June 28, 2020

Learning To Barrel Ride

Coach Thumbnail

Zane Schweitzer


Learning To Barrel Ride Image

Learning To Barrel Ride

It Starts With Our Eyes

As with most things in water sports learning to improve our barrel riding must start by focusing on where our eyes are.

In this video you will see that as the wave starts to form Zane’s eyes are focused down the line. By focusing down the line so early on Zane can start predicting how fast the wave is going to run or predict the time of the section.

To perfect the barrel ride we really need to find the sweet spot in the wave. We don’t want to end up to deep in the wave or end up with just our leash in the barrel. To find that perfect spot we need to ensure our eyes are up and looking down the line early.

Step 1: Paddling In

As we get set and start taking off we want to make sure we are padlding in with a good amount of speed. If you are still trying to build speed as the wave forms it is too late, get that momentum going so that you have the speed as you drop in.

Step 2: Dialing In Our Position

As we drop into the wave we need to immediately start to find the position we want to be in to set our selves up for the barrel.

In the video above we see Zane being patient and waiting on the wave. It’s easy to try and rush things as we drop in and that will cause us to miss out on the barrel. As you drop in, take a breathe, and remember to stay patient.

We see Zane bottom turning at the bottom of the wave just waiting on the wave to stand up so he can be setup for that barrel.

Step 3: Positioning As The Wave Stands Up

We can see in the video above that as the wave starts to stand up but before it is actually creating a barrel Zane is starting to make subtle changes to get ready. It is thanks to his vision being up and looking down the wave that he can be proactive in his movement and not react purely off what is happening on the wave directly where he is.

We will always be too late in our movements if our eyes are not far enough ahead.

Here we see Zane do two things:

1) Shift his back foot forward

2) Use the paddle for balance

As Zane get’s ready for the barrel he wants to lean in towards the wave. He is using his paddle to help him balance as he starts leaning forward.

But, the paddle does more than just help him balance. It also helps him stay locked in and perfect the final step of learning to barrel ride.

Step 4: Positioning & Eyes In The Barrel

As the barrel starts to form we want to crouch down so that the lip of the wave does not hit us in the head.

Once the lip starts to go behind you it is all about focusing where on the wave we are positioned, we really need to find the sweet spot.

We don’t wan to end up too high up on the wave to where the lip is going to hit us in the head, but we also can’t end up too low to where the lip is hitting the board or hitting us in the back.

Once we are riding in the barrel the most important thing is our eyes. We want to keep our eyes pointed out towards the top corner of the barrel.

Coach Thumbnail

Enjoying Zane Schweitzer's post?

Take your game to the next level by working 1:1 with them.

About the coach

Blayze Coach Zane Schweitzer

Zane Schweitzer

Stand Up Paddle World Champion, Won 15 World Championship Events


View Profile
Be My Coach