Rob Case Paddling Videos/Paddling Technique In General

Apr 6, 2015
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This subject came up in the "volume forward boards" thread and started to dominate the discussion, so posting as a separate thread here.

I've watched a few of Rob's YouTube videos, and it's been transformative for me. Finally understand the physics behind efficient paddling (Duh! And I studied engineering for a year!) :foreheadslap:

Main things I've been focusing on:

1. Not over-reaching, especially when sprint paddling. Focusing on instead entering the water not too far in front of my shoulders. The over-reaching was a constant mistake of mine, I now realize.

2. Keeping my elbow high when paddling, so entering the water at a more vertical angle. Also making a smoother entry.

3. Thinking of my hands and forearms like a canoe paddle.

3. Focusing on pushing BACK not DOWN. This is probably what made the biggest difference overall. Seems super obvious now, but I never really thought about it before (because dumb).

4. Head down close to deck when getting into a wave (I already did this, but more conscious of it now).

5. Keeping my belly lifted slightly off the deck while paddling. This was mainly to relieve new back pain I was experiencing (worked!), but also seems to speed up my paddling for some reason. Body more horizontal, so board more horizontal?

LInk to Rob Case's YouTube page, which is where I found the most useful videos:


Key videos that helped me the most:

BEST SIMPLE SUMMARY OF KEY TECHNIQUES:

NOT OVER-REACHING:

ELBOW POSITION/PROPER USE OF FORCE:

CREATING FORWARD PROPULSION:

BASIC PHYSICS BEHIND IT (KINDA DRY, BUT WORTHWHILE):
All of this has made a huge difference. Catching way more waves, and MAKING more waves, instead of dropping in too late and falling behind. And this on a lower volume board than what I was riding before (only a liter less, but still). And my shoulders don't hurt after my sessions anymore!

Lohena and Maz pointed me towards this information, so want to thank them both :cheers:

Curious if anyone else has gotten benefit from applying Rob's methods, or any other methods they've found that actually work to increase wave count.

I've been trying to use the "S" stroke, but not sure I'm doing it right. Feel pretty hit & miss on that still..
 
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Dekerwild

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Jul 28, 2017
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KS also sweeps his arm under his board to “swoosh” the water away down the length of the board through the tail....it’s a technique that I use (when I remember) while paddling out but always forget to use when I’m kicking and scratching into a wave...
 
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Apr 6, 2015
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There's a lot to try and keep in mind. Enough that I'm finding myself over-thinking it somewhat, and much of it goes out the window when I'm sprinting for a wave (bad habits...) But if I focus on pushing back not down, and keep my elbows high ("over the barrel"), I definitely move faster through the water.

Has anyone here done his online course? $150. Not a lot to spend, really, to catch substantially more waves per session (I wonder what people pay golf pros?) But not sure it would really offer more than just poaching his free YouTube videos...
 

rowjimmytour

Phil Edwards status
Feb 7, 2009
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There's a lot to try and keep in mind. Enough that I'm finding myself over-thinking it somewhat, and much of it goes out the window when I'm sprinting for a wave (bad habits...) But if I focus on pushing back not down, and keep my elbows high ("over the barrel"), I definitely move faster through the water.

Has anyone here done his online course? $150. Not a lot to spend, really, to catch substantially more waves per session (I wonder what people pay golf pros?) But not sure it would really offer more than just poaching his free YouTube videos...
I would never pay but if I did pay 150 it would be for tutorial from olympic gold medal swimmer.
 

Muscles

Billy Hamilton status
Jun 1, 2013
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The technique of keeping your head down and back straight when paddling into a wave really helped me. Made a big difference in my wave catching. Put your chin down and don't arch and it seems you get much more speed.
 

Lohena

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Oct 30, 2019
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There's a lot to try and keep in mind. Enough that I'm finding myself over-thinking it somewhat, and much of it goes out the window when I'm sprinting for a wave (bad habits...) But if I focus on pushing back not down, and keep my elbows high ("over the barrel"), I definitely move faster through the water.

