Oct
23

What You Can Learn on a Soft Top Surf Board

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I teach new students in Oceanside Surf Lessons on an 8′ soft top board. Many new students think immediately that they want to get a short board like they see the advanced surfers using on the outside. I tell them they may be BeachBeginClass3.22 003a year or two away unless they can surf several times a week.

The soft top, however, is a very good learning board and advanced surfers have a lot of fun with them. The advantage to advanced surfers is the relatively high volume board picks up on softer waves that the short board can’t catch. Yesterday at low tide, I was on the Oceanside Pier and saw beautiful forming outside waves that just didn’t have enough arc for the short boarders to catch them.  I could have caught them all day on a soft top.

At the beginning, you learn to balance on the board and stay on it when the foam wave hits from behind. You have to keep the board level and straight to the beach while you are paddling until you get in front of the foam. A lot of students have trouble mastering this. Once you are in front of the foam you can do the pop up sequence and ride to the beach.

You can learn to start paddling toward the waves and then turn around or paddle in an arc until the foam wave hits the board. This prepares you for real waves which you have to time your paddling to hit the wave right where you want it. This is an exercise that you have to practice for years on a short board because every wave is different especially if you are on a sand bar beach.

You can learn all the maneuvers on a soft top. You learn to drop down the face of a wave and then bottom turn into a pocket. Once in the pocket you can accelerate the board by moving the nose up and down the pocket with your front foot. You can also do a cut back where you reverse your direction back into the foamy lip.

Advanced surfers can do aerials and 360’s on the soft top and ride 7′ waves. So a beginner intermediate has a long way to go before they have maximized its capabilities. In the meantime, it is easier to paddle than a short board so you can have longer learning sessions. It is also more stable to ride, so the lapses in between sessions don’t require as much of a retraining period.

The soft top is great for learning and advancing and surfers will judge you by what you can do, not what you ride.

(<:)

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