Knee paddling pros and cons? Ouch?


New Member
Apr 5, 2021
Los Angeles
Hey troops,

I just experienced a potential mid life crisis moment and randomly bought a log off of the rack yesterday. I very rarely buy boards off of the rack and certainly have never bought a log. I've been riding shorter type boards for a long time - but I did learn on a log about twenty years ago. I don't know what happened but I just got sentimental or something... I pulled it down and just fell in love with its crazy weight and rails and subtle concave and rocker... It's like a canoe or something.

Anyhow, I've been on mainly my fish the past couple of years but also various egg and bonzer shapes. I'm sure I'll suck on this log until I get enough waves... and then I'll suck until I learn how to nose ride etc. But I think I know how to figure it all out. That is, except, paddling. Sure I can lay frontwards and paddle the way I do my shorter boards but what fun is that while on a log?

Been thinking about full on geeking out and trying to knee paddle it. But I can't seem to find too much info on pros and cons nor any real tutorial on it haha. I'm sure I could try and figure it out but I don't want to develop any bad habits I'd need to break later ya know? Does it hurt? Does it help you see the oncoming sets better? Do the chicks dig it? Thx for any tips or info! Youtube sucks for knee paddling info.


Active Member
Jul 17, 2012
USA California
Pro's: Stay warmer when the water is cooler, uses different muscles when you're tired, helps alleviate lower back pressure from prone paddling

Con's: Hard on your knees, hard on your deck

I knee paddle whenever possible because I have herniated L4-L5 and L5-S1 and find that it is much easier on my back.


Jul 21, 2019
I ride logs, a lot. But, the only reason I do is because the surf sucks so often. I use a log as a tool to keep my paddling ability in shape for when there is actual surf, so knee paddling defeats the purpose. Different motions, different muscles, different altogether. But, who the hell knows.


Nov 10, 2020
oceanside ca
i mostly ride logs. I probably knee paddle 20% of the time, usually when i start getting tired as it does seem to engage different muscles.

As far as technique there is for sure a sweet spot on your board where the balance and glide is best. Also practice when the swell is small and clean, in my experience its for sure a bit of a learning curve as far as balance. I never do it when the winds are up or if the swell is to the point that requires a turtle roll on the way out.

I also spread my knees out to below my hips. It seems to be easier on my knees and improves balance.

I see some loggers knees together, butt sitting on their calfs. I dont know if this is the "correct" technique, but its usually these people who seem to do it best, but they are also looking like they are in their mid twenties.

Me in my mid forties my knees cant stay in the position comfortably for very long.

I will say just practice and see whats comfortable and works.

Also i really try to paddle deep with my hands angled under my board. I find this gives me the most speed / power.


Well-Known Member
Feb 22, 2004
Santa Cruz
Easier on the shoulders, harder on the knees. Some wetsuits have denser knee pads, which seems to help. Hotline has more cushioning than O'Neill.


Active Member
Jan 31, 2019
El Segundo
Not sure why knee paddling is geeky, and certainly not sure why logging is an old man thing... NRs are so challenging. But ya, if you drop knee like Tyler and perch your brains out and say logging is for old man, I'll shut my mouth :p


Active Member
Dec 18, 2020
Necarney City
It takes a longer or thicker board to get that glide when on your knees. I recently obtained a 10' by 3 3/8" thick for knee paddling. Finding the center of balance/trim spot isn't difficult, and it's very helpful. You can apply a pad to save your knees, either full deck versions of shortboard tail pads, or from a roll at an SUP supplier. You can paddle with toes stretched back or curled under. You can switch off as needed when tired, or want to see further out the back, etc. It's a bit easier to pop-up from your knees if your pop-ups are becoming creaky (like mine are). You can really dig hard to catch a wave before it stands up, but critical take-offs are best done prone, I've found. And the old favorite of standing up as you top a wave while paddling out really impresses the Bettys.


Well-Known Member
Mar 20, 2012
USA New Jersey
Not enough longboarders knee paddle. The benefits are listed including seeing sets approaching when paddling back out. When you are learning DO NOT give up. Keep practicing even though it’s tippy and you’re falling off. Keep knees wide for weight distribution. Once you get more confident you will be more relaxed and your center of gravity will be lower. Then you’re over the learning curve and it will be fun not embarrassing.


New Member
Apr 5, 2021
Los Angeles
Thanks everyone. This is super helpful. So it sounds like knee paddling is mainly for smaller waves? If it’s large enough to need to “turtle roll” (whatever that crazy thing is) you should stay prone etc.... But, yeah, it kind of feels like if the waves are head high I'd probably take my fish out? Or is head high and over, somehow, super fun on a longboard? Maybe my mind is about to be blown....

Also that's cool info about some wetties having more padding on the knees for knee paddling. That seems like it would help.

What board length would you think would be too small to knee paddle? Or is it more about width and girth than length...