Paddling Like a Pro: Top Tips for Paddling Out When Surfing

The weather is perfect, the waves are heavy, and you’re ready for your epic day on the water. You grab your board and start to paddle out only to find yourself worn out before even reaching the wave.

As any good surfer knows, how you paddle out is the first step to having a successful session. Not paddling correctly can lead to being tired early on or not being able to catch the waves you want.

By adjusting a few simple things, you can eliminate this problem altogether so that your surfing attempts are always successful. Read on to learn the top tips that will have you paddling like a pro!


First things first, if you’re looking to get on a wave, it’s important to understand the science of how that happens.

In order for you to successfully get up, you and your surfboard need to be traveling at around the same speed as the wave. Larger waves tend to travel much faster than smaller waves.

Being able to read your wave can help you know how fast or slow you need to paddle. This is crucial to your success because no matter how good your technique is if your speed is off, you’ll most likely struggle to catch a wave.


The “sweet spot” on your board is the spot where your weight balances best. Finding this spot gives you the best control over your board, and you’ll want to keep your weight here at all times.

This is the spot where your chest pushes into while you’re paddling out and is typically the widest and thickest part of the surfboard. Being too far forward or too far back from it can affect how the nose and tail of your board are sitting in the water.


Practice makes perfect, but only if you’re practicing the proper technique. When laying on your board, keep your lower back arched and make sure your weight is on the middle part of your stomach right under your ribs. It’s important to keep your core tight to create a nice rounded shape in your lower back.

A good way to practice this off the water is to try the locust pose. This yoga move will strengthen your core and lower back and allow you to make a similar shape on the water.


Remember to keep your head lifted and still. If you move your head, another part of your body will shift to compensate for that motion. This can lead to drag, which will just slow you down and can throw off your balance.


To get the most out of every paddle stroke, you want to use your full reach. Short strokes will tire out your muscles quicker and won’t get you very far. Think about how a swimmer does it, reaching your arm out and even adding a slight body roll to get that little extra bit of length.

Paddling with this in mind will help you get the most propulsion out of each stroke and also helps conserve your energy.


If you can’t get it right away, don’t stress — these techniques take time to master. Keeping our tips in mind and putting in your best effort is a sure fire way to reach your paddling goals.

If you’re looking for more tips and guidance to improve your surfing skills, book a surf lesson with us!