fear of paddling out help!!! xD

Discussion in 'Mid Atlantic' started by badon, Jul 29, 2013.

  1. badon

    badon Member

    Dec 26, 2012
    so I've been surfing for a bit, still a beginner. I can stand up fine and catch waves fine but I find myself a little hesitant sometimes when it comes to paddling out to the lineup. Idk why, could be that i don't have a surfing partner, could be the deep water thing, idk. i do paddle to the back sometimes, but theres times where i just sit in front of the beach like a goon because i can't bring myself to do it, but when i'm out there i have no problem catching and riding a wave. what should i do, i know i'm being a p***y, xD.
  2. cwink1995

    cwink1995 Member

    Jul 18, 2013
    just look at everyone else out there and recognize that they are perfectly fine being out there and just do it

  3. EmassSpicoli

    EmassSpicoli Well-Known Member

    Apr 16, 2013
    If you paddle out back at times then you know what to do. Just do that the other times. Depending on what type of break you're at and what conditions are, sometimes the better waves are on the inside but not too close to the shore break as that sucks for a number of reasons. Especially if it's high tide at a beach with a steep pitch down the shore to the water, stay the hell away from that.

    What's holding you back from getting out the back, is it mental or physical? Are you comfortable with waves breaking there that are reasonable for your experience? When you have done it, has it been at different tides? If not, then don't push your limits too soon and wait to hunt waves you're both capable of taking off on and riding as well as being confident with and not panicking if you botch it and get thrown under because you will at times no matter how good you get. The guys here will either be shocked, proud, or both that I just said that about wave selection safety relative to skill and experience levels.

    A rip will help pull you out back if you know how to navigate one. There are also other channels at some breaks and tides you can paddle straight out back without dealing much with the impact zone where any waves are breaking and pushing whitewash to the beach.

    There are lots of threads and posts discussing paddling technique here so do a search. You can never get too good at duck dives and rolls so look those up on here as well. Then it's a matter of paddling endurance which is both aerobic and anaerobic. You can never have too much of that either. Search as much as you can on the archives because there are years of good posts from guys that haven't been on the forum for a while and won't respond here as they won't see it.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2013
  4. SlowWideTurns

    SlowWideTurns Active Member

    Aug 18, 2012
    I used to have the same problem when I was younger... what really helped me out was no longer rushing to get back out there. I always felt the need to rush back out into the line-up for some reason. Eventually i learned to just hang out in the belly-button high water and wait for the set to die down. When they did, I'd paddle hard to get back out there before the next set came rolling through. You can also scope out where in the break the waves seem to die off and go out through there.

    Its just like anything else really - the more you do it, the more you'll get used to it until it no longer becomes a problem. It also doesn't hurt to have a strong paddle - pull-ups will do wonders for you (along with actually going out and paddling).

    Good luck
  5. badon

    badon Member

    Dec 26, 2012
    thanks, good advice. definitely holding me back is the mental aspect of it, I have no problem as far as the physical part goes. i only go out when the waves are reasonable for my experience like you say. and i think what my problem is, i'm afraid to wipe out and be held under water by an oncoming set, that and maybe the being swept out to sea thing as dumb as it sounds.
  6. EmassSpicoli

    EmassSpicoli Well-Known Member

    Apr 16, 2013
    SWT is right on multiple levels. Pull-ups and rows are great for strengthening the lats and rhomboids which are key paddling muscles. There's a perfect exercise to do for paddling where you get a lat pulldown machine (or other cable machine; less pulleys the better as pulleys take away resistance), stand facing it, and with arms straight out having no elbow bend you push the bar down from shoulder level all the way to where the bar will hit your quads. Let the bar raise slowly and controlled on the way up (the "negative" portion of the movement) and maintain tension so the bar doesn't go much above shoulder or eye level and you keep the range of motion proper and healthy.

    Law of specificity states that the more you physically perform a movement, the more efficient you'll be at it. There are supplements to paddling strength and endurance like I just mentioned, but there's no substitute for getting out there and paddling the right way. Paddle til you're tired, rest only long enough to where you can safely start again, then paddle again til you need rest and can go further without it. Do not enter any sets of waves that you can't sustain that type of intermittent max effort as the waves will keep coming no matter how tired or drained you are. Just like there are wave heights, chop, and areas of water (proxemics to jetties and reefs) that are either developmentally appropriate or not, the same applies to where and when you can and should paddle.

