Preparing to Ride Bigger Surfing Waves


When I am teaching new students Surf Lessons in Oceanside, they look to the outside and say I want to ride those like those guys. I say anyone can do it if you stick with the practice long enough. Becoming an advanced 2014 - 1 (3)surfer does require time in the water.

One needs the paddling time to develop the stamina to practice longer and to tackle big surf. On a sand bar beach like Oceanside, you can’t go around the big waves like you can on a reef break. You have to paddle through. Big days often come with current so you are paddling constantly to hold position. Of course, then you have to paddle to catch the wave and then paddle back out.

Bigger waves require more courage. Even jumping from 2′ to 4′ will be a big deal. The 5′ and 6′ are another whole ball game. One of the skills one learns from experiences is which ones might be close outs and which ones you can ride. You fall into some close outs and get trounced learning the process. After a while you can just feel the wave as it goes under you.

Having a great pop up and lots of confidence in it goes without saying. They should be practiced in your living room every day. The more days you practice, the less you will think about it when you are in the water. You will just assume it. When you are taking a bigger wave you are judging how it will break and where it will roll and you don’t want to be wondering if you can make the pop up.

You are either going to go down the face or catch the angle. If its breaking too steep to angle it,  you might ride down the face and do a bottom turn to get ahead of the foam and into the pocket. Practicing bottom turns is important not only so you can make them easily, but so you can rise over the top of a big wave if it is closing on you.

The most important technique becomes learning to catch the wave right under the lip and not paddling over the top of the wave. If you watch on a big day or small day, the best surfers let the wave come under them and then paddle a few strokes at the top as the lip is curling over their head and they are down the face.

Falling becomes a big part of your routine and you have to learn to relax. If I am at the top of a big wave and I come off the board because it is a close out, I want to cannon ball into the water. The other option is often to get a low center of gravity on the board and see if you can survive the drop.

Every wave is different and sometimes you make great decisions and sometimes not.


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