In recent years the practice of Paddle Surf or SUP (Stand Up Paddle) , has proliferated on the coast of Cabo de Gata . It’s easy to hire a learning class, a guided tour or just rent a table in the Playa de San José or any company water Sports area. The SUP is a sport imported from the Polynesian islands joining the discipline of surfing with his paddle, and that the ancient inhabitants of these islands used to move from one part of the island to another, or even between different nearby islands.
We will offer ten tips to practice SUP, which you’ll can avoid the most common mistakes among beginners, and you’ll can enjoy this sport from the first time.
1. Rowing with the body.
A common mistake is to try to row using only the arms, but SUP is a complete sport and we use a torso movement accompanying arms. If you only use your arms to propel you quickly will notice discomfort in the shoulders and elbows. Remember in each stroke must notice how the muscles of the chest, abdomen and legs are working in the same direction as the arms.
2. No maintaining balance only with legs.
As in the previous section we said that not only rowing arms should you shouldn’t try to maintain balance only with legs. In Paddle Surf we must be positioned with feet slightly apart, the feet must be straight with our shoulders. Once we are placed our legs will used to keep up and to assist in the global movement of the stroke, but you must keep balance with the body . If we start to move our feet we are lost, the table will become unbalanced and we will fall.
3. Looking to the horizon.
As we have said the correct position is in the center of the table, with width apart and feet shoulder with straight body. Our eyes should be on the horizon, this helps correct body position . If we look at our feet, and the water that surrounds us, the body tends to curl, lose verticality and fall down.
4. Keep hands separated.
A common mistake for beginners is to have your hands too stuck together when taking the paddle, which impacts greatly in paddled quality . The correct position of the hands is a knob on the shaft of the oar and the other in the middle of the pole.
5. Sink completely the paddle.
For efficiency we paddled stretch both arms and sink the paddle blade completely in the water, then with a global movement of the body collect arms, always with the blade completely sunken . This is the most effective way to propel themselves, if we do not completely sink the paddle, the effort will be almost the same but the movement of the table will get very less.
6. The paddle must not exceed the line of your feet.
The motion of rowing, as I said must start with arms outstretched, and should end when the paddle reaches the line of our feet . Once we have reached our feet line, its time to completely remove the paddle from water and back to stretch your arms for a new rowing move. To maintain a straight path towards our destination we must start with a rowed of our more natural side, the left of the table if we are right-handed and the contrary if we are left-handed, and it should be combined with strokes to the other side of the board to maintain the desired course.
7. Separate yourself from the rest of surfers.
It is a very fun experience make trips in group but you must consider keeping a distance with the other rowers and their tables, sea is very large . Tables for amateurs are larger to promote the stability, hard and heavy, and at sea is difficult to fast stop any boat, so we must avoid collisions with other tables.
8. Use a leash.
If you are not wearing a life jacket, use a strap to prevent you get away from the table if you fall. The sea is huge and sometimes treacherous, and we never know we may hold on a tour. Using a belt strapped to your leg and to the SUP board on the other end will prevent if we fall from the table it won’t stay away from us..
9. Watch the waves and strong winds.
Before the activity must know the weather prediction for sea and make sure that we can control the table. In the area of the Natural Park Cabo de Gata is not uncommon to find moderately strong wind that can produce sizable waves that make us fall or drag us into rocky cliffs. Paddle Surf boards are larger than normal Surf and you must be an expert to keep the board in balance with strong waves .
10. Learn to fall.
As in any sport involving the balance you’ll fall, luck is that as it is a water sport you’ll fall in the water, however we must learn how to fall, if we fall too close to the table we can hit with it, and I already said that they are hard. Falls are inevitable so we recommend learn to control it .
With these ten tips to practice SUP you will not become masters of the discipline, but we hope they will serve to beginners to have a first contact with this more enjoyable.
Finally we leave a couple of links for those who want to perfect techniques. In Almeria we are fortunate to have a School of Surf, SUP and Windsurf all directed by a world champion in this discipline Victor Fernandez , here’s a link to their SUP school. The other link is a youtube video where with, a very scientific manner, the effectiveness of a good paddling is analyzed. Greetings and enjoy the Paddle Surf .