Sup Technique: How to paddle through breaking waves

Paddling over white water Jimmy Blakeney video
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BIC Sup legend, waterman and ACA Sup instructor Jimmy Blakeney walks us through strategy for standup paddling out into the surf through breaking waves in this video.

Tips from the Top:  Jimmy Blakeney on Paddling through Breaking Waves

Here’s the overview.  Be sure to watch the video above to see demonstration of the tips found here and a more comprehensive understanding of these statements.

Be aware of your surroundings.  Know who’s around you and whether losing your equipment might put someone near by in a dangerous situation.

For smaller waves:
OPTION 1:  Lay down on your board and paddle out with your paddle on the deck in front of you.

OPTION 2:  Paddle out in a kneeling position and paddle over the white water by leaning back and taking a hard stoke as you hit the foam.

For larger waves:
When standing up and paddling out through the surf, you’ll want to take a surfer’s stance with one foot in front of the other (see video).  Stand further back on your board in order to get the nose up when punching through the white water. Having forward momentum is important when moving through white water because without it, you’re much less stable.

Keep your knees bent and your center of gravity low over your board.  Keep that forward motion momentum in order to drive over the breaking waves.

Use your paddle as a brace in the moment the white water hits you.  Keep moving.  If you have to drop to one knee, get back up quickly and punch through to the outside of the impact zone.

Good luck out there!  Be safe and have FUN!


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Evelyn O'Doherty, editor & publisher of the new Standup Journal 2.0 is a former school teacher gone rogue. She left her career as a teacher in order to spend more time near or on the water after learning to surf turned her life around (upsidedown?). She is a year-round surfer and paddler living on the eastern tip of Long Island in NY who is a certified SUP instructor, seasoned SUP racer and avid longboard surfer. Evelyn was hired as Online Editor to Standup Journal in 2016. Her passion for the project quickly led to her success and eventually taking over the mag herself in Oct. 2018. Today, as editor, publisher and chief bottle washer at Standup Journal, Evelyn keeps her toes wet writing, traveling, paddling, surfing, and learning to foil. You can find her most days paddling out on Gardiner's Bay or surfing Ditch Plains in Montauk, NY.