Anytime Dave Kalama has something to say about stroke technique, I listen. This is a really short training video where Dave focuses on paddle entry and the biggest reason why you don’t want the splash. When I get this technique right, I call it “paddling stealth” because you don’t hear a thing when the paddle enters the water. Then I know I got a good catch and a follow up power stroke.

This is an excellent article written by my friend Tom Fu. It brings up many good points but the point that stands out to me is: Sure you can swim, but can you swim to save your life in the conditions you play in now? I really want to open ocean paddle and as a life long surfer I’ll bet my comfort level is a little too smug for actual offshore open ocean paddling. I currently play in the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean but am now rethinking my actual swimming and survival skills before I attempt to progress to even bigger endeavors. I wear a leash and a PFD no matter what, but when it comes to extended survival there’s going to be no bigger savior than distance swimming. Guess I’ll be hitting the pool this winter…



I was doing a search tonight on ‘good upwinding techniques’ and found a 2012 article written by/for Laird Hamilton about upwinding.

Sometimes it feels like both directions is upwind.

Sometimes it feels like both directions is upwind.

It’s got some good points I’ll summarize as well but I was equally stoked to find I already do the recommended techniques (Woohoo!). Sadly, I still don’t particularly like upwinding although I do agree with Laird that if I need a workout, a really good workout, upwinding is the ticket any time. It’s a short article but has some really good points.

  • Move forward on your board. Less bounce and more swell penetration makes for a smoother ride and more consistent momentum.
  • Stay low. Take a lower grip on your paddle and try to be as small a sail in the wind as possible.
  • Go straight into the wind. Any off angle direction will waste your energy and lessen your stability.
  • If/when your back starts hurting, adjust your grip to activate different muscle groups.

  • Turn your blade sideways on the back stroke. I do this and am always impressed by the energy savings I get from simply disallowing wind resistance against my paddle!
  • Take short, strong paddles to maintain momentum. Long paddles require a longer reset which costs forward momentum especially into wind
  • Finally, my personal inclusion into this list of tips: Drop to your knees to eliminate wind resistance and give muscle groups a break.
  • A good sign it's going to be an upwinder...

    A good sign it’s going to be an upwinder…

Please pass along any techniques you use too, I can always use more tips in my arsenal when heading into the wind!