What Do Good Oceanside Short Board Surfers Know


When teaching Oceanside Surf Lessons, I start students on a high volume soft top surf board. When a student shows promise, I start explaining the difference between BigWavescatching foam waves straight in and catching real waves at an angle to ride the pocket.

I will point at short board surfers getting it right. The principal of catching waves on a short board is really very simple. You have to get way in front of the wave before it breaks. There are a few techniques for this.

One is you can line up where the waves are breaking just right by identifying the breaking spot with two points of reference.  I surf near a pier and can line up the break with light poles on the pier and the life guard stand on the beach. Then I am always in the right spot.

Secondly, you don’t always depend on the line up. Too many surfers sit beyond the break and try to paddle in over the top. The more aggressive surfers sit inside the break and when the outside surfers have missed it, they catch it.

When the waves are rolling in quick succession, I like to stay prone on my board while paddling in the hunt. When I see a wave start to form, I have to judge whether I am going to paddle out, paddle parallel to where I am, or paddle toward the beach. I like to catch the pocket next to the foam and toward the direction it is unraveling.

You paddle way inside of the wave, more than you think is necessary. What you may not realize is that the wave will form for you way inside of what you are looking at because as the wave unfurls, it is moving toward the beach at about 10 mph. That means that where it is, is not where its going to be.

The pocket is also moving at an angle toward the beach so that when you catch it and accelerate in it, you are getting closer to the beach and after catching another section or two could wind up right on the beach.



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