Words, pics and vid: Andy Campbell
Fatstick SUP rider Andy Campbell talks about labd paddling and how taking it to the tarmac helps his on water wave styling. Over to Andy for lowdown.
Land Paddling is not only a fun way to get out and about, but also a great way to improve your SUP surfing when there are no waves. As with most sports the level of time you have been doing the sport reflects in the progression you have. Like with all wave related hobbies we are at the mercy of nature and weather conditions. Now as for most SUP surfers this is hard to factor into life with other commitments (jobs, family, and winter daylight hours or lack of). So you have to find a solution to keep yourself active and on top of your game when the sea is flat.
I personally spend a lot of time in the water on my race board trying to improve my strength, balance and fitness ready for the swell to roll in. Now this a good way of keeping you fit, but it doesn’t really improve your sup surfing skills. I would suggest getting your land paddle mjo going to further enhance your surfing.
Just general cruising down the street on your land paddle is fun but you can also work the board in a very similar way to a SUP in the water. Using your legs and going from heel to toe with every paddle stoke is a very good way of improving your carving skills and learning to generate speed on a quickly closing out wave or a flat section. Also urban type features like concrete banks and slopes can be used to replicate swell and let you try attacking the lip more. Changing the weight on your feet to allow the tail to slide and get looser is great.
I personally like to head to the skate park and use the steeper transitions to sharpen up my body position and commit to hitting the lip. Using a longer type of machine makes this tricky as ramps are made for conventional skateboard’s, but increases your confidence and helps you to get those hips, head and paddle involved to get the board around.
Ramps like quarter pipes are good to use because you can start doing turns at the bottom and make you way higher as you slowly increase your speeds until reaching the coping which is the aim in my eyes. The transition on a quarter pipe is very similar to a wave, but falling off on one is a bit more painful than falling in the sea. This is not only helpful but a lot of fun. So when the waves are flat or you don’t have time to get to the beach, get your land paddle out and go hone those skills ready for the swell.
- Work on paddle positioning and get used to planting the paddle, as you would on the water
- Aim for tighter lines and transitions (especially in skate parks)
- Also head off cruising for something different and an all round workout