Originally Posted by BetterNot
I can side surf okay, but I need some tips to improve on. Like when ever I get suck back into a hole and before I can react, I'm already upside down! Also, when I do go over, is there anyway that you know which way to roll up before rolling up? And what are some basic tips for side surfing to prevent you from going over? Thanks!
It really is just a feel thing. You have to find your balance points and know how to manipulate them.
When I side surf, I generally weight my downriver butt check and lift on my upriver knee. I tell myself to put my downriver shoulder into the foam pile, but I don't necessarily do that. You need to learn a good, safe brace and rely on that when you need to. Beginners and hacks like me usually brace elbows down, paddle up (high brace) and sort of use the power face of the paddle to lean on and adjust. Smart and technically sound paddlers will low brace (elbows up, paddle down), even in a side surf.
Always look upriver.
When you get to the corner or edge of a hole, you have to figure out what way you want to spin to go back to side surfing the other direction. So you need to learn your rudder and/or power stroke. Remember to always keep your upstream edge up, especially when spinning.
As far as knowing up to roll immediately back up in a hole if you flip downstream... that just takes a lot of practice. Really. You kinda just push your paddle down to catch the current, but its more complicated than that. I find that it is almost inevitably the opposite of how you'd set up to do a normal roll, thereby screwing you over when you don't catch the current and then you botch your roll attempt.