Surfing Even as Intermediates is in the Fundamentals


When I teach Surf Lessons in Oceanside, I get frequent calls from people who say all is well except for one problem area. At this point I know they don’t have the fundamentals mastered. Surfing is very fickle about who DSCF1095gets to ride the wave.

Sometimes students will say they have trouble catching waves or they can ride the rights and can’t ride the waves that go left. Most of them do have the balance on the board correct, but they don’t have the pop up into the right posture. One person who has been riding three or four times a week for three months, still goes to her knee first before putting her feet on the board.

Even with new students, I have to talk them through their immediate wrong instincts on the pop ups. The pop up is a little frightening because it is a gymnastic act on a narrow plank while traveling 10 mph. People want to jump to their knees or at least put one on the board. They often what I call swing their butt around landing them in the water backward immediately.

The proper movement, like in the video on the landing page, is to move the front foot under the chest and put in between the hands. In any case, the front foot has to land in the middle of the board past the midway point in length. Most people’s pop ups at the beginning or after their own practice don’t end this way.

Their second problem is they don’t have their shoulder opposite the front foot facing forward. If a surfer’s shoulders are parallel to the length of the board, chances are they are going to fall off on their butt side. The shoulder opposite the front foot has to move forward. I tell surfers to see both hands. If one hand is behind you, you’re going down. The butt also has to swivel so that it is over the center of the board. If you can see your hands, but your butt is still over the side rail, you haven’t helped yourself.

Once I get people to paddle correctly to catch waves and do the right pop up, they are surfing like beginner champs. Those who progress in their first lesson are going to the outside to catch bigger foam waves and learning to ride real waves on the inside by catching them at an angle.

It is all about the fundamentals.


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