Seeing a top freestyle paddler pull off an extreme flip may leave you saying “I want to do that.” If you have limited paddling experience the wave may seem too steep to know where to start. Freestyle paddling is actually very accessible and there are communities of enthusiasts throughout the country. The best way to find a group of enthusiasts is through a whitewater club.
Learning any type of whitewater paddling starts out on flatwater generally in a plastic playboat. This can take place in a pool or on a lake as the new paddler learns the basic skills of wet exits, rolls, paddle strokes, edging and controlling the boat.
Freestyle paddlers usually start out playboating on river runs or at a particular standing wave. Most river runs have a few key surfing areas where paddlers tend to stop and play for a while. Aspiring freestyle paddlers tend to stop even longer than usual. They master the art of surfing waves and holes and then take it to the next level by starting to incorporate a few tricks into the mix. With experience they make their way up to surf even bigger waves and expand their repertoire of tricks.
Most freestyle paddlers work on their tricks on flatwater in the pool as well as on the whitewater. At the competitive level, athletes work with coaches and learn to link moves to put together an impressive routine for competition.
To launch your freestyle fantasies simply find a whitewater club, take up play boating, meet some freestyle enthusiasts and master your surfing moves.