THE LONG ROAD
Essential tips for paddling a longboard out back
Paddling a longboard out back is possibly one of the reasons you’ve not yet given longboarding a go. After all, paddling a 9ft log out through the waves can be a daunting process at the beginning. But believe me, it gets easier with time, knowledge and practise.
The first thing to look at is the conditions. Determine whether it’s actually a good day to take the longboard out. A perfect day is about 1-3 feet, so about knee to shoulder high, with as many peeling waves as possible. Avoid beaches with too many closeouts; most places at low tide can generally be a bit heavier, which is not so great.
When paddling out on a longboard, the best tactic is to avoid getting caught out and copping a set right on your head. We don’t need that in our lives, do we? Before paddling out watch the ocean, and see if you can find a rip or channel to get out the back. Also, stand in the water and watch the sets so you can time your paddle with a lull, enjoy a dry hair paddle out (ultimate skills) and avoid the middle of a set. If you are paddling out and a set comes, remember that you don’t have to paddle out in a straight line – always look for the easiest route, even if that means paddling out diagonally or zigzagging.
Luckily paddling out a longboard we have speed on our side! Using that speed, try to pre-empt where the wave is going to break so you can hang back and avoid the worst of it and tackle the white water, or speed up your paddle and make it over the top before it breaks. There is always that wave that is going to land right on you and you will always have to go through waves while surfing, so it’s something that you need to get comfortable with.
Are you thinking, ‘how do I get this board through those waves?’ Here are a few methods.