    Paddle in flat water on days you can't ride any waves since there are none. Paddle in chop that is challenging but not dangerous for you. Paddle in both incoming and outgoing tides. Paddle sideways (parallel to beach) through rips that you can safely handle at the time. Paddle in all possible conditions that you could ever be in during a session (reasonable to your safety) so that your body and skill set are accustomed to handling anything you encounter.

    There are limits as to what's safe in the moment (i.e. drowning, collisions, etc.) and limits to what's safe regarding your body's overtraining threshold. Just because you can execute a workout or physical task to completion does not mean your body can properly recover from it without injury and/or rejecting the excessive workload and flooding your body with stress hormones that make your body more "breakable" until it's fully recovered. To put it straight, overtraining inhibits timely and full recovery for your next session. Finding your overtraining threshold takes time and can be difficult because the "alarm" doesn't go off until it's too late and you've already done the damage by overloading your body. There are times for max effort and that's after you've seen when it's appropriate through sub-maximal trials.

    Again, be prudent and selective with the sets you decide to paddle into because if you're not ready for it but are already in it, Mother Nature doesn't give two schitts and those waves will keep rolling in and breaking on you. If you're in the impact zone and there are many waves in a set, it's a very tough predicament to be in. Never panic though no matter how bad it gets and always keep a cool mindset that you'll make it out.

    Not sure of your familiarity or knowledge of waves and sets, but from your post it sounds like you're unsure of the bigger ones and those you've been were smaller. The shorter the interval period between waves, the sooner the next will come your way and smack you if you're in the wrong place. On the other hand, the longer the period the stronger the way will typically be. Just because you have 16 seconds in between long period waves doesn't mean at all you're going to handle the power of that wave breaking on you wrong. If you do get tossed and thrown under in long period, you'd be surprised how soon that 16 seconds elapses before the next one comes in and throws you through spin cycle after slamming on your head and face if you've made it back to the surface. Concerning long, medium, and short period, they are just one part of the conditions along with with swell size, wind, tide, and break environment. Short period with large swell doesn't mean it will be a picnic getting out back, just as long period with medium to smaller swell won't necessarily give you desirable amount of time in between waves if one buries you.

    The guys on here gave me a metric ton of lip when they found out what conditions I brought a newbie friend out in when I was very new myself. It didn't go very well and the ocean is not a place you want things to go poorly. They'd have given me 10x the crap if they knew what kind of conditions I went out in on my own before that when I had even less experience myself. Bottom line: challenging yourself is necessary to progress, but too much challenge too soon in the wrong time and place in the ocean can have ultimately bad consequences for you. If you don't know exactly where that bar is for what's safe and appropriate then err on the side of caution. You can always challenge yourself more the next time out as long as there is a next time. You mentioned surfing with others and there are threads and posts on that too. For safety, it's clearly better to surf with others especially if they are safe and experienced surfers. There are reasons some prefer to surf alone as you'll see in those threads, but it's at the expense of some safety.

    If you are more experienced than your post sounds and you know a lot of this already, none of this was meant to belittle you and it's always good to hear the right things again. Search the archives, ask questions, and prepare yourself physically. Do all that and you'll have a blast surfing safely and progressively.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2013
  7. Sandblasters

    Sandblasters Well-Known Member

    May 4, 2013
    ^dude you have only been surfing a few months you are new as ever.. if you spent as much time in the water as you do on this forum you would shred.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2013
  8. EmassSpicoli

    EmassSpicoli Well-Known Member

    Apr 16, 2013
    Sounds like you're doing well and approaching it safely and responsibly. Careful with not being overconfident about being physically capable of handling certain conditions. If you want to survive then your least common denominator (biggest weakness) has got to be able to withstand the worst case scenario of those conditions. State champ pool swimmers and triathletes swimming in lakes or ponds by no means are instant all-stars in ocean swimming. It's a whole new ballgame and the earth and its will are much bigger, stronger, and powerful than all of us will ever be combined. You're heading out to the ocean with a breakable floatation device and even if you had nukes to set off it would take a while before you deliver any sort of blow to out planet.

