I would say 85ish% of the time, i can paddle into the lineup without any problems, however, there's still some days (big ones) that no matter how hard i try, or how determined i am to get out, i can't seem to get past the impact zone. I've tried timing the sets, but my friend who taught me how to surf a couple years ago i think told me all wrong....he said to paddle out when the last wave of the set breaks is this right?
i see other people out in the lineups, so i know it's possible. i hate leaving the beach all pissy cuz i can't get out on a day that's make-able.
Last edited by Double Over-toe; Jan 12, 2011 at 06:05 PM.
If so, read the current and jump in on the side where the current is coming from. It will hit the rocks then suck out around them. if you get in there you will have better chances of getting out.
I usually paddle out when I see the first wave of the set. That way, by the time you get halfway out, you are ducking the whitewater from the set. That gives you a window to get out once you are about half to three quarters the way out. If you wait until the last wave, yeah you dont have to duck heavy whitewater but by the time you are almost out, the next set is about to break.
it really depends on the swell. I can say that I haven't gotten completely denied in probly the last 5 years and I've surfed all the biggest swells even when it's still rough. There have been times when I tried to go then realized I wasn't going to make it so I tried a different tactic like paddle out in the middle or timing it differently. I have always made it on at least my second attempt.
If it's breaking all over the place, it's just going to take detrmination and stamina. Wade out as far as you can without getting pushed around by the whitewater, wait for a time when you think you might see a window like the second or third set wave just broke, then just get yourself pumped and tell yourself you are just going to keep paddling and diving until you get out there and nothing is going to stop you.
Everybody has to get out, walk back up the beach, and re-assess once in a while. But eventually, you'll get out.
All good tips... look for rips or at least spots where it's deeper and fewer waves are breaking... account for the current so you drift into those spots when you get out to them.... and time the sets. If there's long lulls between them, wait till the set passes. If there's short lulls, jump in when the last wave is breaking. Also, paddle steadily until you see your shot at getting to the outside, then paddle like crazy. In other words, conserve your energy 'till the right moment, then go for it. And... practice duck diving cleanly. You don't want to be popping up too soon and get dragged backwards. Go deep and come up BEHIND the wave. Make your duck dive part of your rhythm of your paddle. No flailing and wasted motions.
for me, its all about momentum. think like a shark. if you stop moving, you die. When you duckdive, or rollover, or whatever, start paddling again as soon as you possibly can. Also, it isn't a rush. Steady, even, paddles. You'll get there. Don't try to get timing down to a rule or a science. There are so many factors that will affect your paddle out. Just watch on the beach for a while before you go out. Watch what other surfers do. Look for rips. consider jumping the jetty like wally said
I think that's normal. For everybody, there's always going to be a day that's just "too big" to paddle out. There's a reason a lot of us are not big wave surfers. What I don't like is the fact that big days are too seldom and rare around here, and when they do arrive, we're not conditioned for it. I find myself a little freaked out by the size since it could be 3-4 months since I've been in those type of conditions, and that mental/psychological issue adds to my fatigue, and I think it reduces my willpower to make it outside.
yeah, find the rips and start when you see the first set wave. You will have better timing...
And this summer, when its get bigger, but its warm and cozy out, spend time on those days picking the absolute worst spot, right in the impact zone, and keep paddling out through the hardest area (As long as you are alone. Dont paddle out in the impact zone of the lineup, or where guys are surfing. But find the closeout section somewhere down the line), and that will get you used to the repetitive struggle of fighting out in the larger surf... it helps. That way when its freezing and you dont even want to duck dive on your way out, you will be ready to struggle if the time comes. but yeah, at most beach breaks, when its big, if you get a good long ride, chances are its a terrible idea to paddle straight back out. It will save you energy to walk back down the beach... Its different everywhere, but there is always a rip right next to my pier, so even when its huge out, the thing sucks you out super fast. You just have to paddle like 10 feet off the pillars. Everywhere is different, but structured areas, piers jetties etc will more likely have a rip and channel. Random beach breaks will move all over the place. You will end up 5 blocks from where you started sometimes.
Look for a rip current or channel of any sort that might take you out. Avoid the area where there is significantly more whitewash. Even if a channel is 50 yards from the peak, once you're out past the white wash, it's (usually) easier to paddle down to the take off zone.
UPDATE: Also, learning how to properly duckdive makes all the difference in the world. I'm not saying you are doing it improperly, but check out a few demonstrations on how to do it on surf websites just to make sure you have the technique down. Personally, I didn't learn how to properly duck dive till years after I started and was amazed at how much of a difference it made and how much energy I was saving executing it the proper way.
FYI -- I use my knee on the tail to push down the board, some people use their foot. Whatever works.
Last edited by StuckinVA; Jan 12, 2011 at 07:11 PM.
Reason: duck dive
ahh... the walk of shame.... everyone who has ever surfed macking low tide nags head has done it haha.
1. Observe: Camp out in the general area you want to surf and get a good stretch on. Look for trenches between the sandbars, which side of the pier/jetty is rushing out, where the other surfers are paddling out, where surfers are getting stuck, etc.
2. Act: This part is up to you, your duck dive, your arms, your lungs, and your balls... How well do you hold your ground when a heaver lands six feet in front of you? How many consecutive poundings can you take? How much ground can you cover when you do get that minute between poundings? How long/hard can you paddle before you "need" a break? These are the things that will likely make or break the deal. But after all... "you gotta pay to play"
You can worry about coming in through the overhead shorebreak later...