LOGIN | REGISTER

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 25
  1. #1

    sandbar break surfing question

    I just returned from a great trip to OBX. I generally prefer to scout out an isolated sandbar break as opposed to a point break, simply to avoid crowds as with my novice skills, I like to stay out of the way and save embarrassment from the crowded piers and jetty breaks.

    So I have a general question about reading typical sandbar surfing where you have waves peeling both directions. When you see a ridable wave coming, how do you read whether you should turn right or left? Its so easy to tell from the beach view whether a surfer should turn right or left as he paddles in for a wave, but I can't seem to grasp any cues or visibiltiy from sitting outback and starting my paddle. I've found myself catching waves and turning right (since I'm not goofy) only to cut into a closeout realizing too late the wave choice for that given wave was to go left instead. Each wave set seems to be slightly different in how it breaks so its not like I can line my choice up with a land/beach marker is it? Is it just something that comes with gaining a better eye and more time in the water or is there a tip that can be given? Jokes about me being a kook is always welcome. Fire away, but someone give me something constructive!

  2. #2
    I really think the only thing that can help you predict what a wave will do is time in the water. The only tip I can think of is, being on the East Coast, if it's a South swell there will be a lot of rights, if it's a North swell there will be a lot of lefts. A Jetty, pier, or whatever can obviously change this.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Monmouth Beach, NJ
    Posts
    2,497
    You're talking about what I call "wave knowledge." It's the ability to read the wave... from how, when, and where it will peak and start to break, to how the wave warps and heaves and peels down the line, to where and how it will end - a sinking shoulder, or oncoming section, or thumping closeout. Wave knowledge is something you develop over time, after literally years of man hours in the water. So just know that it will come, if you stick with it, pay attention, and learn a little something each time you go out.

    But to try to answer your question, the most obvious thing to look at is where the wave peaks... the highest point of the wave as it approaches you. The wave should peel away on both sides away from that point. So if you're on the right of that peak, go right... left, go left. You can also look at the shape of the wave as it comes toward you... the most vertical part of the unbroken wave will likely break first... the slope-y-er parts after that. Also consider looking at the swell direction, from buoy reports, to see how the swell angle will make most waves break. Also look for patterns before you paddle out... generally a particular sandbar will make most waves break in a similar direction. Combo swells make it a bit more difficult...

    Keep surfing. You'll develop that "sixth sense" sooner or later.

  4. #4
    eventually you wont even have to think about it

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    245
    " Also look for patterns before you paddle out..." is a great tip. At an unfamiliar location I usually stretch slowly and watch a set or two to see if there are any patters. It's all a part of learning how to read the ocean.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    11 hours from the beach
    Posts
    25
    Quote Originally Posted by LBCrew View Post
    You're talking about what I call "wave knowledge."...
    could have stopped right there, crew of 1

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    LBI
    Posts
    905
    Images
    1
    the part of the wave that is steepest and tallest is going to break first, so you want to ride away from that part. if the left side of the wave looks like it will break first, then ride to the right, and vice versa. this will also help when surfing with crowds, because the person closest to the steepest middle part of the wave has right of way. usually on a sandbar if you watch for a while, you will see there will be multiple areas where the waves are breaking. pick which spot you want to surf on, and watch the direction the waves are breaking there.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Richlands
    Posts
    3
    Time in the water is the best way. And to the guy that stretches. You should never stretch before surfing. Surfing calls for quick reaction time and stretching relaxes the muscles. You want to be tight when you are in the water, your moves will have more snap to them. Proven fact ask any pro or elite soul surfer. You will loosen up in due time.........

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by jyeddo View Post
    Time in the water is the best way. And to the guy that stretches. You should never stretch before surfing. Surfing calls for quick reaction time and stretching relaxes the muscles. You want to be tight when you are in the water, your moves will have more snap to them. Proven fact ask any pro or elite soul surfer. You will loosen up in due time.........
    I've read this a bunch of places. The time to work on your stretching is not 10 seconds before you paddle out.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    245
    jyeddo and souljahsky.....thanks for the input, but the topic was about reading sanbar breaks. The stretching thing is something I do. After 27+ years of surfing around the world, I think I know what works for me. Apply your "proven facts" and "readings" to your own moves and snaps.