Catching Waves Before They
You'll never forget your first
This is probably one of the biggest
challenges for people learning to surf. Timing is everything!
I always tell our students to watch the waves, when you are
in the water and out. Imagine where you want to be on the
wave at the point when you are ready to stand. Get really
familiar with what a wave looks like during it's stages of
approaching the sand bank, building up and breaking.
The good thing about this is that surfing
is one of the only sports that you can look at your playing
field for hours and not get bored (someone famous said that,
I just can't remember who!)
The 3 important factors for catching
a green wave are timing, positioning on the wave, paddling
speed and practice. OK 4 factors, I was never really good
Positioning on the wave
Sit on the beach and look at a wave
as it is starting to break, notice the 3 areas of too steep,
gliding area and not steep enough (too fat or full), the gliding
area is where you want to be. Because waves move, the gliding
area does too, a split second too late and your beautiful
gliding area will become too steep, causing you to nose dive....
Lots of fun :)
Timing of Waves
Timing is making sure you are
not going too early or too late. Starting to paddle too early
can cause you to be out in front of the wave with 2 fun possibilities.
Being on the too steep part of the wave and nose diving, or
getting so far in front that the wave breaks on your back.
Too steep-nose diving
Paddling too late will cause
you to miss the wave, or nose dive, because you are not going
fast enough and the wave sucks you back up the face instead
of you gliding down the wave.
Too late-missing the wave
How fast you paddle is about getting
yourself gliding down the wave. When you feel yourself going
up the wave it is not the time to stand. It is the time to
give 2 or 3 more power paddle strokes to get you gliding down.
The best way to know if you are going fast enough is to lift
your chest off the board, if the surfboard starts gliding,
pop-up, if the surfboard slows down, you need to paddle more.
Being in the position of standing
on your board as the wave passes you by is very uncool and
should be avoided at all costs.
More things to Consider
Timing and paddling speed are difficult
to separate, as the consequences of poor timing, or poor paddling
speed are similar.
One consequence is nose diving. If
you are nose diving, when trying to take a wave, don't make
the common mistake of thinking you are to far up on your surfboard.
When people think this, they move back
on the board. By doing this you have now made it even more
difficult to catch a wave as now your body weight is at the
back of the surfboard, which is essentially like putting on
the brakes, making it even more difficult to get the speed
you need to be gliding
In fact we actually try and lay as
far up on the surfboard as possible, without nose diving.
Your fast paddling will help give some lift to the nose of
the board. We are trying to go down a wave, as we no longer
have whitewater pushing us forward.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Getting the concepts of positioning,
timing and speed takes practice and lots of it.
You will fall off a lot, nose dive and miss many waves, but
the more you practice the better you will get.
So what are you waiting for?
Get out there and start practicing!