Make Surf Wave Catching Easy


When I give new students surf lessons in Oceanside,  I tell them that after the pop up, learning to catch waves seems more difficult. And they are just trying to catch foam. Almost Take offeveryone has the wrong instincts at first.

New students wait for the waves to hit them and then try to stand up in the foam. It takes three steps to do a pop up properly in a foam wave. You first have to spot your wave coming in from the outside. Then whether you are paddling or standing waiting for it by holding your board, you have to start moving before the wave arrives.

When the wave is close, you paddle hard as you can. When it hits you, you then keep paddling until the board accelerates in front of the foam before popping up. You have to look back while paddling toward the beach to get your bearings on how close the wave is.

When paddling for real waves, the same principals apply. You try to spot your wave in advance. You don’t have to take every wave. Wait for the right one. Then you have to determine if you have to paddle out, parallel, or toward shore to catch it in front of the arc. You want to catch it at the edge of the foam at the apex (top of the wave where foam first appears) as it heads to the pocket.

You have to be in front of the wave. When you see the foam starting, the spot you want will be further inside as the wave heads to the beach. On a small wave, the pocket might be 20 to 30 feet inside from where you first see the foam lip.

If you are paddling hard and even kicking in front of the wave, you will catch it and pop up easily almost every time. You rarely fall off when you catch the wave in the right spot. No pearling or going over the falls.

Watch Bethany Hamilton (one armed surfer) explain how she does it. She just won Pipeline Masters.


“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 

Beginner to Advanced E Book   $5.95    Add to Cart     

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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