In my humble opinion, one of the most fun things you can do on a sup is catch a wave! Once you catch the surfing bug it’s hard to want to do anything else but catch a few tasty ones on a hot summer’s day.
The interesting thing about standup paddling is that many of us start out on flatwater or even in rivers and seldom get a chance to ride a wave or even paddle in the ocean.
So when given the opportunity to surf, we end up missing many waves due to using the wrong stroke technique.
I know this first hand from when I first started sup surfing…I kept gunning for waves using long powerful strokes that just wouldn’t give me the quick speed I needed to drop in! I was constantly getting frustrated watching the wave peel down the beach from behind as I had to paddle back out, hoping not to get pummelled by the next incoming wave.
I would end up catching waves here and there, but I knew I was missing a bunch that could have been some sweet long rides.
That is until I one of my buddies told me about the “Quick Stroke Method” as he called it, or as Robert Stehlik from Blue Planet Surf calls it “First Gear.”
It’s all about changing the cadence of your paddling when trying to catch a wave. Instead of taking long strokes, which will end up giving you tennis elbow and getting you ticked off for missing that perfect wave…switch to making short, quick strokes that are about half the length of your normal stroke and twice the speed.
This gives you the needed boost to get into that sweet spot and ride that wave all the way down the beach. Using this technique I easily caught 5 times the waves in one day!
Many of us make this mistake of digging hard with our paddles, thinking a long stroke is better, but while catching a wave, this simply isn’t the case. (This doesn’t necessarily apply to all size waves, but will help with the size us mere mortals go after)
Just remember, short quick strokes and enjoy the ride!
Check out this video where by Blue Planet Surf here where they really go into more detail: