What Are the Tricks to Dropping Down Steep Waves for Surfers


In my Oceanside surf lessons, I paddle out with intermediate students to ride steeper waves.

Dropping down the steep face of a wave is one of the most thrilling parts of surfing. It is the part every surfer talks about when he says the waves are really big today. He is talking about making that first drop.

When you see a surfer on video riding the giant waves, the most dangerous or trickiest part is dropping down the face and surviving to get into the pocket. Once you are down the face of a wave, the rest is easy.

The new swells in Oceanside are creating very steep inside breaking waves where sometimes the drop is all you get. Yesterday, I was out on my 7’11” narrow gun which makes steep waves pretty easy.

There are three real secrets. You have to be willing to paddle into it when you see it coming. You have to give it a few strokes once the wave has you to be sure you are down the face. You have to pop up with a low center of gravity to stay on the board during the speed of the drop and absorb the tumult you may face.

If you can’t get an angle at the top of the wave, you hope when you hit the bottom you can carve and outrun the lip to the pocket. On the steep closeout waves, they often collapse on you before you get very far unless you started near the corner.

If you can drop in and/or  get an angle on the wave, a surfer will do the above and then often grab one rail of the board going face or backside to hold the rail into the wave and get speed to the pocket.

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