Posts Tagged ‘learn to surf’

Stand Up Paddling (SUP) Health Benefits

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Stand up paddling (SUP) is a super fun activity, but even more so it is a great way to stay in shape. Kelly Slater, the man who has now won 11 World Titles in professional surfing was recently interviewed by CBS television. In this interview Slater states that he has, “friends who are 90 that still surf every day,” and that he plans on surfing forever. In this post I will focus on the health benefits of SUP so that you too will be live a long, healthy and active life even if you don’t live near the ocean!

Laird Hamilton SUP

Laird Hamilton- So strong he can paddle with his mind.

What do you think of when you hear the word healthy? Is it hulk-like-muscle, toned lean physique, or the flexibility to touch one’s head to one’s toes? If you answered yes to any of the above, stand-up paddling can help you achieve your goals. Once you’ve got the basics of SUP down you can begin to design SUP workouts to reach your specific health goal. Don’t get me wrong, learning to SUP is a unique work out in and of itself. Let’s break down the health benefits of SUP to help you get control of your SUP-soreness.

Although it may not be obvious at first, SUP is a great aerobic workout. Most doctors and health experts agree that regular and substantial aerobic exercise is key to a healthy life. What does regular and substantial mean to you? For some people it might be a half hour 2-3 times per week, others may want to head out for 2-3 hours every day! A great way to up the Aerobic benefits of your SUP session is to simply paddle faster! Try racing a friend or racing the clock!

SUP is an awesome way to build strength. It is easy to see and feel how paddling an SUP works the muscles of the shoulders, arms and hands. Less obvious are the benefits SUP has for the core muscles of the stomach and back. Muscles like the abdominals are engaged heavily not only in the stoke of an SUP paddle, but also in the act of balancing on an SUP board. Having a strong core is a great foundation for your health, to make your SUP workout more beneficial to core strength try out a smaller board, and take on choppy days!

To get the most out of your strength training working on flexibility is crucial. Stretching will prevent injuries that can be painful and set you back. To get the most from your flex try yoga. Although yoga doesn’t have the reputation of being the toughest sport out there, most anyone who has tried it would agree that it can a real workout! Add a wobbly SUP to a yoga practice and you’ve got a real challenge! Yoga on SUP board combines the aerobics, balance training and flexibility into an awesome outdoor activity.


  • To reach your sup goals keep a log of your workouts. Google maps is a great way to measure how far you’ve paddled!
  • Want to know how Aerobic your workout is? Be mindful of your lungs, they’ll be the first to tell you how hard you’re working them!
  • To engage your core paddle on a choppy day, the chop makes it harder to balance, and its a great reason to get out when conditions don’t look ideal!
  • Aim for balance in your workout to prevent overuse and injury. Stretching will help you get the most from strength training without painful injuries!
  • Mount some of our new Heavy Duty SUP racks to a secure wall and do some pull-ups when you get home!

As with all exercise, know your limits, train with a friend, and increase the difficulty of workouts in small increments. Stand up paddling is amazing because it is a great way to access the great outdoors, but keep safety in mind. Always be cognizant of hazerdous conditions, especially if you plan on doing an exhausting workout!

Got any tips, let us know on Facebook!



Nice Rack Guide to Duck-diving

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011
This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series Nice Rack Beginner's Guide to Surfing

In this edition of the Nice Rack Beginner’s Guide to Surfing I hope to explain what duck-diving is for those who are not familiar with surfing and give those who do not know how to duck-dive some how-to advice. For those who can already duck-dive, I’d like to share some tips to get the most out of your dive.

First things first, the term itself: duck-diving, means to do as a do as a duck and submerse oneself. If you spend some time observing actual ducks or seabirds you will notice that every so often they will disappear under the water’s surface, they do this to look for food. Sometimes sea birds will pop back up with a wiggling fish in their mouth. (Note to beginners: avoid this.)

The function of duck-diving is to push past the walls of incoming waves. By submersing the entire surfboard and one’s body the surge of water created by a breaking wave can be avoided. It is often the case that surfers use duck-dives to escape the brute force of a wave, especially when waves are larger. While duck-diving is the go-to maneuver for most surfers and is easily the safest and most efficient way to get to the outside of a break.

The turtle roll-technique involves rolling upside-down while still holding the board. This technique blocks the impact of the wave, but it causes the surfer to lose any moment they had paddling out, which is one reason duck-dives are a valuable skill. Duck-diving will slow you down some, but usually this technique will afford you time to paddle and prepare to catch or avoid the next wave in the set.

Now to the good stuff: how to duck dive. As with most techniques in surfing, there are many personal variations; the following are meant to get new duck-divers started.

  1. Paddle towards a wave, it is important to make sure you are avoiding the paths of other surfers, for more info on this visit this post on the rules of surfing.
  2. Paddle hard, your momentum will help you. Don’t forget to breathe though, remember that you’re heading under.
  3. Point your surfboard straight into the wave, the straighter your angle the less force will be exerted on you. If you are turned sideways you will chances of getting flipped up and over into the impact zone.
  4. Place one knee on the tail of your board, where the tail-pad on a shortboard is placed.
  5. Press down with your knee while doing a push-up motion with your upper body; the goal is to push your board as deep under water as possible.
  6. Quickly follow your board under the water, as the wave passes over your body, be sure to keep the nose of your board pointing upward. Exhale through your nostrils and relax as you pop out of the other side of the wave unscathed!


