Catch Surfing Waves and Avoid the Beatings


One of the second things I teach new students in Oceanside Surf Lessons is how to position themselves to catch waves. Catching waves out of position or without the proper Take offtechniques is why beginners go through so many poundings.

There is one good principal that defines the technique most of the time for catching waves properly and that is get in front of it early and be moving when it arrives. Now that sounds easy but like so many other skills surfers have to learn, their instincts are often wrong.

When my new students start catching their own waves, they like to wait for the wave to hit them before they paddle. I see students who don’t take instructions getting tossed when the wave arrives or trying to jump up in the middle of the foam. You have to get in front of it, paddle hard before it hits you and paddle hard until you are in front of the wave.

The same principal applies in riding real waves. I see people trying to paddle over the top of the wave as it passes them. If they catch it, they are going to most likely fall into the falling lip. The wave will be too far advanced to get up smoothly.

On real waves with a lower volume board or long board, you want to be moving so that the arc of the wave comes underneath you and you are in a spot (short board) where the wave is starting to arc. From the right spot, it should only take a few paddles to get moving on the face.

Beginners also don’t watch what the wave is doing behind them. If they find themselves too far in front and in the impact zone, they should bail. If you watch surfers, they can also tell when a wave is going to close out and they bail. If you are late in catching the wave and see that it is closing behind you instead of under you, you can bail.

No matter how steep the wave is, if you are in the right spot on the face, you can make it down the face and escape the lip or bottom turn into the pocket.


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