Relax hands

One of the tips from 110% Surfing Techniques Volume 3 was to relax your hands when you paddle, with slight gaps between fingers, something that experienced surfers do without really thinking about it. I noticed that beginner/intermediate surfers sometimes close their fingers really close together, and look super tense, hence the tip. I am not a swim coach, but it appears that is similar in swimming technique too, with having the fingers spread just enough to increase surface area of the paddle. Also I would say having a relaxed hand feels better, and leaves the rest of your body to do the paddle work.

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