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Top 3 Ways to Paddle Like World Champion Kelly Slater – Surfing Paddling Technique Revealed


Hey guys Rob case here here are the top three ways to paddle like world champion Kelly Slater we all know Kelly is an amazing surfer so it’s probably no surprise that he’s also pretty good paddler and we also know that the better we can paddle the more waves we will eventually catch so the first technique that is very obvious in his paddling is that he keeps his head still his head does not sway from side to side this may seem a bit simple but this makes a profound impact on his speed and efficiency in the water let me explain why the biggest thing that slows us down in the water is resistive drag both both both horizontally and laterally so obviously we don’t want to add drag and that’s what’s happening when the head does not stay still when the head sways one way there’s another part of your body that reacts to that motion the back half of your body your feet your legs and this has been studied for decades in swimming and the same principle applies to surfing paddling action-reaction so how does this add to our drag imagine a metal rod that extends from beyond your head down through the middle of your body past your feet we want to align our head shoulders and hips with this rod and rotate around it slightly to remain balanced laterally when you sway your head and it moves out of this plane something on the other side of your body moves the opposite way action-reaction your head moves left your feet will move right this throws you out of lateral balance and increases your what I call lateral profile making more form drag we don’t want this so the first super simple technique is to keep your head still while you paddle rotate your body around that imagine a metal rod this is a key technique in maintaining that lateral balance and thus reducing drag alright so the second technique Kelly uses impacts both his ability to slide smoothly through the water with little drag and it also impacts the amount of propulsion or power he’s able to get out of each stroke what he does has to do with his hands entry into the water he keeps his elbow high when he is about to enter the water this is a huge benefit to his paddling and again I know it seems really simple but here’s the deal of why this works so well when the elbow enters high then it stays high when you reach the front propulsive phase of the underwater arm stroke I know many of you guys like what so in other words it helps keep his hand and forearm in a vertical position from the start of his stroke when your hand and forearm are vertical then you’re able to hold the water and propel yourself forward with a greater surface area for a greater length of time if the elbow is low if it goes low and I see this all the time I don’t even need to see underwater footage to know that their elbow is low when they initiate their stroke I know it’s going to be low because of the way they enter the water if the elbow is low then you have less time to hold with a vertical forearm you have less surface area if you even get vertical if you even get your arm vertical throughout the stroke you might not even get it to vertical if your elbow enters low so let me ask you do you think you get more propulsion from a larger surface area or a smaller one and that’s a rhetorical question of course because I know you all know that the answer is to have a larger surface area to hold the water and propel yourself forward so how might you go about improving your own paddling with this technique here’s a drill you can do the next time you’re out surfing it’s called the over the barrel drill and it’s really simple you just imagine that your arm has to go over a barrel when you enter the water you can’t keep your elbow low when you’re reaching over a barrel keep a slight bend in the elbow as well if you think about it you can’t place your arm over a barrel without a slight Bend anyways this is going to dramatically improve your paddling and it’s really simple to apply all right the last tip is that Kelly uses a slight roll from rail to rail around that imaginary rod so that he can recover his arm forward what this does is that at one it helps the recovering arm to be led by the elbow instead of his hand which is super useful in setting up the previous technique the over the barrel technique it also number two it prevents any dragging of the hand in the water which we learned earlier isn’t good either and three there’s a side benefit as well that will help increase the strokes power let me explain the power benefit real quickly there are two descriptions of paddling that I use in reference to the rolling from rail rail there’s a hip driven stroke and there’s a shoulder driven stroke both are useful in different situations and I distinguish the two because of where the roll is being initiated I’m and I’m sure based on the names of these you can figure out what each one is the hip driven stroke is initiated at the hips and the shoulder driven is initiated from the shoulders in both scenarios we use our core and in both the counter rotation of the body sets us up for a stronger and more powerful underwater arm stroke it lines us up so that we are now using our big powerful muscles in our pectoralis major and our latissimus dorsi as opposed to our stabilising rotator cuff muscles which we want to avoid using for power and the rotating motion also acts like a spring that is wound up and then released so when you go out paddling put a slight roll in your stroke from rail to rail obviously you can’t roll as much as a swimmer does because you’ll fall off the board but definitely incorporate this into your paddling and incorporate all three techniques head still elbow high remember to enter over a barrel and put a slight roll from rail rail in your paddling and you’ll be one step closer to paddling like Kelly I hope you enjoyed this got some value out of it and thank you so much for watching I’ll see you in the water you

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