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  • Mon, August 28, 2023 8:36 AM | Gail Kotowski (Administrator)

    “Breathing Easy and Paddling Strong:   A Guide to Breathe Mechanics and Exercises for SUP”

    By Dr Tony Peters D.C. Charlotte,NC

    Just like any rigorous physical activity, proper breathing mechanics while paddling plays a crucial role in enhancing performance and overall enjoyment during SUP.  In this article, we will delve into the importance of breathing mechanics while stand-up paddling and introduce simple exercises to improve your breath control. 

    The Importance of Breathing Mechanics:

    Breathing mechanics are fundamental to any physical activity, as they directly impact your body's ability to perform optimally.  While stand-up paddling, the right breathing technique ensures an adequate supply of oxygen to your muscles, improves stamina, and enhances focus and balance.

    During SUP, it's essential to maintain rhythmic breathing that synchronizes with your paddle strokes. This means taking deep, steady breaths in through your nose and exhaling gradually through your mouth.  By doing so, you engage your respiratory muscles like the diaphragm and core muscles, promoting stability and preventing fatigue.

    Simple Breathing Exercises on Land - 

    1. Diaphragmatic Breathing:

    Lie down or sit in a comfortable position, placing one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen.  Inhale deeply through your nose, feeling your abdomen rise as you fill your lungs with air.  Exhale slowly through your mouth, focusing on fully emptying your lungs. Repeat this exercise to improve breath control and expand lung capacity.

    2. Box Breathing:  Or Square Breathing

    This exercise helps regulate your breath and enhance focus.  Inhale deeply for a count of four, hold your breath for four counts, exhale for four counts, and then pause for another four counts before starting the cycle again. Repeat this pattern for a few minutes to calm your mind and increase breath awareness.

    Breathing Mechanics While Paddling

    Now that you've practiced some breathing exercises, let's apply these techniques on the water:

    1. Find Your Rhythm:

    As you begin paddling, try to establish a rhythmic pattern of breathing that complements your paddle strokes.  Inhale through your nose during the recovery phase when your paddle is out of the water, and exhale out of your mouth during the power phase when you exert force to propel yourself forward.  You can make noise too, such as “HA” or “KEE-YAA” and sound like you are on the set of a karate movie…cool!

    2. Mindful Breathing:

    Much easier said than done - focus on your breath during the entire SUP session.  Be conscious of each inhale and exhale, as this mindfulness will help you maintain proper form and balance on the board.  If you do manage to do this perfectly, then you probably will be able to walk on water without a board and wear a robe. 

    3. Adjust Breathing to Conditions:

    Remember to adapt your breathing to the paddling conditions.  In rougher waters or strong winds, you may need to take deeper breaths and pace yourself accordingly to conserve energy.  Deep breaths can also help balance!

    Breathing mechanics are a fundamental aspect of stand-up paddling that can significantly impact your performance and overall experience.  By incorporating simple breathing exercises into your routine and adopting mindful breathing while on a SUP, you can enhance your breath control, stamina, and balance on the water.  Whether you're a beginner or an experienced paddler, mastering the art of breathing will undoubtedly elevate your stand-up paddling journey to new heights.  So, take a deep breath, hit the water, and keep paddling!

    Tony Peters DC is a long time paddler and has a solo chiropractic practice in Charlotte, North Carolina.

  • Wed, August 16, 2023 8:24 AM | Gail Kotowski (Administrator)
    Best Stretches For SUP Feet

    By Tony Peters DC

    1.  Ball Smash

    Use a ball that suits your comfort level, like a raquet ball, tennis ball, field hockey ball, or even a challenging golf ball.  There are many options to choose from!  The basic idea is to be able to use the ball to apply safe and direct pressure on sore, achey spots on the bottom (soles) of bare feet.   Sit on a chair or stand with your foot on the ball of your choice with light to medium pressure.  Hold in place on a tight sore spot for 7-10 seconds, inhale deeply, then release. Repeat 2-3 times. 

    If your feet ache while paddling, a good tip for quick relief is to sit on your board with your legs in front of you.  Grab your paddle with two hands and place the shaft directly on the soles of one or both feet. Use your leverage to apply direct pressure (pull towards you) onto the bottom(s) of your feet to release tension. Get fancy and roll the paddle up and down while wiggling your toes for maximum release. 

    2.  Sit Like Bolt

    This is similar to a catcher’s stance but the idea is to rest on your two feet with your toes flexed and your heels up.  Looks like sitting on your heels. Most of your weight should be shifted onto the area of the 4th toe and your toes 2 and 3 pointed straight forward.  Keep a straight back, chest out, while your hands are placed on a chair or wall for balance, For even more challenging stance, rest your hands on your lap!  This stretch is a great way to target the soles of your feet while also working the joint spaces of your toes, ankles, knees, and hips.  Named after the greatest sprinter to date, Usain Bolt, who has been seen resting in this stance on many occasions.  No pics of him on a SUP, but please send if you find one!

    3.  Prayer Position

    Seen pics of children doing their nightly duties like praying before bed.  Well, this position stretches the dorsum of your feet (Top of the foot) and extends the joint spaces of the ankles. A good stretch on the shins (tibialis anterior muscles) too.  Basically, sit with your knees flexed and sit your glutes down onto your lower legs. Make sure your heels point outward away from your midline for added biomechanical support and training (More on that in another article).  Hold for a minimum of 2 minutes.  While your at it, why not pray for a fun safe time on the water too?!

    You may find yourself in this position many times on your board either to paddle in a safe position, rest, wait or grab something on your board.  Doing this stretch regularly helps maintain your ability to do this painlessly and with less cramping. 

    Dr Tony Peters, chiropractor, paddles and takes care of paddlers.  This information is for educational purposes. Consult a healthcare provider prior to starting any new routines. He can be reached at

  • Tue, August 01, 2023 10:18 AM | Harrison Withers (Administrator)

    It was the best of times and the worst of times…More people than ever are trying stand up paddleboarding and there are thousands of board brands at unbelievably low prices being sold everywhere from warehouse stores to the grocery store. Generally speaking, a $200 board does the same thing as a $2000 board, in that it arguably floats. However, that doesn’t mean it functions the same. That’s not to say that you have to buy a top-of-the-line board to enjoy the sport, but you do have to align your expectations to what you want to use the board for, what your goals are, and how you may think you will use the board. When this alignment happens, you have a chance of falling in love with the sport of paddleboarding, if not, it’s just another piece of sporting goods sitting in the corner of your garage and eventually a landfill.

    Hardboard vs. Inflatable

    Thinking about a SUP there are two areas of consideration, what happens on the water and what happens off the water. On the water we consider things like safety, stability, speed, agility, tracking, etc… of the water we need to think about transport and storage.

    On the water, a hardboard is superior in every category or measure save one: impact resistance. This makes inflatables a better choice for environments where rocks are present, or where it’s going to be treated as a beach toy for those who will be less careful. But safety, stability, speed, agility, tracking are all better on a hard board for a few reasons including but not limited to: Secondary floatation (floats even when punctured. Stiffness of a hard board makes it handle waves better. Sharper rails help it turn and track better. A lower profile makes it easier to remount when you fall.

    But off the water, a hard board which is typically at least 10 feet long can be a bit harder to deal with. You have to be able to store the board and get it to the water. For many people this makes hardboards impractical. It’s ok, better to be on the water than not, and there are some very good inflatables on the market, and they continue to make improvements. However, they are NOT all created equal. Almost all inflatables are made out of the same materials, Dropstich PVC with a PVC skin, but the grades of those materials can be vastly different. How can you tell the difference? Higher quality materials can be inflated to a higher PSI and result in a stiffer board that will perform better.

    In general, inflatables fall into two categories boards that run 12-15psi, and boards that are 15+ psi. The 12- 15 psi board is going to float, and you might have a perfectly good time on it. But you are going to tire more quickly, as the board flexes, your body is going to constantly make micro-adjustments, you are going to have to do more work, to stay up in small waves and boat wakes. Maybe if fitness is your goal, this is a good thing. Or if you only want to paddle for 20-30 minutes between swims (Casual Dating), it won’t matter to you, that’s ok. If your goals are to go further, faster, or both, you’ll probably want to look at the 15+psi category of boards, but with that bump in PSI also comes with a bump in cost, usually in the $800+ range. (Relationship Material)

    A note on inflatables and safety, If a seam splits or you develop an air leak, the board will get softer and softer until eventually it will sink. Inflatables do not have secondary floatation. Perhaps that is no big deal if you are on a small body of water, but can be catastrophic on the ocean, or if you are in an unpopulated area, miles from your launch. Always WEAR a PFD on an inflatable, it’s not enough to have it strapped to the deck. Leashes are also highly recommended since it’s easy for inflatables to get blown away from you. Quick release leashes are even better especially if you are in moving water where getting hung up on something under water is a possibility.

