Longboard Paddling

Whether you’re a local looking to refine your skills or a visitor eager to catch the ultimate wave, mastering efficient paddling techniques is a crucial step in becoming a successful longboarder.

Proper Body Positioning

Efficiency in longboard paddling begins with your body position. To maximize your speed and control, lie down on your board with your chest and stomach flat on the board. Extend your legs straight back and keep your toes pointed, maintaining a streamlined position. The goal is to reduce drag in the water and create a more hydrodynamic shape.

Paddle Technique

A. Hand Placement

When paddling on a longboard, hand placement on the board is critical. Your hands should be positioned with your fingers pointing down, and your arms should create a slight bend to provide power and control. Ensure your fingers are together to maximize your paddle’s surface area and propel you forward.

B. The Catch

The “catch” is the initial phase of your paddle stroke, and it’s where your hand enters the water. To optimize efficiency, submerge the entire blade of the paddle and initiate the stroke close to the board. This action minimizes wasted energy and helps maintain a smoother glide.

C. The Pull

The pull is the second phase of the paddle stroke and involves pulling the water towards the tail of your longboard. Your core and upper body strength play a crucial role here. Engage your core muscles, back, and shoulders as you pull through the water in a straight line, parallel to the longboard. This powerful pull generates forward momentum.

D. The Release

The final phase is the release, where you bring your hand out of the water. Keep your hand close to the board as you release it, minimizing resistance and turbulence. Avoid splashing or erratic movements, as these will slow you down.

Rhythm and Timing

Efficient paddling is not just about power; it’s also about rhythm and timing. Maintaining a consistent pace with your paddle strokes allows you to catch waves effectively. Timing your paddling to the oncoming wave’s momentum will help you glide effortlessly, conserving your energy for riding the wave.


Efficiency in longboard paddling requires practice and guidance. San Diego, with its warm waters and reliable surf conditions, is the ideal location to refine your skills. San Diego Surf School offers surf lessons that cater to all levels, from beginners to advanced surfers. Their experienced instructors can provide personalized feedback and help you master the art of efficient paddling. Whether you’re a local or visiting the area, consider enrolling in their surf lessons to make the most of your surfing experience.