I ran into Mike, an old friend from high school, at this year's local Turkey Trot 10K. Mike told me he had been reading my blog and that one specific entry was particularly useful. I asked him to share his story along with some of his absolutely beautiful photos of Surf City, USA. Thanks, Mike.
"I came across your blog and wanted to thank you for the great swimming advice. I am not a triathlete. I don’t run marathons, my bike is a single-speed cruiser, and I don’t swim.
However, I do use your advice about “early vertical forearm” three days a week when I am surfing.
I live in Santa Cruz, California (the real Surf City, USA.) I moved here from the desert heat of Mesa, Arizona 13 years ago. But, I only started surfing four years ago. I attended a free surf lesson from my daughter’s junior-high school teacher. And, I absolutely fell in love with surfing on that first day.
I now surf three or four days a week at dawn.
When I started improving, I asked around for tips on the best way to paddle. After all, surfing is 90 percent paddling and only 10 percent actually standing on your board. The majority of people I asked suggested the “s-stroke.” I assume all swimmers know this technique. This is where you push your hand away from your head, pull towards your ribs and then push away from your hips to make the letter “S.” I have been using this technique for the past three years. And, while it does split the load among different muscles, it may not be the most efficient stroke.
After reading your blog about the “early vertical forearm,” I have worked on changing my stroke. I am trying to focus on good form, and pulling. I have already noticed that it feels more powerful. And, while I am still new at this, I already feel like this stroke gives me a little more power, especially while paddling into a wave. When you are in your mid-forties, battling kids half your age for a wave, every tip helps."
Thanks for the kind words, Mike! Here's how I remember you best. Westwood High School 1984....