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  #1  
Old 11-03-2012
cs10 cs10 is offline
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cs10
Default relationship of t.i. to surfboard paddling?

Which parts of the t.i. style apply to paddling a surfboard,in both long paddles and hard paddles to catch a wave?
There have been some superhuman paddlers through surf history,most noticably 1970's Aussie , Michael Peterson, a shy heroin addict later diagnosed wih paranoid schzitsophrenia who was part madman, part intuitive genious and who was described as paddling
" like a freight train" against a strong current in which others would battle to even stay in place. Most other top paddlers were Hawaiian watermen who spent most of there lives in the ocean, and had an intuitive feel for the water.
This suggests there is a lot more to it than the physcial and technique sides.

Some things I have found ;
You CAN get a glide out of a thin shortboard with a modified t.i."patient hand" ( your chest is just below water level on a short board)
Catching a wave that doesn't want to let you in is more about weight placement than power paddling, but every little bit of power helps.
An effecient rockerline on your board (= t.i. body streamlining) helps more than a bigger board does (= conventional get bigger and stronger and push /kick harder)
When paddling my 14'x6" thick paddleboard, which can glide forever, a"patient hand" kills the glide. I've been experimenting with resting my hand on the deck for a second before entering the water and I get a bit more high speed glide but it makes it a little harder to get into that hypnotic rhythm.
Feel for the water really helps. Anyone can develope this through mindful devotion to something like t.i .It's not a gift handed down from heaven to Phelps and a few select Hawaiian watermen.
Always remember that when you are in the water you are in a very special medium,particularly in the ocean.Water and salt combine in a very unique way to produce a primeaval soup remarkably sjmilar to what we are made of.Traditional Hawaiians thank the water as they enter and leave.
I think someone like Victor Shauberger would have loved to watch Terry and Shinji swim. V.S.was a Austrian naturist from the 30's who understood the ways of water and natural energy with it's cool, imploding power and it's natural wave and spiraling and figure 8 motions. He was harrassed by conventional scientists with their hot exploding, linear , one dimensional view of the world. You can see these spiraling, wave and figure 8 movements in t.i. performed at the Terry/ Shinji level,as much as you can in the movements of Nadia and Ali. Shinji is beautiful to watch because of his flow and flexibility, but there is more going on beneath the surface on an energy level in Terry's swimming. Conventional freestyle just doesn't have this, although at the Phelps level the sheer power can look very exciting.
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  #2  
Old 12-13-2012
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Hi cs10

I will start off by saying that I know nothing of surfing or surfboard paddling, although I like watching surfing and surfing videos of hardcore lunatics swooping down giant waves off Hawaii. As far as I know surfing hadn't reached Ireland when I was a boy, but I'm sure it has now. Here in Wales, where I have lived since 1963, apart from a visit to the USA in 1968-69, there is quite a keen surfing fraternity, although the waves here are rather puny compared with those monsters in the Pacific.

I think the essential Zen-like core of TI probably applies to nearly everything you can imagine, but so far as I know the only person who has compared swimming and paddling a surf board is a lady who, I believe, is a sort of opponent of TI - probably because she doesn't really understand it - so I will not mention her name here.

Imagining swimming while riding an imaginary surf board might be a good idea, but would surely tend to encouraging a rather flat body position, unless of course one could imagine a board that rolled with the body, which I imagine is not a physical impossibility.

Duke Kahanamoku was, I think, the most famous swimmer and surfer to come out of Hawaii.
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  #3  
Old 12-13-2012
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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I understand exactly where you are coming from, especially with regards to killing the glide. I was involved with a kayak racing squad as a coach for kids when I started medical school. Contrary to what people think of as a "kayak stroke", elite kayakers and rowers do display a pause in which there is glide and some gentle deceleration, because they know that simply putting hte paddle in to create the next stroke can slow the boat down.

There is a very delicate 'feel for teh water' even for a kayaker. This seems so clear to me when I watch elite rowing or kayaking as well as swimming.

Beginnig the stroke as soon as possible is counterproductive until the forward propulsion compensates for the increased drag in an energy efficient way. Too much muscle will compensate for a short time but cause fatigue quickly.

