downwind philosophy

Downwind Paddling and Life Lessons

There have certainly been many metaphors drawn between life and surfing waves.   I know that I won’t be the first to philosophize in this area,  but the more I think about it, I can’t help exploring some of the unique surfski specific attributes of surfing and how they can be applied to life.  As with so many things surfski related, the surfski provides an opportunity to take things to the next level.

As you may have noticed,  the tag line for TC Surfski is Be Present, Be Challenged, and Be Unique.    This is something we truly do believe in at TC Surfski.    If you allow it to be, paddling a surfski can become more than just a great workout and adrenaline rush.   Downwind paddling certainly demands presence and provides continuous challenges.   Flat water paddling may not demand presence,  but the more present you are and conscious of each and every movement, the better your technique will become allowing you to be very successful in whatever paddling discipline you ultimately pursue.

The specific theme for downwind paddling that has been running through my head with parallels to life is the concept that speed leads to more speed and the key is to consistently seize the opportunities in front of you.  When Dawid Mocke did his downwind clinic in Chicago he expanded on this concept explaining that small waves (or runners to use the surfski lingo) lead to big waves.   The technical explanation being that the big waves are simply moving to fast and you can’t paddle onto them via sheer power.   Rather, you need to use the small wind generated waves and link several together to build up your speed to a point where you are positioned to catch the bigger swell when it comes along.  Below is a matrix I created to outline some key themes of downwind paddling and parallels to life:


In downwind surfski paddling, following all the themes outlined above will ultimately lead to the  highest speeds and when those are achieved you will notice the entire landscape of the water looks different;  what once looked like a mess of chop will begin to look like a field of opportunities.