIO  8)

Creek on the Brain
Title: Re: Easiest paddle stroke to learn & self teach?
Post by: headmount on February 15, 2014, 11:25:13 AM

Ok Erik... here's your assignment for today:

Jimmy Terrell dry land clinic

at 2:58... I learned about "Recovery"

at 6:52... he covers the "c" stroke !!!!!!!

Jimmy Terrell Dry Land Paddle Clinic (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHGHEtcJI0A#)

And I'll be schnockered
Always wondered how to spell this word.  Thanks.
Title: Re: Easiest paddle stroke to learn & self teach?
Post by: supthecreek on February 15, 2014, 06:09:15 PM
Ha ha beasho...
so.... does that mean, a little bit of me will be dropping in at Mavericks? :o

I'm paddling at Mavricks... now THAT's coolio ;)


disclaimer:
if crabbing a bit causes you to be sucked into the pit....

in my best Bart Simpson:
I didn't do it!
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