Thanks for sharing.
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  #4  
Old 12-18-2012
cs10 cs10 is offline
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Default Thanks for your advice Richard and Suzanne

Thanks for your advice Richard and Suzanne.
Glide is an interesting phenomena, Suzanne. It comes for "free" from the effort you've put out so you may as well take it. The problem is that rate of glide decreases exponentially so I guess we have to tread the fine line of using it but not getting to the point where we lose so much momentum our next stroke takes more effort. This can be different every stroke in heavy surf conditions on a surfboard or heavy open water on a paddleboard.The only exception to this seems to be Shinji ; he seems to accelerate in the early part of his glide.I am sure if a Physics expert experienced in hydrodynamics analysed his stroke he would declare it impossble for so little effort !
Swimming in open water is perhaps the most pure, intimate human interaction with water but anything you do in the water improves your feel for it. You are still holding the water with your hand or paddle and moving a vessel over it.I have a range of surfboards and standup paddleboards , a surfski and a prone paddleboard and love using them all. You can see some interesting open ocean paddling if you google "The Jamie Mitchell experience"and"Molokai to Oahu paddleboard race".



Richard, I've always had a "Kaizen " approach to a lot of things I've done even though i'd never heard the word till I happened on TI a year ago. Can't vaguely remember how or why I started, I guess I was never competitive or too impressed with advanced fancy tricks but was fascinated by going deeper and deeper into the basic things.
When paddling I try to stay relaxed and use momentum and use my tendons with a bit of help from my muscles rather than a big muscular effort, and I spread any effort over my whole back rather than the smaller shoulder muscles. You can learn a lot about movement by watching animals.
TI just reinforced what I've always felt ; that ordinary people like us and Shinji and Terry can learn to do, with conscious training, what extraordinary people like Nadia C. and Mahommad Ali did naturally. "Conscious training is the removal of anything that isn't our inner athlete"
I agree that the big wave tow-in surfers are a special breed. Still way ahead of the pack is Laird Hamilton , now late 40's and getting better than ever. When people tell him he must have no fear he tells them that that is saying he is a fool, and on the beyond dangerous life and death wave he rode in Tahiti in 2000, his mind was playing every single trick in the book to make him lose faith in his ability to make it.
One Australian, (without any dangerous hyperventilation practices) has trained himself to be able to exhale fully then sit on the pool bottom holding a weight for 90 seconds then swim underwater 50 meters(with a minder wearing flippers.)
The most interesting from a TI philosophy point of view is Dave Kalama,( now Lairds tow in partner ),born in a traditional Hawaiian family then moving to America and skiing and windsurfing and not really surfing till his late 20's.On finishing a 6 man outrigger canoe race with his brothers which his dad talked him into much against his will, he said that what he was most afraid of turned out to be the best experience of his life and he thought " wow... what if everything is like that".
Duke Kahanamoku deserves the title of Hawaii's greatest surfer and swimmer and incredible human being. He won Olympic gold medals and broke world records without a coach or trainer , using a style he invented himself. After much searching I just got an out of print book about him.About a month before he died Duke visited a friend and played with his 4 y/o son. His friend said "For the next two hours, Duke sat fascinated,absorbed with my son in the mechanical wonder of the train....They played,laughed and communicated...Watching the two,the beautiful simplicity of the man shone - as always - like a beacon....In this day of pseudo sophistication, this unaffected quality was a joy to behold........ It was honest.It was true It was majestic It was Ali'i".
Surfer George Dowing described Dukes swimming and surfing best...."He loved the ocean.The guy was like a fish.He was a big man but when you'd see him jump in the water there was no splash. he would just slip right in.
He caressed the wave.The wave was something that he treated tenderly,....like handling a woman.When you saw him dive in everything was sleek blending with the water.When he rode a wave it was the same way.He seemed to seek out the energy of the wave and not do anything more than just be part of it.
The ocean was special to him.That's why he moved so fast in it.He understood what made you move better ; he flowed with it.This is why as as a canoe steersman he could feel how the canoe was moving,what angle you had to put it to move fastest.It's a gift, a gift that was part of the family.All his brothers were capable of this."
In our times Ian Thorpe (Though not the all round waterman Duke was) has a similar feel of the water.I heard an interview where he said he could feel what he was doing wrong by the feel of the water against his skin. He could feel by the wake from a swimmer in the next lane, going the opposite way,if the swimmer was doing something wrong and what it was.
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  #5  
Old 12-18-2012
CoachToddE CoachToddE is offline
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[quote=cs10;32112]Which parts of the t.i. style apply to paddling a surfboard,in both long paddles and hard paddles to catch a wave?
There have been some superhuman paddlers through surf history,most noticably 1970's Aussie , Michael Peterson, a shy heroin addict later diagnosed wih paranoid schzitsophrenia who was part madman, part intuitive genious and who was described as paddling
" like a freight train" against a strong current in which others would battle to even stay in place. Most other top paddlers were Hawaiian watermen who spent most of there lives in the ocean, and had an intuitive feel for the water.
This suggests there is a lot more to it than the physcial and technique sides.

