Surfing happens in the ocean, with waves often breaking quite a distance from the sand. there are several simple skills to focus on to get you out the back and in a position to ride waves.
Before entering the surf ensure you take the time to assess the area, searching for potential dangers such as rocks, dangerous rips or currents.
When entering the break there are 2 common situations you will be faced with. In both scenarios, If there is a set approaching the line up you are best to wait back from the water’s edge, allow the set waves to pass through, then enter the ocean in the ‘lull’ period after the set.
Entering from the sand
one look at @kookslams on instagram will highlight how often serious incidents can happen just metres from the shoreline. When entering the water the way in which you hold your board is critical as You will most likely have to jump over a few waves with your board under your arm, before beginning to paddle.
When jumping over waves, stand facing out to sea with your board by your side.
ENTERING FROM the ROCKS
At many locations, the only method of entering the ocean is via rocks, this poses an increased risk of accident and injury to all surfers.
If you are surfing a break you have never surfed before, try and watch where other surfers enter the line up. If they’re successful, you can look to repeat their route and timing.
Take your time and be sure to pick where you are going to jump from wisely, timing is essential. Jump too early, the wave will hit you and wash you back into the rocks, too late and you may not even have an opportunity to jump at all. The key is to jump up and over the oncoming wave, landing on the back of the swell.
SITTING ON your BOARD
sitting up on your board when in the lineup provides an elevated position to see oncoming waves, review your positioning according to landmarks and take a moment to rest after extended periods paddling prone.
sitting on your board is all about comfort and stability.
- Too far forward, nose will dive and you will have to correct by leaving back.
- Too far back, tail will sink and you will have to correct by leaning forwards.
- Just right, a position where the board will be neutral, not wating to shift forwards of back. In this neutral position, you will be able to sit comfortably with your back straight and relaxed.
TURNING FOR A WAVE
Have you seen a wave you want to ride? Time to turn around and paddle!
If you are already sitting on the board, you need to:
Shift yourself back towards the tail of the board, aim for the nose of the board to be angled out of the water.
Move your legs like an egg beater in different directions to assist you in changing the direction your board is pointing.
Once turned, you can drive forward back into the prone position, giving yourself a thrust of forward momentum to carry into the paddle phase.
Positioning in the lineup is critical to catching quality waves and maximising what the wave has to offer, turning in this method can increase your mobility in the lineup.
PADDLING INTO WAVES
when do I paddle for a wave? This is a common question from surfers of all levels.
If you paddle to soon the, wave breaks on your back.
Paddle Too late, YOu may miss the wave all together.
The answer is complex, because the appropriate time and speed to paddle for a wave changes relative to your position in the lineup and the slope (shape) of the wave face.
GENERALLY SPEAKING, if a wave is steep, the ideal entry window is quite short, you need to delay your paddle until the wave is quite close to you.
A flat faced wave has a longer entry window, requiring a high speed paddle over a long period of time.
The aim for paddling into any wave is to keep your board and body underneath lip line of the wave.
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