A group of surfers sitting on their boards

When learning how to surf, it's important to know how to paddle out back. This helpful technique will help you to catch your waves. When paddling out past the break, you will need to use a few techniques to get you out into the water; we will be exploring some of these in this article.

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A man paddling on his surfboard

What does Paddle Out Back Mean?

Paddling out back is a term sometimes used to refer to paddling through waves to pass the break. This technique is different from "pushing through" as you will be paddling on your board instead of walking with it next to you.

What is Pushing Through?

Pushing through is often referred to as "punching through". This technique is similar to paddling out and is often easier for beginners to grasp.

Pushing through is when you walk out into the water that is about chest height. You will need to hold the surfboard by the nose at your side and keep it perpendicular to the waves so that they can easily pass under.

How Do You Paddle on a Break?

Paddling on a break requires speed and control; luckily, these go hand in hand. The harder you paddle, the more control you will have.

  1. Lay on your surfboard and paddle out.
  2. When you start to approach white water, keep paddling toward it.
  3. Keep your board perpendicular to the wave.
  4. Use speed to maintain control when pushing through the wave.
  5. At 6ft from the wave, grab the rails and push against the board, lifting your chest and bringing yourself onto your toes. This will enable the wave to pass between you and the board.
  6. When the wave is about to hit, maintain a tight grip on your board.

A child paddling on her surfboard

Common Paddle Out Back Mistakes

Here are some common mistakes you'll want to avoid when paddling out past the break.

Not Paddling Hard Enough

Often, the most common mistake is not using enough force to push your way through the wave. Additional speed allows you to use momentum to push through the wave; without it, you'll most likely be knocked off the board.

Not Staying Perpendicular

If your board has a slight angle to it when you're trying to punch through, the white water will push back and probably flip you off your board as soon as it hits.

Pushing Through Big Waves

If there's a big wave approaching, the best approach is to use a "turtle roll". Large waves are too powerful to push through with longboards, which are likely to get flipped back by the wave.

We hope this article helps you to paddle out past the break and catch those waves!

Here at Wetsuit Centre, we love everything about surfing, which is why we write a dedicated blog about surfing, surfers and methods. If you're ever in need of more advice, check out our blog or contact a member of our team.

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