4 Ways to Stop Pearling in Surfing


When I teach new students in Oceanside Surf Lessons, one of the cautions is the CatchingRlWaves2causes of pearling the surf board (nose into the water). I tell them they will experience it. There are the techniques to avoid it as most experienced surfers do.

First is to be back far enough on the board. I see the new students hop on the board and they are hugging the nose with their feet a foot off the tail. Even kids have to keep their feet to the back. I teach tall people to get on the 8′ board with their feet over the tail and then put their feet on the board. If you still pearl, you might have to slide back so your feet extend beyond the tail.

Second is holding the head and chest up as you paddle. This puts pressure on the butt and weights the middle of the board instead of the front. It is important at the beginning to try not to hug the front of the board with your chest on it which pressures the nose.

Thirdly is paddling fast enough when the wave arrives. If you begin by catching foam waves, most students wait for the wave to hit them before they start paddling and then try to pop up immediately. The proper way is to paddle slowly as the wave approaches, paddle hard when it is close, and continue paddling hard until the board has accelerated in front of the wave.

Fourthly, once you start catching real waves, taking an angle is the best way to avoid pearling. You paddle out in front of where the wave is breaking, right or left, close to the lip but aiming at the pocket. When it is close you paddle hard and even kick. The steeper or later you wait for a wave, the less paddling you have to do. If you are in front of the wave, the pop up is much easier.


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