    Concerning fear of the wipeout...that's one of the best parts, brah!!! It's like the rest of them: booze, women, skydiving, alligator wrestling, drag racing...if there's not the remote chance it can kill you, it's not that fun. Seriously though, non-life threatening wipeouts can be mad fun, especially if you still nailed part of your takeoff on a bigger wave or wiped out in a barrel (I've heard it can be dangerous) or trying certain maneuvers. The size of waves you get to enjoy riding will be severely limited if you wish to avoid any wipeouts at all. Simply because not knowing how to wipeout or deal with getting held under could be your demise when it happens and it will happen. You will hop on a wave that you're not ready for and probably not even know it.

    Because of the fact I hopped out in conditions I was no way fit for in my earliest stages, I've experienced being thrown under for a fairly long duration on a single wave. Have never been held under for more than one and that's not something anyone wants to do. For those who want to ride big waves, they have to be capable of surviving a 2 and 3 wave hold over and there's ways you can train and prepare for it without actually getting held under for 2 and 3 consecutive waves. In my case, I've experienced getting completely tossed off a fairly big wave multiple times and thrown under hard not knowing which way is up or down. Putting aside the fact that it was not the choice to make to be in that position, I've been there and am better for having been there. It doesn't mean I can jump out on any wave or even the same wave size and survive it every time at this point in my progression and it doesn't mean you should go out charging rogue waves so you will soon be able to ride them.

    Safely falling off your board even on a small wave requires certain techniques for optimal outcome. Learn the right way to fall off your board, both for yourself and those around you (you surfing safely is not limited to your own physical safety). Learn what to do when you're thrown under. Learn what to do in every possible situation you could find yourself in, both situations you can control but don't make the right choice as well as situations out of your control. Waves can close out on you when they looked great a second earlier when you decided to paddle into it. Things like that become less of a likelihood the more experienced you become because you'll know what to avoid and what to look for. Wave selection is one of the most critical skills of the best surfers in the world.

    The guys at Surf Simply (best videos ever for learning!) talk about it being a great success if you're a novice and you're catching 10% of the waves you go for. 10%. You're doing well says those experts if you're failing 90% of the time. Why? Because you're selecting waves that are very challenging at the current time but those are waves you'll want to be catching on the reg when you're intermediate and actually need to catch to get the reps for skills to become intermediate. That doesn't mean paddle into any wave you hope to someday ride at any point now, because falling off the back of the wave is far, far less consequential that eating it and going over the falls.

    Laird Hamilton is about as inhuman as Brock Lesnar but when he charges the world's tastiest, biggest and most dangerous waves he's accompanied by a jet ski partner to tow him in and rescue him if needed, plus another spotter on a jet ski that's outside the break in case the first responder (tow guy) gets in a dangerous spot. That's at a minimum. Why? Because even though it's Laird, the ocean is still the ocean and he's a drop in the bucket. That and if something happened to Laird surfing as we know it would cease to exist because SUP riding would spontaneously combust.

    If you're wondering why my previous post was encyclopedic in length, and that this one is no one-word answer either, please review the following facts:
    1) I have the propensity to write lengthy posts; less these days, but still do it.
    2) Writing it was my penance for the "8 to 10 episode".
    3) Reading it was the penance of certain forum members for the exponentially excessive reprimand they gave me.
    4) We are talking about safety and efficiency. You can never be too safe and efficient. If there are any inaccuracies with my statements, you'll be sure to see corrections from others and I'm glad for all of us that is the case.
  9. EmassSpicoli

    EmassSpicoli Well-Known Member

    Apr 16, 2013
    You edited a one sentence post? Brah, at least you're consulting the dictionary now and have turned on your spell check feature.

    FYI, I do spend a few hours in the water every day and that's why I'll be shredding long before you expect me to. By the time you read this, you'll have also seen (and read because you're a bored, creepy stalker) my other long addendum to my first post. And yes, I'll be spending an equal amount of time in the water at dawn patrol. Then planning to hit another good break somewhere for an evening sesh so I can justify more time on here during the day tomorrow exchanging various laughs, banter and pleasantries with my braddahs and putting you at the back of the dog sled with the rest of the betas.