  1. The board you are riding greatly effects your duckdive, the more volume you have the harder it will be to push your board under water. Because they are voluminous beginners boards are often the most difficult to dive. To learn duckdiving I advise practicing with a  shortboard on a small day, or in a swimming pool.
  2. Because a board is voluminous does not mean it will not duck-dive! Instead of pushing your board flat against the water, turn it slightly to one rail and “knife” it into the water. By repeating this process on both sides you can get very deep underwater, it’s a trick of big wave surfers!
  3. Some people push down with their foot rather than their knee to get deeper. While this might work for some, I’ve found that a well executed duck-dive using my knee works best.

Hope this helps you get started!

If you have any secrets or tips let us know on Facebook !

For more beautiful photos like the one above check out:



The Unwritten Rules of Surfing

Thursday, January 20th, 2011
This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series Nice Rack Beginner's Guide to Surfing

You don’t drive a car without learning the road laws, just like you can’t foul indefinitely in basketball or any sport for that matter. Surfing is no different. The following explains the Rules of the Wave every beginner surfer must know to avoid severe stink-eye or possibly being put in the ‘kook’ penalty box.rules of the waves

1- Right of way: the surfer that catches a wave closest to its peak (the steepest part of the wave that is closest to the curling lip or otherwise breaking whitewater) has the right of way. So if two or more surfers are paddling for the same wave and heading in the same direction the surfer on the ‘inside’ usually has priority.* If you drop into a wave in a crowded line-up, it’s best to give a quick glance to make sure no one is behind you. If someone is in front of you then it’s customary to alert them to get off your wave by shouting a loud-owl-like ‘whooooo-oooooo’. Yelping ‘heyyyyyyy’ works fine too. My personal choice is the standard ‘yyyyyhhheeeeeeeuuuu’. Just make sure its loud enough to hear and no matter what, if you call someone off a wave you had better commit to catching it. Nothing screams Kook Alert like hesitation.

2- Paddling Out: A surfer paddling out must always yield to the surfer riding a wave, even if that means taking a lip on the head or suffering a beat down from some soupy whitewash. If its clear you can scramble to the safety of the shoulder of an oncoming wave without jeopardizing the surfer’s ride, then go for it. But the default move is to head straight for the inside of the wave towards the whitewash and let the surfer riding have the right of way to the shoulder. Nevertheless, its important to be as decisive and obvious as possible in which direction you are paddling to advise the surfer which path to take on the wave. There is nothing more frustrating then a paddling surfer ruining a wave for another by getting stuck in analysis paralysis. Pick a direction (preferably towards the inside of the wave) and stick to it.

Wilbur Kookmeyer

Wilbur Kookmeyer

3- Right or Left: When a wave breaks in both directions this is called an A-frame. To avoid confusion, call out in which direction you plan on going ahead of time. In other words, if you are paddling for the left, holler out “Going left’ loud and clear. It’s customary for surfers to ‘split’ waves when possible to allow one surfer to go right and the other left, and appreciated by everyone still waiting for a wave.

* Paddling Around: This important Code of Conduct is often ignored but equally important. Nothing irks a surfer more than getting ‘snaked’. However, just as bothersome is the Paddle-Jockey. When entering a line-up or immediately after catching a wave its good practice to position yourself further towards the rear or side of the line-up. While it generally goes unspoken, wave priority is often based on who has been in position waiting the longest. Paddling around a group of surfers to position oneself closest to the peak is the equivalent of dropping-in to most surfers, and often the source of resentment against longboarders.

Note: This rule does not apply at extremely crowded spots. Get your waves anyway possible! Nor do Brazilians typically obey regardless :)

How Tides Affect Surfing Conditions

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Tide knowledge can be invaluable for timing a great surf session. Wanna know if you should surf dawn patrol or leave your surfboard in its rack for another hour or two while you catch up on some zzz? Check the tide report.

Reading a tide report is actually quite easy. Tides advance and retreat in wave-like motion as indicated in the image below.

tide chart

The row of numbers along the bottom represents the time of day, while the numbers along the left indicate the height of the tide. Therefore its easy to determine tide height at any given point in the day by matching the hour with the corresponding tide measurement.

So how do tides affect surfing conditions? Well, this is where it can get tricky. The general rule of thumb is most reef breaks will turn on when the tide is low-pushing-high, while beach breaks usually work better with a medium tide. However, keep in mind this is just a guideline and not the rule. Each surf spot handles tide changes differently, and there is no substitute for surf break familiarity.

So next time you surf a specific break, take a mental note to what the tide is doing and how it is affecting the way the waves are breaking. Are the waves breaking slow and mushy on the higher tide, or fast and steep on the lower tide? Surfing is all about experience, and understanding tides is an important skill that will help you for as long as you’re a surfer.