Monday, November 7, 2022

Learning how to efficiently catch wind generated swell on a prone paddleboard has been a fun process to learn. I first started paddling on a prone board as a lifeguard. Over the years I have dabbled in paddling but not venturing offshore much with the intent of riding swell. Catching open ocean swell involves thinking about the interplay between wind, current, swell, tide.... in order to put yourself in the best position to fly across the surface of the water. It's an amazing feeling to be riding the wind, face hovering inches from the salty water. Surfing, going up and down the face of a breaking wave, is a completely different experience. On a prone board, we are riding the wind swell that is in front of us. You can feel the swell pass under your board, the nose dipping down, then you paddle into the passing swell and latch on behind it, letting it pull you along. Several years ago I went to a weekend long dance workshop where several different styles were taught. The subtleties of riding a prone board are comparable to that of micro blues dancing. Other types of dance involved big moves, compressing and extending. Micro blues captures the essence of the movements. Much like how catching swell on a prone board compares to standing up on a breaking wave near shore. Some days, the ocean is easier to read, other days the puzzle pieces are rather elusive. The board functions much like a cork when you pull it under water, it shoots up. Weight distribution and timing are key. If you shift your weight back and down, the board will propel forward. Knee paddling is more efficient, but more difficult and physically taxing on the body. There is a steep learning curve and nothing substitutes for spending time practicing. The fun part is putting everything together and trying to crack the code on a given day.

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