Pushing Your Center of Gravity Forward for Bumps


Catching and riding bumps calls for a slightly different finish to the paddle stroke.  While you can muscle your way into the bump its much easier to catch bumps if you incorporate unweighting and pushing the knees and hips forward towards the end of the stroke.  Take a look at the sequence of photos above.  In the first one you can see the picture perfect form of one of our well coached first time paddlers.  At the start of the stroke shoulders are stacked with  good forward reach, the body is twisted with chest facing towards the opposite side of the paddle stoke and after setting the blade shes ready to unwind at full power.  This is great in flat water but if you place that stance perched on a bump, having your butt behind the crest of the bump will make it difficult to push the board into the bump.  As you finish the stroke it helps to stand back upright and unweight slightly as the second photo shows and then bring the hips forward and drive the board into the bump with your knees.  This simple body movement can get you in the bump without paddling and keep you in trim on the board to stay with the bump.  This is the whole secret to going fast downwind.  Paddlers who have this wired look like they are hardly paddling and always surfing vs paddlers who stays in a bent forward mode and needs to constantly paddle to keep moving.  The timing of this movement works best if used at just the right time at the end of the stroke so the propulsion of the stroke is used to thrust the knees and hips forward.  If the bumps are close together and steep you may not even have time to get in the position in the first photo and its better to stay in the upright position and take a couple of short hard strokes only using the twist withoug the full bent forward reach.  The trick is to play around with all of these ideas and match them to the conditions.  That is the art of bump riding and you need to put in the time to master it.

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