THE LONG ROAD

Es­sen­tial tips for pad­dling a long­board out back

Surf Girl - - Surfgirl Summer Travel Guide - words and il­lus­tra­tions SA­MAN­THA SUN­SHINE

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.

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