Do paddling gloves work?
Obviously. Increased surface area = more forward propulsion. Not a hard concept. It felt weird to paddle with a wide-open hand versus a cupped hand, but I managed. As a scrawny 120lb bitch of a surfer, I don’t mind the extra boost while paddling. The one aspect that surprised me the most were the brakes on these bad boys. Holy heck, talk about burning speed. Whole different ball game when the webs come into play.
But if they work, why are they so uncommon in lineups today?
Because they’re dorky. The best part about owning paddling gloves is the enhanced grip while driving your lifted golf cart to the beach. Surfing’s bully culture declared war with convenience and luxury many moons ago, and paddling gloves were voted out. The neoprene hand holsters are an international symbol for saying “I’m new here, I can’t paddle well, please burn me.” Luckily, I was able to avoid any heckling during my test runs in North Florida’s world-class beach break.
So they’re for kooks. Any exceptions?
Sure. Chippa, Craig, and the rest of the Drag lads wear speed mittens from time to time, but they’re world-class surfers. They wear them because it’s ironic. Or is it satire? Who cares, all I know is they don’t actually need any assistance speeding up or slowing down.
Ozzie Wright flaunted a pair of webs a few years back while shooting for Stab’s “Dual Dreams in the Desert” video. When a guy with that much talent and volatility is surfing, you don’t really question what he’s wearing. Unless it’s a tinfoil hat. In that case, it would be best to drop our alien seeking uncle Ozzy off at the psych ward.
Paddling gloves ain’t as bad as the hardo power sarfers make them seem. Should you depend on them? Probably not. Should you keep a pair on standby? Most definitely. They provide a fun little twist for when surfing gets boring. And if some macho 40-year-old with barbwire tattoos decides to give you shit, just politely ask him to bend over and cough.
Video by The Intern + @sikwanders