Feeling confident in the surf takes time, its not something that comes quickly for most and many, it has to be built up over time. Time spent both in and out of the water. For some, it may take months, maybe even years but dont give up. You will feel more confident in the surf, just be prepared for it to take a little time.

Now, lets talk about getting confident enough to paddle outback. If youre ready to get past the breaking waves and start surfing green waves then hopefully we can help you. Here are some of the ways to increase your confidence to enable you to paddle out the back. 

1. Get Surf Fit

Feeling fit for the surf will give you more confidence out in the water. Get down to your local pool, in the gym, on your yoga mat or at your favourite exercise class. For surf specific fitness why not try one of the many workouts over on SurfGirl Premium.

The stronger you feel in the water will give you more determination to paddle out back and get through those waves.

2. Surf at the right time

If its your first time attempting to paddling outback, then youre going to want to make sure you pick the right time to do it. Dont wait for a low dredging tide, with heavy dumping sets rolling through. Equally, a high tide might not work for you either, with the sets washing though you wont get much time to build up your paddles and ease yourself in. Mid-tide would be the best option; you should find it easiest to paddle out at this stage of time.

3. Small Days Win

Small days are your friend; they will give you a chance to practice getting under and over the waves. Make time to surf on the smaller days, to give yourself time to work on your paddle outs. Please dont see it as a step back; its more of a step forward, and more time for you to work on getting outback in smaller surf without you feeling too intimidated.

4. Try Swimming 

Swimming is a great exercise that mimics paddling out. Front crawl is the best technique to practice. If you are new to swimming then maybe join a swim club to help perfect your technique, but if you’re a competent swimmer then why not give a pyramid program a go:

Start with two lengths with a 30-second break, then four sets with a 30-second break. Continue this until you get to 6/8 lengths. The work back down the pyramid. Just go at your own pace, and if you cannot get until 8 lengths do not worry, this is something you can work towards over time. 

Swimming in the sea is also a great way of improving your paddling power and it’s free! Just make sure you know your limits and swim with a friend.

Handy hint: Why not try swim training with hand paddles to help boost the muscles used when paddling out and catching waves.

5. Do Yoga 

Believe it or not, yoga can help your paddling. Practising sun salutations every day and including a plank hold will help strengthen your core and upper body, which is essential when paddle fitness is concerned. Yoga is something that can be practised everywhere. 

6. Do Upper Body Exercises 

There are lots of ways you can improve your paddle power by combining both aerobic exercise and strength training. Developing strong shoulder muscles, a strong core and strong lower back muscles is key to stabilising your paddling technique. Incorporate weights or focus on using your bodyweight – whichever option you chose tailoring your workouts around your upper body will make you paddle harder.

Often women worry about focussing on their upper body when exercising, but when it comes to surfing, it’s an area that shouldn’t be overlooked. 

7. Get Some Tips from Surf Instructors

In this video surf instructor Allannah Brownchard gives some top tips on how to catch unbroken waves and how to deal with crowds and other surfers out in the line up to make you feel and surf with more confidence.