How To Stand Up Paddle Surf 101 - Bend the knees!
Super bent knees - photo by CoreyB
Bend the knees!
"But I do bend my knees!!"
I thought so to. In my minds eye, my bum was almost touching my heels because I was bent so low. Then one day, somebody had a camera, and happened to take a few snaps. Turns out there are power poles with more bend in them than my legs had, that day.
Could this be you as well? It's easy to check. Either grab a mirror, or a trusted friend (or pay the price of some ribbing) and assume the position you take on your board and get feedback on what's actually happening.
If you're new, you maybe surprised, like I was, at the difference between reality & minds eye. If this is you, your surfing happiness is just about to explode as your techinique improves 100 fold.
The great thing about having this 'blinding flash of the obvious' is it opens you up to how, just maybe, the rest of your body may not be doing what you think it is as well.
The easy way to fix these things is to take them to extreme. When I first learnt this when windsurfing, you need bendy knees to absorb chop when you're doing a carve gybe in rough waters. Straight legs means that the board has no 'give', and soon enough it bounces out of the water, and you're off.
Bent knees came across easily now that I SUP, but so often, I still see Stand Up Paddle Surfers taking off on waves with straight legs.
Bent knees give you lots of benefits:
* Lower centre of gravity, meaning better balance and faster change of direction
* Ability to absorb rough sections (we don't all get glassy walls, all the time!)
* Power on tap to drive though the knees when pressing on the rail of the board
* Looks really cool
Especially the last point. Apart from the human biomechanic benefits of bent knees, you'll avoid looking like a complete dork when you catch a wave. Bent knees leads to bent pelvis leads to ... pretty soon you're in the classic surfer position.
Next time you're out, take it to the rediculous, and really bend down. I've always found that by taking things to extreme, the point you want to be at is now really comfortable, rather than at the edge of your comfort zone.
Squat right down, crouch like a coiled animal - get the vibe on how it feels, notice how your balance changes, and spend a session experiementing with your newfound "ready for action" stance!!
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