Learning to Time and Catch Waves as Beginners


One of the fun practices in surf lessons I teach in Oceanside is training students how to recognize and catch waves. Most people’s instincts are wrong. Also lack of experience CatchingFoamleads new students to make mistakes.

But that’s why they take lessons. To new surfers all waves look alike. The more experience you have the more you can select the waves that you want to ride. You often see surfers paddle for a wave and then back off. That’s because they know it is going to close out or they are too far behind it.

The first lesson in riding foam is look for a wave that will be strong enough. The closer you get to where it breaks, the more power it has. Secondly, be ready when the wave breaks by anticipating where they are breaking and getting in position with balance on the board and some paddling to get momentum.

In foam, paddle hard before the wave arrives and then when the board takes off on the wave, do your pop up.  One mistake beginners make is the pop up as soon as the foam wave hits the board. They need to paddle until they get in front of the wave where the water is smoother.

In real waves, one should be paddling to keep momentum parallel to where the waves break. When you see a wave form, you have to paddle out, continuing paddling parallel, or head in to intersect the wave in the right spot. This is one of the more difficult parts of judgment you have to learn from experience.

One secret is to be moving fast as you intersect with the wave. If you are on a short board and let the wave come under you, you can give just a few strong paddles and maybe some kicks to get down the face. One mistake beginners make in catching real waves is they always try to paddle over the to instead of letting the wave arc over them. It takes more courage to get out in front, but it is the best way.

“I’ve read and watched so many on-line tutorials and I’ve gotta say your book is the coolest, most succinct and comprehensive I’ve seen. So good!” A. Parker, OR.

Surf Instructions 

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Illustrated 80 page E Book  by Mark Kaplan, Surf Instructor Download Immediately Learning the Physical, Technical and Psychological stepping stones to becoming an Advanced Surfer

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