Friday, August 23, 2013

Corky Carroll: Revamped PaddleAir Improves Ergonomics

Here is a column from the Orange County Register and the "Surf's Up" column by surf legend Corky Carroll, published on August 21, 2013.
I thought I would give you a little update on a couple of new things in the local surf world.

Corky Carroll in an Ergo
First off there is a new version of the very successful "PaddleAir" inflatable surfing vest that came out some years ago. The inventor, Dave Hilts, along with longtime Orange County surfing legend Herb Torrens, of Newport Beach fame, has taken his product one step further with the current release of the new "Ergo" PaddleAir.

The basic concept of this product is that it is a rashguard or thin wetsuit vest that incorporates a bladder in the chest area that is inflatable through the use of a small tube that you can blow air into. A small amount of air gives you a nice little cushion that helps protect your rib area as well as takes the arch out of your lower back while paddling, thus relieving a lot of the stress on your back from paddling. It works real well for that.

Herb emailed me a few weeks ago to give me a heads up on the new design and I immediately send off a request to Dave to fill me in on the details. The following is what he just sent to me via email:

"Ergo is the next generation of the proven PaddleAir paddling-enhancement technology. It is ergonomically designed to conform to the body, enhance the optimum paddling position, and reduce repetitive stress injury (RSI) resulting from the rigors of paddling.

In an age where more surfers have a lifetime commitment to the sport, many first-generation lifelong surfers have discovered that the everyday stress of paddling can take a toll on the body. Lower back pain, chest and rib-cage anomalies, and stress to the shoulder joints are just a few of the effects of strenuous paddling.

Our first generation of PaddleAir addressed many of those challenges by providing a soft, comfortable air bladder for the chest area. The first generation of lifelong, dedicated, surfers – mostly longboarders, now in their 40s, 50s and 60s – found that PaddleAir gave them an edge in the everyday rigors of paddling, and it let them paddle stronger and surf longer.

Today, the second generation of PaddleAir is set to help the second generation of lifelong dedicated surfers achieve the same results (on their shorter boards) with a new ergonomically-centric design built for higher performance. It's a product longboarders will love and shortboarders will find gives them a competitive paddling edge.

Ergo addresses the science of human movement with a streamlined, compact, design that combines the functionality of the original PaddleAir with a low-profile look-and-feel that is style conscious and highly functional.

Ergo utilizes the patented PaddleAir technology that deploys an adjustable, inflatable-bladder to protect the chest and ribcage areas. It disperses the energy used for arching the back in the paddling position, and applies it to the paddle strokes. The results are less pain, stronger paddling position, and ultimately longer surfing sessions and more waves!"

Well, I for one like longer sessions and more waves.

In other local surf news, renowned Hawaiian surf photographer Clark Little has just opened a gallery in Laguna Beach to show and sell his amazing photo art. Clark came to fame from a series of amazing wave photos that circulated on the internet a year or so ago.

He also has a photo coffee table book on the market that is beautiful. It is one of my favorite photo books and I have it on my coffee table along with "Surf Story," which is a collection of surf art and stories from the top surf artists and story tellers.

The new gallery is definitely worth a check out on your next cruise through Laguna Beach. Here's the address: 550 S. Coast Highway, Unit 4.

Also wanted to slip in an update on my "fix my old body" project that began last January with the help of my friends at the Synergy Center in Costa Mesa.

This started out because my back was hurting so badly all the time that I could hardly get to my feet when taking off on a wave anymore without agony and almost passing out. They started me with some stretches and then after about six weeks they sent Dr J, the in-house chirosurfdue, out to spend a week surfing with me and planning the rebirth of my back and body.

He put me on a diet, not easy but doable, and gave me a few fairly pain-free daily stretches. Four months into the program I am 25 pounds lighter, have way less pain and am surfing semi ok, at least for a geezer. I just got a new board that has less volume and gives me more freedom to push what are left of my limits.

In short, I feel a heck of a lot better all the way around. Twenty five more and I will be a burning hunk of surf love once again. So, thanks again to the Synergy crew for that.

The full column is available on the OC Register website.

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