    Board Size

    Nowhere is SUP’s connection to Surfing more prevalent than when it comes to board size. The overwhelming majority of SUPs made are in the 10-foot range. This somewhat resembles what surfing would consider a “longboard”.  Conventional surfing logic has most people starting or learning on a longboard, so voila, the SUP industry makes a bunch of boards in the 10’ range. But there are several factors you need to consider when choosing a size for your SUP that are arguably just as important as length. You first need to consider the intended environment, the type of activity, your weight, and to a lesser degree your height. For the purposes of this article, let’s consider our activity types to be Surfing, Whitewater, Cruising, Touring, Racing. If you are into Surfing or Whitewater, or Racing those are pretty specialized and chances are you already know what works for those environments. So that leaves us with Cruising, and Touring. The first number we need to look at is volume, which is the measure of the ability to float the weight of the rider. General rule of thumb is 1.2-1.4x the weight of the rider. I.E. a 200 pound individual needs at least 286L of volume to handle the weight. If you are going to paddle with dogs or kids, you need to add weight as well. With hard boards, you can only get so much volume in a 10” board, and in most cases you’ll be looking at a minimum of a 11’ foot board just from a volume perspective. No inflatable boards easily reach 300L of volume in a 10’ size, but the thing you have to consider is that just because it can float the weight that doesn’t mean it will perform well. Ever try to hold an inflatable ball under water? It’s not very stable, it wants move and squirt out the sides and get away from you.

    So then we have to look at how the volume is distributed other than length, i.e. width and thickness. Longer and narrower is faster. Wider width is more stable but slower. Added length can be more stable while moving by distributing volume fore and aft of the rider.  Anything much wider than 32” is going to be tough to paddle in a straight line, Narrower is going to require more athleticism to keep from falling.  The thicker the board, the higher your center of gravity is going to be and the less stable it will feel.

    Bottom line is that if you are one of the fortunate people who are less than 150 pounds and don’t want to paddle with kids or dogs, a 10’6”x32” is a great size for you. All others may want to choose something a bit longer if want to fall in love. Just get out on the water and have some fun? Anything that can literally float your proverbial boat, but it may be more of a challenge to stay on the thing.


    I love Amazon, they are at my doorstep 3-5 times a week. However, it’s pretty tough to buy a paddleboard on the internet, especially in the higher price range. Of course a retailer that will let you try boards should be your first stop, but those are unfortunatly becoming more rare with internet competition. If you’ve got a shop close by that should be your first choice, even if you have to drive an hour or two. Renting is an option, but it may not surprise you to hear that rental boards aren’t always the best performing boards, emphasis is placed on durability over performance. Your best bet is to hang out where paddleboarders hang out and see if you can try different things.

    Paddleboard events (races) are a great place to meet other paddleboarders regardless of whether or not racing is your thing. You’ll find that the community warm and welcoming, just be able to recognize with boards are beyond your abilities. There may also be board manufacturers in attendance with demo equipment. Taking a lesson goes a long way towards getting someone to trust you with their prized possession.

    Falling in Love

    You can’t fall in love if you aren’t out there, and literally falling is part of it. Being able to stand up and paddle for more than a few minutes at a time is the difference between something you occasionally go out with and something that has the potential to be something more. Your equipment isn’t everything, but having a partner that is capable of the things that you want is a prerequisite to a lasting relationship.

    At the risk of stretching the metaphor too far, It’s ok if you’re not ready for a long-term relationship with paddleboarding. If so, go ahead and buy that $300 cheapie special, just be safe. Just know you may go through a couple of bad experiences before finding “the one”. However, if you’re serious about finding your forever, you may have to spend a bit more than you were hoping for.

