So this Saturday saw the first of the surfski training sessions that Wes Hammer is coaching in Deep Cove. And WHAT a way to start in the middle of a hurricane!

Our group of 10 met first to discuss whether we would even go and paddle because the winds were picking up all the time. After putting it to a vote we decided to get out there, and Wes headed to the dock to try to watch our paddling, and offer some direction on technique as we paddled past him. I was paddling the Epic V8, and a club lay up at that, which was actually helpful this week as I think the heavier boat was actually easier to handle in the bigger waves. Next week I’m going to try the Epic V8 Pro in the elite lay up on the assumption that the conditions are a bit less hectic.

I have NEVER paddled in Deep Cove when there have been waves big enough that your boat actually makes that great “smack” sound when you paddle over them. And this wasn’t even anywhere near the entrance to the Cove, this was right by the Government Dock! It was stupid fun. And, ahem, really hard work 🙂 To be honest, trying to work on technique was somewhat challenging when you were just trying to stay in the boat, but we all worked really hard and I believe Wes got a good idea as to people’s paddling techniques.

Surfski storm
Okay…so maybe it wasn’t QUITE this big

Once the wind got really too much to even paddle out against, we decided to head in and discuss technique. Wes talked through the different technical stages of the paddle stroke, and key actions he will be looking out for as he analyses the group’s paddling. Three of the most important that he’ll be looking at are:

  1. Hand position – hands should be at eye level to get maximum power
  2. Posture – sitting up opens the chest, increasing lung capacity
  3. Rotation – using core muscles, again to get maximum power
Wes & Shane
Wes & Shane showing how it’s done!

He suggested that we head out at least once during the week to paddle, and recommended doing a resistance workout using tennis balls on string attached to the boat, or something attached to the boat to create drag. Increasing the resistance gradually as you train will build strength, and then when you remove it, you really notice how much faster you go.

Ask Coach

Wes then asked if we had any questions, and here I’m going to introduce a ‘Ask Coach’ feature where anyone can post questions and I’ll put them to him to answer for next week’s session. This week, questions raised were:

Q. How long should my paddle be?

A. It depends! The great thing about wing blade paddles is that they are adjustable, and you should use those adjustments for optimum performance. The best thing to do is to try different lengths while training to test how they feel, and then use that information when you’re racing or in rough water.

Q. What should I be doing at the gym?

A. Exercises to increase strength are best. Pull Ups. Push Ups. Bench Ups. Basically anything that involves the word ‘ups’ is good! Core work too – planks, and variations on planks will give you a good base. We talked quite a lot about gym workouts, which I think is indicative of how people like to work inside in this weather!

Pull Ups

That was pretty much it for this week, but do post below if you have questions or comments for Coach for next week. Don’t forget that Deep Cove Outdoors has a massive SALE on surfskis until the end of October – check out the deals on Epic Surfskis and Think Surfskis here.