Tips for taking your surfing to the next level
Have you been surfing the white water and nailing it? Then its time to progress a level and tackle some of those green waves. Here are some key pointers for surfers about to hit the line-up:
Words by Abbi Hughes Photos by Emma Rayner
Selecting the Right Wave:
When you’re surfing, wave choice is vital. It determines the length and speed of your ride, as well as the manoeuvres you might be able to pull off when riding. For beginners, staying at waist depth and catching the powerful, broken white water will build confidence, balance and improve core strength. But once you have mastered your pop-up, try moving further out back and try catching green (unbroken) waves. These waves are harder to choose and require more paddling and control to make the drop. Ideally, you will be looking for a wave that will peel down the line, not one that will close out immediately. Before you get in the water, take a few minutes to note where the peaks are and where the best spot in the line-up would be to sit. Try not to get in the way of other surfers.
Catching Green Waves:
When you are sitting out back in the line-up, take a few minutes to watch which waves other surfers are taking – this will help you determine the best place to sit to catch the best waves. However, be careful not to get in the way of other surfers paddling for sets and check no one else is going for the wave you want so you don’t drop in – and so they don’t drop in on you! The technique for catching green waves is very similar to white water waves. You just have to paddle harder, get to your feet quickly and keep your balance when making the drop. Once you have mastered the speed and pop up, try taking off at a slight angle and riding along the face of the wave.
Making the Drop:
After you have gathered enough speed to catch the wave, you are faced with a steep drop. The key is to have confidence, paddle hard and get to your feet in one smooth motion, as quickly as you can. Keep your knees bent and look forward in the direction you are going. Shift your weight onto your front foot and embrace the speed. From this position, if you have chosen a gently peeling wave, you can adjust your weight, using your upper body as a steering wheel, and ride the face along the green wave. Get excited, as this is one of the best feelings of surfing!
The bottom turn is one of the most important manoeuvres to learn in surfing. A good bottom turn will convert all the speed you created from your take off to shoot down the line or, transfer momentum to another manoeuvre such as a cut back. So, as you drop into the face of the wave, keep low and transfer your weight slowly back towards the tail of the board and over to the inside rail. Move your shoulders and look into the face of the wave. Try to keep a low centre of gravity to maximise your speed. You can also carve small turns to help pump up speed using this technique.