  • Wed, February 01, 2023 6:08 AM | Kristin Thomas (Administrator)

    14 Life Lessons My 14ft Raceboard Taught Me


    I like to go about a mile offshore and look back at the city. So quiet and peaceful from out there. It always recharges me with a new perspective. Sometimes we must physically remove ourselves from the chaos and the noise to gain a new clear perspective. It helps give a new way of looking at any situation or circumstance.


    When I race, there’s always someone in front of me and behind me. It doesn’t matter where we are at any moment. What matters is that we know we are doing our best. ALWAYS do your best. Charge as hard as you can. Win or lose; knowing you did your best is all that matters.


    On a race board in the ocean, this is imperative for obvious reasons but in daily life; we must constantly remind ourselves. Work, relationships, health, and family can all be so overwhelming. Always give what you can but make room for what you need. Take an assessment. What have you been neglecting? What needs some attention, and what needs less?


    My leash has saved my life a couple of times. They can be a pain, but I was sure happy I had one when I needed it. Value your friends and all your loved ones. They can be such a lifeline at times when we need help. Let them know when you need them and show them you care.


    It’s usually best to plan your route when paddling and when navigating life. Have purpose and intent on where you are headed. Define for yourself where you’d like to go and why, then, again, do your best to get there.


    Sometimes it is actually good to stop charging too hard on and off the water. We must stop and smell the roses (or sometimes the pelican poop, haha). There is beauty all around. If we move too fast, we might miss it. Find an appreciation in all the little things you usually take for granted.


    When I find the tide’s flow direction, I go faster and with more ease. Resisting flow causes conflict. Be willing to have acceptance for how things are going, good or bad. Don’t resist. Find the momentum and go with it. Life has funny ways of letting us know it’s time for a change. When we don’t fight it, we give way to new opportunities.

    8. EYES UP!

    When paddling, always keep your eyes up. We lose sight of what’s in front of us when looking down. This is dangerous on the water, and it’s counterproductive in life. With your eyes up, you’ll make informed decisions and see the obstacles that may be in front of you.

    9. HYDRATE

    Always stay hydrated when paddling so your body and mind stay optimized for performance. Hydrate your body and mind regularly with exercise (and water, of course) to remain optimized in life. You’ll feel better, sleep better, and perform better.


    Certain conditions on the water call for truly being aware of one’s level of ability and skill. It can actually be a matter of life or death. In daily life, we must work on having self-awareness for different reasons, but they are equally as important. Be conscious of yourself and your actions. Have an awareness of yourself to be more thoughtful and less reactive. When we make rash or impulsive decisions, we lack the self-awareness that might otherwise tell us to choose more wisely.


    Just wear sunscreen. That’s it.


    Rest and sleep are so vital for racing and for performing in life. Always prioritize rest and sleep. You’ll never be at your best without it. You’ll also live a longer, healthier life, so get plenty of sleep.

    13. HAVE FUN

    Yes, races are competitive and can get serious, but at the end of the day, it’s just a race. You can’t win them all, so lighten up, have fun, and enjoy life. You don’t have to be so serious all of the time. Everything’s not a competition, and remember, we’re all on our own paths.


    When the storm clouds roll in, and the wind picks up, pushing you out to sea, you can never give up.

    When you lose your job, or your business, or your home burns down, or the person you love says they don’t love you anymore, or you lose a friend, or you lose a family member, or your bank account goes negative, or your car won’t start, or your child pushes you away, or that bully embarrasses you, or the doctor says it’s not good, or you feel completely alone, or you have no more energy left, or you feel like you can’t get out of bed, or you feel worthless, or you feel like your world is imploding, or you feel like you can’t go on, NEVER NEVER EVER GIVE UP.

    Remember life is always flowing with the tide, and the tides are always changing.

    Don’t resist, just flow and know it’s always only just a moment.

    Moments change, and they pass.

    Life will go in so many directions that we cannot control.

    But, if we flow and never give up, we’ll always inevitably find our way back to the shore.

    Be well and live well my friends,


    Kyle Gentry Kushner is a website builder and the owner of KGK  Digital

  • Thu, September 22, 2022 8:40 PM | Adam Tischler (Administrator)

    Originally submitted by Bruce Barry

    Thoughts on Catching Bumps, Waves, and Other Sea Surface Anomalies 
    Whilst Attempting to Balance Atop a Standup Paddleboard

    This will be a fairly detailed look into some of the why’s and how’s of propelling a standup board onto bumps and into waves.   Generally bumps will be somewhat poorly defined chop while waves are more organized.  As an example,  what I call bumps are the kind of chop you might find locally when the wind is blowing around 5mph or greater (yes, you can find them at that level) while waves are either dredged up by something like the displacement wave of a standup paddleboard or chop that has had time and distance to grow into something more organized.

