Friday, February 04, 2005

Session 5022: On Efficient Paddling


Fun surfing carried over to this morning's dawn patrol. Since this morning, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are typically packed with office works so I usually do a short session at Linda Mar. I must say, though, the amount of light is more as we have gone past over a month mark from the winter solstice. I really like this time of the year as things come back to life, be it the grass on the ground or some trees in gardens, and daylight getting longer all that give me a lot more energy.

The surf was really good this morning, with easy get-out and there will be some period where there are anywhere from hip to overhead size waves break all across the beach. I paddled around to find the best spot on my Carver Equalizer 7'5.

Today, I want to write about paddling.

Lately, my arms have become a bit tired for paddling so hard, but also I am starting to figure out how not to get so tired and stay in the water longer. So I am going to share this with the reader of my WavLOG.

Today, I have re-realized the importance of even and consistent paddling to achieve the maximum efficiency. What is starting to make a difference is the power of stroking with an even amount of force all the way through, and not very fast. It appears that given the size of the board and my weight, and my fitness level, there is a natural, or cruising, speed of the board. I can go past that speed, but then it would be a much more effort to paddle, and if I don't go fast enough, then it would take much longer to get to where I go.

Once achieving this natural speed, then the most efficient way to paddle is not to add more speed nor subtract the speed, and that means that the power is being applied for paddling as continuously as possible. So as the left hand leaves the water behind, the right is just ready to take over. While moving the arm through the water, I'd apply even power. I try to fee the same amount of force on my palms throughout each paddling stroke. This means that actually my arms do not move the same speed in the water throughout, as the cross section of resistance would go maximum when my arms are straight down, and during the entry and exit from the water, the cross section of resistance will decrease so the arms will look moving faster then.

By doing this, I am moving my arms surprisingly slower than I used to, but I really feel that I am moving rather fast, and I don't get so tired. What once has been a problem is that when I do over or under the waves, this rhythm broke, or if I am following someone, that also messes up this. So I just try to relax and keep the same rhythm, pace and power in my stroking. This is another good reason why we try to relax as much as I can under all circumstances.

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