Document Type

Journal Article


Multi-Science Publishing Co. Ltd.


Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science


School of Exercise and Health Sciences/Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research




This article was originally published as: Sheppard, J. M., Osborne, M., Chapman, D. W., Andrews, M., & McNamara, P. (2013). Technique adjustments influence the performance of sprint paddling in competitive male surfers. International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, 8(1), 43-52. Original article available here


The present study evaluated what are considered common and contentious differences in paddling technique within the surfing population, across the three distinct categories of: 1) Paddle Stroke length (Reach); 2) Torso Inclination (Chest Position); and 3) Arm Recovery. To assess the differences among paddling techniques, this study employed a within-subjects comparison of sprint paddling kinematic performance differences. Twenty competitive male surfers (19.1±6.8 years, 168.2±11.3 cm, 61.7±13.6 kg) performed 2 maximal trials each of Long vs. Short Reach, Chest Up vs. Down Position, and High vs. Low Arm Recovery during 15 m sprint paddle trials. The sprint paddle efforts were initiated from a stationary, prone lying position, using a horizontal position transducer attached to the rear waistline of each subjects' board-shorts such that kinematic data was obtained for 5 m, 10 m, and 15 m distances, and peak paddling velocity determined. There was no difference observed between Short and Long paddle strokes for any of the distance intervals, nor for peak paddling velocity (p>0.05). For chest position, the Down condition was found to be faster than the Chest Up position for all criterion variables (p=0.01-0.05), with moderate magnitude (d=0.25-0.43). The Low Arm Recovery resulted in superior performance compared to the High Arm Recovery (p=0.02-0.04), with low and moderate magnitudes (d=0.19-0.47). Sprint paddling is likely best conducted with the surfer's chest low to the board, without considerable extension through the back, and with a low arm recovery.