     OK, I grew up in Southern California and have never been far from water.  I have been riding waves in one form or another for nearly 62 years started at around age 10 and in somewhat of the following order:

    • Inflatable mats – age 9 or 10
    • Homemade belly boards – probably around age 11
    • Surfboards – around age 12
    • 22-29 foot keelboats starting around age 25 including 5 years on San Francisco Bay and 5 races from San Francisco to San Diego on boats 27 feet or less.   This was a 500 mile downwind race in frequently heavy winds including rounding Point Conception.   Surfing down waves at night in the pitch dark with the spinnaker up using the stars on the horizon in front of you to line your track down the wave is an experience never to be forgotten.
    • Windsurfing around age 40
    • Standup paddle including surf and DW around age 60
    • Finally windfoiling (windsurf sail on foil board) at 68.
    • It is conceivable that even though my wife claims I am a notoriously slow learner, that I have picked up a few things about wave riding along the way.

    Bruce in the Columbia River Gorge
    Photo credit: Joel Yang

    So here goes.  The goal is to as easily as possible, break down some of the sequences involved in several different types of bump and wave catching categories.    We will do this in the following order:

    • Drafting a single paddler – harnessing a displacement wave
    • Riding the confused cluster of multiple displacement waves to the first mark or attempting to pass a draft chain or single paddler
    • More specific thoughts on catching actual wind generated bumps when unhindered by other close SUP’s
    • Finally, riding waves that aren’t in the surf zone.   True surfing is a completely different concept and wont be covered here. 


    This is sort of the oddest type of wave riding as it would seem that the ripples coming off the board ahead are not waves.  The reality is that unless the forward board is traveling faster than hull speed (defined below) it is digging a trench that is slightly shorter than the boards waterline length.  The best way to see this is try drafting in smooth water and look for the faintly defined series of trenches that the forward board is digging up.  Paddle hard into them and before you know it you will have surfed right up to the forward board’s tail and need to go to (in smooth wind free water) about half paddle power to avoid climbing up over the forward board’s fanny.   Try this with a friend and the technique soon becomes apparent.   

    From a technical standpoint, hull speed is defined by the equation of 1.34xsq root waterline length x 1.15 to convert from knots to mph.  So, for something like a 14’ Starboard Sprint which is designed to have 14 feet in the water you have 1.34xsq root of 14x 1.15 or 5.77mph / pace of 10:24 minutes per mile.   Your RS or Allstar not as fast in the flats as a Sprint?    Hah, that is because not only is the nose itself wider up front increasing resistance therefore requiring more effort, but you are losing about 6 inches of hull length meaning your hull speed is 5.66 mph / pace of 10:36 minutes per mile.  And as we all know a 12 second pace differential is huge. 

    As boards get narrower it becomes easier to transit over the hull speed barrier – most folks on 24” or less can easily push over 6mph,  but it takes a whole heap more effort as you actually have to ride up and over the displacement wave the board is digging.  Which is why the nose lifts on a board planning in flat water.  But again the effort required to do this is fairly intense.   Ahh, finding someone to draft.  Yeah, that sounds like just the ticket.

    Cluster of Boards Displacement Wave’s River

    This doesn’t work well in choppy conditions, but in smooth conditions you can often find a channel of organized displacement wave junk that is actually a bit like bump riding but on a micro scale.   What you are looking for is a section where all the disturbances are lining up in the same direction.  Trying to ride a rooster tail in the middle of a pack of boards where the bumplets are converging into you from both sides is rarely a happy place.  You are looking to be off to the side a bit of the board ahead of you.  It may mean shooting a few degrees right or left of true course to the mark but often the speed increase can make up for the extra travel distance.    I will frequently use this when I am behind a draft train and do the cluster bump jump out to the side and ahead of the draft train in fairly short order.  

    As we transition from riding displacement waves that are really more of a tactical discussion to actually riding bumps, lets review a few pics.