Has anyone here done his online course? $150. Not a lot to spend, really, to catch substantially more waves per session (I wonder what people pay golf pros?) But not sure it would really offer more than just poaching his free YouTube videos...
I'm planning on tapping into his expertise at some point next year. I'm actually thinking about either sending him a video or seeing him in person rather than the online course. I think it would be most helpful to have somebody observe issues with your specific technique. My main interest is more for injury prevention and longevity as I'm getting older and have existing repetitive stress injuries in my upper body. So far I've been lucky not to have any from paddling, but once that happens, it's over.

I know this was discussed in the other thread, but I have also noticed an efficiency benefit in following some of his advice on his free videos and podcasts. More than anything though, his breakdowns on the difference between a speed of a wave and the max speed we can paddle a surfboard has really helped me. I now realize is far more important to focus on positioning and wave choice to leverage the force of gravity to catch waves, rather than thinking only about paddling and which board paddles better than the other blah blah blah.
 
Apr 6, 2015
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More than anything though, his breakdowns on the difference between a speed of a wave and the max speed we can paddle a surfboard has really helped me. I now realize is far more important to focus on positioning and wave choice to leverage the force of gravity to catch waves, rather than thinking only about paddling and which board paddles better than the other blah blah blah.
This.

The increased paddling speed surely helps, but proper positioning is what I really need to get my head around.
 
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CutnSnip

Michael Peterson status
Sep 11, 2018
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Probably dropping in on you, California
The technique of keeping your head down and back straight when paddling into a wave really helped me. Made a big difference in my wave catching. Put your chin down and don't arch and it seems you get much more speed.
gave my friend (not a beginner, but not a regular surfer either) this tip when I noticed he was struggling with a new board the other day. Chin basically to the board and keep your back relatively flat. He was shocked at how effective it was.

That said, most days I just kick and scratch like a banshee and I get my fill of waves. :shaka:
 

flyinraptr

Michael Peterson status
Dec 18, 2008
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The technique of keeping your head down and back straight when paddling into a wave really helped me. Made a big difference in my wave catching. Put your chin down and don't arch and it seems you get much more speed.
Checked out the website - the online lesson is a bit expensive - reading the threads decided to give a couple of the tips a try - not overreaching, keeping the elbows high and focused on paddling backwards versus downward. It made a big difference in my last session - felt less strain - less fatigue and seemed liked i was covering more ground. One thing i didn't try was not arching - will have to experiment with next session.
 
Apr 6, 2015
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I posted this on the original thread where this started, but it's more relevant here:

So, in a classic demonstration of Murphy's Law, I am now consistently catching more waves since incorporating Rob Case's paddling techniques...but my lower back is killing me!

This might have something to do with going down slightly in volume, but I only went down a liter, and rode that same volume for most of last year without lower back pain. So I figure it must be due to the paddling changes. I just don't know what change is causing it.

I see that there is a staggeringly long thread on low back pain in the discussion forum, which I'm reluctant to dive into at the moment. Just curious whether anyone else has found Mr. J's two recommendations above - keeping one's belly slightly off the board and planks - to be helpful with alleviating pain in the low back.
 
Apr 6, 2015
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Mr J said:
So I said a few posts back that I have trained myself to arch the mid back rather than my lower back and that I like to keep some tension in my stomach muscles, so that my belly is not directly resting on the deck. This was my own derived response to a massage therapist who told me that I was "hyper extending" my lower back."
Here's what I posted after trying his recommendations on Sunday:

I tried this yesterday, when I remembered to do so, and it definitely make a difference. Surfed 5 hours straight (flaky!) with very little back pain. And I'm sure I forgot to do it when sprinting for waves, so something to keep working on. Thanks!
 
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SharkBoy

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Oct 22, 2004
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it's a good tip, i'll tell you this though, higher volume boards might make paddling easier, but it puts more stress on your shoulders, the more emerged you are in the water, the more similar paddling is to the crawl stroke utilizing your lats more than your delts
 

waxfoot

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Apr 21, 2018
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Hey @sjlist , it might be a little bit of a pain in the ass, but could you do us all a favour? Please update the first post in this thread with the most salient findings in a bullet form (I think @Maz bulleted his findings in that other thread), followed by a section with links to the best videos or something along those lines?

It will make referencing data we find a little easier.