The Timing of Catching Surfing Waves


One of the basic skills students learn in Oceanside Surf Lessons is how to catch waves. It is not as easy as it would appear. When I see people rent boards and try to catch waves and pop up on their own, most don’t get very far. There is a timing sequence that seems to run counter to most peoples instincts.Take off

The pop up and catching a wave are two distinct acts. Most new students think the pop up comes free after catching a wave and don’t follow the necessary form. On the pop up, I give students four counts for each step of the pop up. They are demonstrated on the video on the landing page of this site.

After students catch a wave, they have to then go through the counts. The first part of catching a foam wave is paddling before the wave arrives. New students think it is like a boogie board and just throw themselves in front of the wave when it is on top of them.

Secondly, when the wave arrives you have to keep paddling. Many new students grip the board to hang on and then try the pop up. You want to be going fast as possible before a wave arrives so that it doesn’t over whelm the board. This makes it much easier to get in front of the wave.

Thirdly, when the board takes off in the wave, which is a feeling you learn to recognize, you then continue with your pop up count so that it is nice and smooth. If you observe surfers on real waves, you will see they catch the wave and then often in a relaxed sequence, pop up onto the board. There is no need to rush.

When students pop up while still in the foam, they have difficulty because the foam is tumultuous. If they wait until they are in front of the foam, the ride is smooth. The same with real waves. Once the wave has the board, there is time to do the pop up unless it is a close out or walling off.


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