    The first below is on a 12’6”.    In this smooth water you can see the leading edge of the displacement wave about a foot back of the nose – sort of at the edge of the red lettering,  the deepest part of the wave near the centerline of the board and about where the paddle is, and the end of the wave about a foot in front of the tail.     

    In the second, this time on a 14’ All Star you can again see the fairly defined displacement wave about a foot in from the nose and tail with the deepest part at around the centerline.   You can also just make out the draft zone with a series of humps in the water getting deepest about a foot from the tail of the board.   Ride’em cowboy.

    The third in this series shows an attempted transition.  I am sprinting to the finish line of a race and the board is trying to climb over the front portion of the displacement wave and onto a plane.  You can clearly see the bow rising as it tries to climb the leading edge of the displacement wave hump about a foot behind the word STARBOARD.  Tons of energy required to plane a 26” wide board.

    The final shot marks our transition from riding board generated displacement waves into riding wind generated bumps and waves.  Here you can clearly see the board planning on a wind generated chop, didn’t even need to paddle at that point.  Note that I have moved a foot or two back from the centerline to maximize planning by reducing the drag of wetted surface.   This is a Joel Yang shot somewhere between Golden Gardens and Richmond Beach.  I believe we were discussing the physics of the Higgs boson.


    To maximize your bumping enjoyment we need to discuss the Pogo Stick.  Simply put the Pogo moves by WEIGHTING down to load the force and UNWEIGHTING up to transfer the energy forward.   When you think of the kinetics of your paddle stroke you tend to think of it as forward motion generated by pulling the paddle aft against the water forcing the board forward.  Tru nuff, but this is a two dimensional model.  By adding the Pogo you transition this to three dimensions and significantly increase your bump catching ability.   

    Like practicing drafting with a friend, try doing this by yourself on smooth flat water.   As you begin your stroke and move the paddle forward drop down on your knees slightly, paddle enters water at the most forward part of your stroke and as you pull back use the paddle pressure when it is about  a 45 degree angle in front of you as the time to relax your downwards knee push, let the paddle support part of your weight, and then what happens is that at the most powerful part of your stroke you UNWEIGHT and you have maximized the power at the same time as you have minimized the weight on the board.  Magic.

    Now the secret is to work this into the timing of catching and riding a bump.   This simply comes from experience but the goal to catch bumps is to keep the nose displaced to maximize the waterline length of the board and therefore your speed at the same time you apply max stroke power and unweight, and then as you ride the bump be ready to move your bod aft enough to avoid burying the nose.   Which is dead ass slow, heretofore described as DAS.

    Lots of ideas on this forward and aft body movement.  Some folks like to do an artsy walk - like nose riding a longboard.  I prefer the (at least for me) much more efficient bunny hop where I simply hop back and forth with both feet staying roughly parallel to width not length of the board. 

    And of course in smaller bumps this whole dance repeats every couple of seconds.   You want the board roughly lined up in the direction of the bump, transition into it, then try to avoid burying the nose or going uphill into the bump in front of you which is another version of DAS.  Bumping is infinitely complex as tide or current, wind speed and direction, fetch – the distance the bump has had to build up in, all play a role.   Trying DW runs on Lake Washington with the Coulon to Enatai run being a favorite at least eliminates the role of tide or current.  The techniques don’t all come together immediately and the near infinite number of variables attached to each bump require constant adjustment.   But the more you do it the better you will get.  Just remember the Pogo Stick.

    Next up is moving from bumps to waves.   The difference is largely fetch denominated as one bump gets gobbled up by another then gobbled by another then gobbled by another and eventually you will have a large enough bump that it begins to form a proper wave.   But it all takes fetch to do all this gobble up.

    IT IS NOT this below.   We surf groundswell.  We downwind on wind waves.   You can clearly see there is no wind disturbance, no bumps, the next wave is about 10-15 seconds behind me.   Riding techniques are also almost completely different, in true surfing you WEIGHT and UNWEIGHT with each turn rather than doing this simply to get onto the bump or wave.  In the photo below I have clearly UNWEIGHTED after a sharp WEIGHTED cutback and am beginning to drop down to load WEIGHT into a carve coming back to my frontside as I hit the whitewater to my backside. 

