Beginner Surfers Wave Catching Secret


When I am teaching Oceanside Surf Lessons to new students, they often say surfing is more difficult than they expected. Surfing is really pretty easy if you follow the basic fundamentals. The funny thing is, most people’s Take offinstincts are wrong.

When I watch beginners who have rented boards, the first mistake they make is waiting for the foam wave to hit them and then they try to stand up. Paddling doesn’t seem to enter the picture. I tell my students to paddle as the first count in a four count process to popping up on the board.

Even my students will begin by letting the wave hit them before they start moving. The faster you are going when the wave hits, the easier it is to do a pop up and ride. You want to be moving before the foam wave arrives, paddle hard when it is close, and keep paddling until the board accelerates in front of the wave.

When I am riding real waves with my friends, I am getting in front of the wave where it is beginning to arc and release all the energy in becoming unstable. That is why it breaks. The circular motion of the energy hits the bottom, becomes unstable, and releases the energy by breaking.

A short board usually has to wait longer than a high volume soft top or long board to get in motion. I still see my friends not get far enough in front of the wave to get the necessary board propelling power. I wait late on a soft top and when the wave is close start paddling hard and fast as well as kicking. It only takes about four strokes because I am in the power of the arcing wave.

At this forward spot, the board is caught by the wave and then I can smoothly pop to a stance. If you start too far back in the breaking sequence, you are paddling too long and by the time you catch it, you are into the already breaking face and likely to pearl.

You want the wave to break over the top of you from behind and not be paddling into the face as it is breaking.


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