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Thread: Paddling in?

  1. #1

    Paddling in?

    Ive looked through the forum and couldnt find anything on this subject, but When you are surfing a reef break, or somewhere you have to jump off of a sharp rock, etc. How are you supposed to come back in without hitting the rocks or stepping on the urchin infested reef? In all the surf movies and stuff they show them jumping off the rocks but never paddling in. Do they step on the reef and just hope not to get cut up? Any input would be greatly appreciated! Thanks,

  2. #2
    Getting out of the water is far more difficult than jumping in. You can almost always find a patch of sand or the shelter of a cove. Possible you might have to paddle far from the surfing reef to get out. Booties help. Sometimes they’re a must. The best is to take a moment and watch the locals exit strategy.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Nice post!

    I would also include that you should be very aware of the tide and what it does at the break. You may enter the water and try to get out two hours later with the tide having completely changed what you need to do. Whenever I surf somewhere new I always watch someone else paddle out because there is typically a channel in a reef or some other longer and safer route than rock jumping. When it's real scketchy I just wait to get in or out until I see someone who looks like they know how to surf the break decide to get out too, and just follow them. This can backfire if they use a more difficult but faster way of exiting than most others.

    A lot of it just has to do with timing. You gotta watch the waves for a bit and go for it at the right time. Often the lul in between sets is best though the time you have to get safe will be pretty limited so you need to move fast. You might even encounter a spot where you have to get out when it's just the right size of wave washing up on the rocks to sorta float you up on the rocks. Then you have to grab on without being sucked off and without dinging your board. Obviously the board is secondary to your own safety.

    Exiting reefs where there is no channel can be tough and booties are awesome like the previous poster said. If the water is clear... and it typically is, at least in the shallow area where you can not paddle, you can see the urchins and the reef itself as well as rocks, and sandy areas. I stick to the sandy areas if I can until it gets deep enough to paddle. You may not be able to duckdive until you reach a certain depth. Booties are kinda a must when walking out over urchin infested reef or sharp rocks at least until you get to know the break well. Mainly when it's hard I use my board by holding the rail and floating the other rail in the water. Then I reach a foot out in front of me to feel around with my toes. You can balance pretty well like this and it lets you feel exactly how you need to plant your weight once you shift it to the foot you are feeling with. You can get in and out like this on reefs, rocks, cobble stones, etc.

    I've definitely surfed a reef where i was able to paddle out straight off the beach and then got out at a lower tide and had to walk about 100 yards.

    I've also been washed in by an 11 wave set and pushed so far in on a reef that I had to stand up... I actually cut my foot open on a spikey reef piece that time because I stood up... a small waist high bit of whitewater hit me and pushed me back because I did not lean in enough...I had to put my foot back to stay standing and put my foot down on something sharp. ouch. That time I was not wearing booties because I entered the water from a boat. So sometimes you might need the boots even if you don't have to get in and out from land.

  4. #4
    thanks for the input! ive surfed reefs before in puerto rico and it was pretty easy were i was surfing, so i didnt have to jump of anything or shimmy along the reef. but some of the other places, (like pools for instance if you know were it is), it has a shallow lagoon were you cant really paddle out at, it seem like you would have to walk though it, and i never saw anyone paddle out there so i don't really know, and it seems like a pretty good break when its on. but next time im there i will definitely watch for some off the things you guys have mentioned.

    Good thing i was renting a board and it wasn't mine hahah, but next time it will so i will have to be extra careful with it.

  5. #5
    At pools you enter immideatly to the left of the point. Or if it's gucking enter at sandy and drift around. Right along the point is strictly rockreef ( very shallow even at high tide) if it's not lacking you can actualy wall out to the break and b line it on the lull. If your surfing an unfamiliar area and you have a few days wake up early and survey the situation with a little free dive... Especially rincon you'd be shocked whats under your feet .
    Last edited by delawareskim; Jan 9, 2012 at 03:08 AM.

  6. #6
    yeah i was definitely thinking about paddling from sandy beach to get to pools now that i think about it, seems like a lot easier paddle. but yes, free diving is a great idea, i will be doing it the next time im down there.

    Have you ever been to wilderness on a bigger day? how was the paddle in? any different than maria's or domes?

    Any other pointers that would make paddling in any easier?

  7. #7
    Wilderness on a big day can be sketchy and you better be able to paddle. Domes and Maria's are not much of a paddle and if you did get washed, the bottom is quite easy to navigate.