    Wind Wave Riding (do I hear the Hallelujah Chorus?)

    OK, just like we use the Pogo Stick to increase energy kinetics on bumps we need to use the PARKING BRAKE to best manage energy kinetics on a true wind wave and avoid picking up the most points in the dreaded game of Lawn Darts.

    There is another name for the PARKING BRAKE.  Some call it the PADDLE.   Here’s the thing.  It is really exciting to get on a wave that is a foot or three+ high and ride it all the way down to the bottom.  Problem is that you are now in a hole.  Literally.   The only way to get out is you have to dig your way out and either slow down enough for the next wave to lift you up again or paddle uphill like a fiend over the top of the wave ahead of you.   Either way is as you guessed, DAS.

    Buddy Joel got a really good series of me at Mitchell Point in this year’s SIC Paddle Challenge.  In this series of shots – not necessarily in order and not always the same wave you will notice the following:

    • I have the Parking Brake engaged by dragging the paddle in the water to keep me at the steepest and most power laden part of the wave.  It makes the most pleasing hissing or shredding noise when you do this.
    • I am using the paddle not my weight to trim board direction as well as applying the brake
    • Most of the board is out of the water and level – I am maximizing planning power with minimum weighted surface, if I was turning and carving like a surfboard I would be potentially bleeding speed,  here I am maximizing the power by staying at the wave apex and not turning the board on its speed killing rail
    • I am avoiding dropping into the speed and energy eating wave trough.  I am also keeping the nose up to avoid a lawn darts score.  Burying the nose at this speed can lead to a picturesque catapult.   Much more fun for the viewer than the experiencer. 

    Here I am releasing the Parking Brake for more speed.  The photo differences are more subtle than what you actually feel from paddle feedback.

    With this next one we have another new transition coming up.   You can see that I have the Parking Brake applied hard, but I am also leaning back slightly although it does not appear that I am in danger of Lawn Darts.  What I am doing is a massive energy storing load up – this is just before I weight forward, nose down, and paddle like mad (whilst engaging the Pogo) to jump the bump just in front of me.  Enter the SLINGSHOT, the single most fun maneuver in this whole mess.  This Slingshot maneuver happens when you have a nice smooth wave series (we can call them Smoothies- readily distinguishable from a chopped up messy wave) in front of you and you can actually gain enough speed with the Slingshot to jump over one wave, two wave, three wave, more, etc.  Holy Cow time, maybe even Holy Grail.   

    And finally we have the moves required to avoid the near death experience.   This wind blast has to be near 40mph as everything is froth – you cant even see the board.  Trust me, the board was there.  I have max Parking Brake applied – look how hard I am pushing down on the handle and the goal is to slow everrrrything down to have some level of control dropping into the wave rather than becoming Lawn Dart obliterated.

    So as with catching bumps, to catch waves we need to (as much as we dare) have enough weight forward to engage the most length of board for the most speed, Pogo, and be ready to move back ohh so very quickly.   As I am engaging a wave I will literally have that needle nose skimming the water and then bunny hop back like mad as I am engaging the Parking Brake BECAUSE EVEN THE BUNNY HOP UNWEIGHTS THE BOARD AND PROMOTES SPEED.   So with each real wave think of how and when to applying the Parking Brake to maximize the power of each individual wave.  As noted earlier, holes suck. 

    And with bumps and waves there are so many variables including current if you are on the mighty Columbia.  Wind blowing against the current makes the waves larger, but also makes them more difficult to get into.  My wife has video of me at the Hatchery seemingly dropping into a wave and then getting pulled backwards out of it like I was on a bungee cord.   That’s another reason why first DW runs are possibly better on a current free stretch of water.  The Columbia can also be somewhat uncompromising for the uninitiated.  Joel Yang runs a great guide service and is a good way to try out your first few runs.

    So hopefully some of this was of benefit to you.   The only way to get better at any of these techniques is to practice.   Many of the flat water techniques like the  POGO and Bunny Hop can be done by yourself in flat water,  displacement wave riding is best done with a training partner and bumps and waves are obviously best done when gasp, there are bumps and waves.

    My goal in all of this, whether it be a health related topic, gear review, or performance related article like this is simply to use my hard won knowledge to help others achieve their own goals.

    Happy trails.     

     Bruce Barry     8/20/22

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