I have suffered numerous injuries to my lower back, and the paddle out just wrecks my lower back. Been to many diff ortho's, physical therapists, and chiropractors. Basically, I have to stay out of that hyper-extension position best I can to avoid pain.
I'm considering maybe purchasing a longboard that I can paddle out on my knees to limit the amount of hyper-extension I go through while surfing. I've never ridden a real longboard before, only "fun" boards in the small stuff, so I'm really ignorant on the subject and looking for help.
I'm 6'1'' 175 lbs. I really don't know how long/thick/wide a board has to be to support my weight while i paddle on my knees. I'm hoping I don't need anything gigantic.
If anybody is around my size/weight and has a longboard they can knee paddle, please let me know the dimensions of it, and any other info (type of rocker, epoxy/balsa wood, etc.). I'm at the point where the pains bad enough to give up surfing so I'm looking for anything that can keep me in the line-up.
I dunno, and wish you the best. I know an old dude in his 70's who paddles out (prone,or knee style, not stand up) on a small SUP. Or try a big softtop. You can go to almost any surfshop and rent either one for an hour to see which one is more comfortable. Or check out a sit down wave ski - fiberglass but thick and hollow for flotation, padded under rear for comfort, foot straps for control, single fin box below for control, and a double sided kayak paddle for propulsion. I've seen my buddy go off on one in good overhead surf (way overhead if your seated), and I bought it from him and its a blast, but kind of dicey if you are large upperbody. Big ass chicks seem to ride it better that most guys.
You can pretty much knee paddle any lngboard as long as you have the balance for it. I had a 9' hplb that i knee paddled. Well the couple times i rode it. But obviously the wider the better as it will be more stable. Any decent log you should be golden.
I'm 5'9" 170 and I knee paddle a 9-6, 23, 3 1/4 infinity longboard. I love to knee paddle, especially for long paddles to switch to another peak or late in a session when getting tired. You can really move, digging in with both hands. I try to keep my butt down near the deck for balance. Never tried to catch a wave while doing it; it would be weird for me to try to pop up from that position. Doesn't hurt my knees or feet because I'm always wearing booties and a wetsuit anyway. Good luck!
I'm no expert, but here's my dos centavos. In the 60s, "surfer's knees" was a not uncommon malady for those who did a lot of knee paddling. See NJ's pic above. Maybe a SUP is the solution. If not too wide, you can either knee paddle it or use a paddle. Many have soft surfaces or mats, making it easier on knees and tops of feet & ankles. Strap a small, 6'er cooler to it if just out for a paddle.
Anything to stay in the water.
Wish you the best.
I feel your pain brother - I had spinal surgery fusing three cervical vertebrae plus I have significant degeneration and arthritis in the lumbar region. I bought a 10' Walden Magic X2 epoxy a couple of years ago (10'0'' X 23 1/2'' X 3 1/4''; 110 liters; very light and practically indestructible; found one fairly cheap and in great shape on Craigslist) to tandem surf with my grandson and ride it a whole lot now. I paddle from my belly (though I have knee paddled it on occasion when wearing a wetsuit - no problem). It gives me very little back problems, whereas riding my 9'0" hplb gives me significant problems these days (though it is much more maneuverable). I can catch most anything on the ten footer and actually have found it to be a whole lot more maneuverable than I thought it would be. I am 5'7" and 145 pounds. Good luck finding the right board! Don't give up!
In order to knee paddle efficiently, you have to be pretty much on top of the water. I have a heavy, classic singlefin log that I can barely knee paddle.... 9'3x23x2.75 and I'm 6'1, 190... add 20 lbs of rubber in the winter. If you're knee paddling, and the board is sinking under your weight, you're not paddling as efficiently as you could be with more volume. And for paddling a longboard, volume and board weight are key. You don't think about it much, but even on a longboard, the tail could still be underwater, with water lapping up around the rails, no matter how you paddle.
Slow wide,you are making the right call switching to a long board. But, you may find that you don't need to knee paddle to get the relief you want. A short board requires the hyper extension of the back to keep the nose up when paddling. Simply switching to a LB will allow a more relaxed spinal position. Anything in the 9'0" range and above would work.if you want to knee paddle I wold suggest 10' or more. But, you will find that this position increases use of the lower back and may actually aggravate your situation. Before you do anything heal your back. Find out what works for you. Don't try to push through the pain with the lower back. I had L4-L5 surgery and surf without problems. But I took a good deal of time off post surgey to fully recover.after your back feels better buy a used longboard and try prone for a while. Best o luck.