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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Central FL
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    3,150

    Small waves vs. Big Waves

    What's your preference and what adjustments do you make in your technique as the size of the waves change?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    in the grace of the most holy FSM
    Posts
    2,781
    i try to be lighter on my feet in smaller surf, applying less force through my turns, & react more quickly to things. it's less of a conscious adjustment than something that just happens.
    in the really big stuff (DOH+), it becomes more about making the wave & less about trying to fit turns into the ride. though comfortable in that size surf, i'm definitely on the edges of "survival mode" when the surf gets into that size range.
    w/ my size, the middle range is where i really come into my own...that chest-HH+ range. that's when i really feel like my size starts to work more to my advantage & the wave has the energy to allow me to really push through my turns w/out running the risk of losing the wave or sliding out (though it does still happen). i think i'd really like surfing big waves if i had the opportunity to surf them more frequently.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Charleston
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    Gotta specify a little more... Pretty much all east coast waves are small compared to your "big wave" locations and I can't speak to them at all.

    But big wave days on the east coast are definitely preferred more than knee high slop that we're plagued with but still manage to have fun on as well. I compare smaller waves to taking soft toss or hitting off a tee. There is plenty of time to slow down and focus on your basics in preparation for the big days. When a hurricane finally comes around and the surf starts pumping you can have a lot of fun if you've paid your dues on the small stuff.

    THere is definitely some changes you have to make. You have to get your pop up as quick and concise as possible and make sure you're centered with your line picked out as you're paddling for the wave. Otherwise the extra power of the wave can make you look unprepared or get you hurt. Riding the bigger waves is when you can really get to know your board and your abilities and how they work together. You have to adjust for the additional speed and steeper drops. It used to be that I would need a good day to make the adjustments to surf bigger waves before I felt confident. Now the adjustments can be made in a wave or two.

    One of the reasons professional surfers are so good is because they surf perfect powerful waves all the time. Not one of them would go out in the slop I surfed last night and I can't blame them. But even us non-pros can do some decent manuevers when there is enough power to the wave.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Monmouth Beach, NJ
    Posts
    2,296
    When I was younger, I used to prefer big waves, but now I just want waves and don't care if they're big, small, or anything in between. Any time there's waves and I can surf, I have just as much fun. I guess if anything, it's quality over size that matters to me most these days.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Monmouth County
    Posts
    1,356
    chest - 1ft OH is probably my prime comfort range. enough power to drive, lay into turns, get barreled, etc.

    big enough that it's critical and also looking to take the best set waves. any bigger i'll be more selective and much less willing to huck myself into anything that comes through
    Last edited by mOtion732; Jul 25, 2012 at 05:53 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Monmouth County
    Posts
    1,356
    Quote Originally Posted by ClemsonSurf View Post
    Riding the bigger waves is when you can really get to know your board and your abilities and how they work together.
    this is definitely true.

  7. #7
    Walking the nose, throwing buckets, power-surfing, cut backs, aerials, etc require a certain level of power to execute each maneuver. Your size, weight and board will factor in to what you can get away with at your break. Regardless, your positioning on your board will (most likely) chance depending on the size of the waves. If they are small - move closer to the nose. If they are larger - move towards the tail. Just like your fin, moving up an inch can go a long way. Experiment first, before you paddle out in hurricane waves.

    I hope everyone on the East Coast is getting pumped for August & September.

  8. #8
    Big day preference because less of you in the water. Big pulse of swell, day 1, 10 people out, 990 watching from the beach making excuses like, tide's on it, looks drifty. Second day of swell, fades to chest high, 990 scraping each other, 10 people watching and laughing.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by SkegLegs View Post
    Big day preference because less of you in the water. Big pulse of swell, day 1, 10 people out, 990 watching from the beach making excuses like, tide's on it, looks drifty. Second day of swell, fades to chest high, 990 scraping each other, 10 people watching and laughing.
    So true. "Yeah man, the tide is on it." Funny, but true.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Central FL
    Posts
    3,150
    Quote Originally Posted by ClemsonSurf View Post
    Gotta specify a little more... Pretty much all east coast waves are small compared to your "big wave" locations and I can't speak to them at all.

    But big wave days on the east coast are definitely preferred more than knee high slop that we're plagued with but still manage to have fun on as well. I compare smaller waves to taking soft toss or hitting off a tee. There is plenty of time to slow down and focus on your basics in preparation for the big days. When a hurricane finally comes around and the surf starts pumping you can have a lot of fun if you've paid your dues on the small stuff.

    THere is definitely some changes you have to make. You have to get your pop up as quick and concise as possible and make sure you're centered with your line picked out as you're paddling for the wave. Otherwise the extra power of the wave can make you look unprepared or get you hurt. Riding the bigger waves is when you can really get to know your board and your abilities and how they work together. You have to adjust for the additional speed and steeper drops. It used to be that I would need a good day to make the adjustments to surf bigger waves before I felt confident. Now the adjustments can be made in a wave or two.

    One of the reasons professional surfers are so good is because they surf perfect powerful waves all the time. Not one of them would go out in the slop I surfed last night and I can't blame them. But even us non-pros can do some decent manuevers when there is enough power to the wave.
    Solid post, and great analogy. I know exactly what you mean by getting to know your board better and getting enough time on the larger waves to really test your skills. The smaller waves are great to work on the basics, but you never really get enough time on the wave to truly get creative like you can on the larger waves.