cs10,

Really liked your post on surfing paddling, TI stroke and the ocean relationship.

The TI stroke and surf paddling have a lot in common in my opinion. Years ago when I was coaching HS in San Antonio our head club coach experimented one LC season with having the sprint group use surf boards for 50 M LC sprints. When I was in Honolulu 2 years ago and had my first surf lesson from Dane Kealoha in 56 years I found the paddling sympatico with TI. First, I found the recovery phase is identical to the elbow led recovery as you are flat on the board and have little roll and the only way you can get your arms to to the entry position is to swing the elbows out. I found this very similar to head up freestyle or what some coaches call the tarzan drill. The second thing that struck me was the two different types of stroking you needed to surf. The long stroke for paddling out to the waves and the quick short stroke for catching waves (which I was not very good at catching waves--extremely harder than it looks, along with trying to stay balanced on the board). The hand entry on the board puts you in the mail slot and then it is whether you are using quick strokes (similar to sprinting) or the long stroke with the short glide phase. I truly enjoyed my surfing time short as it was. I also, like you stated, enjoy tuning into the oceans power trying to feel the ebb, flow and energy of the water and tuning my stroke to match. I am looking forward to my next trip to Oahu right after Christmas to get in tune with the ocean again.
Thanks again for an enlightening post.

Coach Todd
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  #6  
Old 12-23-2012
cs10 cs10 is offline
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Thanks Todd,
It's quite ironic that the ideas I'm getting here from people who surf very little or not at all are better than what you get from the surfing media.
The paradox of surfing is that while most of your time is spent paddling out , paddling to catch a wave and paddling to stay in place against currents, and very little actually spent riding the waves, most surfers hardly think about paddling and most don't do it well. The multi billion dollar surf industry who are a major influence on youth even in inland cities and countries without an ocean,are hardly likely to show images of someone battling against a strong drift.
Because you are on a flat surface you need a bit more upper back and shoulder flexibility than in swimming to do a nice recovery. Tight people tend to do recovery with their arms low and wide , creating more up and down rather than forward motion. Most older surfers who still perform at a very high level tend to be into things like yoga as well.
Learning to surf is definitly very hard. The action of riding the wave is very similar to skateboarding, snowboarding ect. but you are on an uncooperative ever changing surface.
Just like TI,( where beginners instinctively want to pull rather than keep a patient hand ) there are counterintuitive actions to catching a wave but exaggerated because of survival instinct. ( More like driving too fast around a sharp, slippery corner and wanting to slam on the breaks ) Most learners who have trouble catching waves are trying to get to their feet before they have properly caught the wave and then they want to lean back away from the drop. If you do two more good hard paddles than what you think you need and lean forward you will keep a lot more momentum and it will be easier and safer.
Good luck in Hawaii.
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  #7  
Old 01-01-2013
fire50 fire50 is offline
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One thing which I like most from above article that is "Feel for the water really helps. Anyone can develope this through mindful devotion to something like t.i .It's not a gift handed down from heaven to Phelps and a few select Hawaiian watermen."


gold coast surfboard rent

Last edited by fire50 : 01-05-2013 at 12:27 PM.
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