Catching Your First Waves - Whitewater Waves
Catching and riding the whitewater is how we all learnt and it gives you a good feel for how your surfboard glides on the water. Experienced surfers still do this when they are going back to the shore.
Getting in Position to Catch a Wave
Grab your board, and head out into the water until it's just above your waist. Hopefully you'll still be where the whitewater is rolling in and not outside the breaker line.
Let some whitewater roll by, getting a feel for the rhythm and power of the waves.
Always keep your surfboard at your side with the nose pointing towards the oncoming waves. Never let your surfboard get between you and the waves, as the whitewater waves still have a lot of power and can flick your surfboard into your face before you know it!
Steps to Catching Whitewater Waves
Step 1: Wait for what looks like a pretty solid chunk of whitewater, and turn around, facing the shoreline. Face the shore and hold your board by the rails, at your side. As the wave comes jump/lay on your surfboard while pushing forward to give you some momentum.
If you don't push forward the wave will overtake you and many times will roll you off the surfboard.
Stay in control of the board! Smile and let the wave take you to the shore.
Remember to jump off before you hit the sand otherwise it may break the fins.
You will probably fall off the first few times as the wave hits you, but you'll get the hang of it after a few tries.
Step 2: The next step is to actually paddle the surfboard before the wave reaches you. Get on your board before the whitewater reaches you and start to paddle towards the shore. As the wave takes you and you feel yourself surge forward, stop paddling and grab the rails of the surfboard with your hands. Try and get a good feel for the surfboard gliding across the water.
Also try leaning from side to side directing the surfboard to where you want to go, this will help you to avoid obstacles in the water or other surfers and swimmers.
Step 3: Catch a whitewater wave the same as before, except this time as you feel the wave pushing you along, put your hands on the deck of the board and do a push-up and 'pop' your feet underneath you.
Do not grab the rails as this will put you off balance and slow down the surfboard. You could also slip making you do a face plant on your surfboard, good way to get a fat lip!
Immediately afterwards, take your hands off the surfboard and stand in a stable crouch.
It's right about at this point that you will begin to fall. Try not to land on anyone and anything, particularly your board. Try and fall backwards away from the surfboard, falling backwards also helps you to fall shallow so you don't hit the bottom.
Hey, you're surfing! Smile, and go do it again.
Read About How to fall off safely
Learning to stand up smoothly and correctly on a moving surfboard, takes practice and is not as easy as it looks. Always start by practicing this in the whitewater, trying this on unbroken waves, unless you are with someone experienced, can cause injuries and often a broken surfboard.
Naturally, most surf boarders do not surf in the whitewater. They like to turn and do maneuvers on the open wave face. You'll get out there too, once you can stand up in the whitewater reliably.
Starting out in the whitewater, helps you practice standing up on a fast-moving surfboard without having to worry about where the wave is breaking, other surfers, pearling/nose diving, going over the falls, or any other hazards.
It's how I learnt! And 99.99% of all surfers learnt this way too!!
Next >>> Surfing Stretches
Read about Reading Waves and Parts of a Wave