    You're just looking for fights now. I'm trying to help a newer surfer be safe and safer than I was when I first began. I also opened the floor up for any necessary corrections to info I gave them in case of inaccuracy because we are talking safety here. If you've got a problem with any of that then you're a complete nuisance to the forum. Now go be a good, obedient little beta and submit your way out of this thread. Then, maybe I'll reward you with a compliment one of these days, like calling you Brah and meaning it in a good way.
  10. yankee

    yankee Well-Known Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    Dear Lawd, now he's an expert. Please oh please just let him PM the poor kid.
  11. EmassSpicoli

    EmassSpicoli Well-Known Member

    Apr 16, 2013
    Do experts tell the audience to feel free to correct their statements? Why you got to try and derail a productive thread that is talking basics and therefore keeping future novices from getting your panties in a bunch asking the same questions?

    You buoys are never happy. You better call that urologist and ask him if the hormone replacement therapy you were put on a while back is estrogen instead of testosterone. If you thought low T levels made you feel like crap about yourself, that will seem like a dream come true compared to elevated levels of E.
  12. meatloaf

    meatloaf Well-Known Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    you do not belong in the water PERIOD
  13. dlrouen

    dlrouen Well-Known Member

    Jun 6, 2012
    Listen man, I'm afraid of sharks. When I was younger, I would seriously have to force myself to paddle out on lonely dawn patrols. Once or twice, I even said "screw it" and just left the beach. Now, I have to just look back and laugh. Sharks are simply a part of surfing and they aren't going anywhere anytime soon. Equally so, there is always going to be the possibility that you get caught between sets. **** happens, dude. You just need to let go of this fear, beacuse there may come a day when you aren't able to surf and you're going to regret not paddling out.
  14. Bill Cosby's nephew

    Bill Cosby's nephew Well-Known Member

    Jun 21, 2013
    Terrific ab/core exercise as well
  15. rcarter

    rcarter Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2009
    Yep, same experience I had when younger. Don't let your mind get the better of you out there.
  16. aka pumpmaster

    aka pumpmaster Well-Known Member

    Apr 30, 2008
    ^^^this. if you can't do that then you probably should look for other activities.
  17. Bill Cosby's nephew

    Bill Cosby's nephew Well-Known Member

    Jun 21, 2013
    It still creeps me out to paddle out at dawn by myself. I still do it, but man it's a creepy feeling
  18. sisurfdogg

    sisurfdogg Well-Known Member

    Jun 17, 2013
    Here are a couple of drills you can do on flat days to help you grow your comfort level underwater and during hold downs.

    1. This one simulates duck diving an endless set: Swim 10 strokes above water, then five underwater. Start out with three or four reps, and expand it to eight to twelve reps. This will help you expand your lung capacity and endurance. Warm up first with a decent swim of a couple hundred yards or so first, to get your heart rate up a bit before you go full on, then after wards do a couple hundred yards or so medium to low intensity to cool down.

    2. Alternate breathe as you swim freestyle. Try skipping not one breath, but three, then try skipping five, then go for breathing every seventh stroke. See many cycles you can go. If you get dizzy, stop. Layne Beachley used to do this in Hawaii to train for big wave hold down.

    Once you get comfortable underwater, you can relax through a thorough ass kicking and two wave hold downs, and will be much more confident and a better waterman.
  19. Bill Cosby's nephew

    Bill Cosby's nephew Well-Known Member

    Jun 21, 2013
    Make sure that whatever you do, you avoid hyperventilating while training in the ocean. Hyperventilation is extremely dangerous because it reduces the urge to breathe. It kills alot of competitive swimmers and free divers.
  20. DawnPatrol321

    DawnPatrol321 Well-Known Member

    Mar 6, 2012
    Fear is one of if not the most motivating emotions you can experience. You can use it for good or you can let it cripple your decision making. I find it's healthy to have some fears but to use them to motivate you to action, not inaction. When you finally decide that you are going to paddle out every time no matter what, and then follow through with this decision, it'll all be a memory of the past that you were once in fear of sitting in the lineup and paddling around in the deep water w/larger sets breaking around and on top of you. People say "know your limits", this is true, you should know them, but not let them stop you from achieving new ones. Start with 3-4 foot days, get use to that for a while. When you are 100% confident in those waves, bump it up a notch, and so on and so forth, don't bite off more than you can chew. Just remember it's suppose to be fun, so if you aren't having fun out there, time to go in.