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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    New Bedford, MA
    Posts
    51

    Beginner technique questions

    Hi guys,
    I'm still in the very beginning stages of learning how to surf, and am really struggling with both getting up to speed to catch the wave and popping up. Was hoping that some of you might share some tips that would help. Iíve been reading everything on here that I can find on the subject and just hoping for some more input from you guys that make it look so easy.

    I have a 9'8" longboard thatís got a lot of volume, and I really should be able to catch a lot more waves than I do, but I'm really struggling with paddling fast enough to stay out in front of it and get on plane, especially on smaller waves for some reason. I've been searching YouTube for any longboarding videos I can find that actually show the guy paddling into the wave and popping up so that I can maybe see what Iím doing wrong, but that seems to be cut out of most of the videos and you only get to see the ride after the popup.

    The ones I have found that show the whole process make it look almost effortless, some with the guy only paddling 4 or 5 seemingly gentle strokes before heís up and riding.

    Iíve been experimenting with positioning incrementally more and more forward on the board so that Iím not pushing as much water while paddling, and I think Iíve found where the sweet spot is for my board between pushing water and going nose under, but I still have to start paddling way early and give it everything Iíve got only to get passed up almost every time.

    When I do catch a wave and go to pop up, it feels like I weigh 2 tons and I really struggle to get enough distance between my body and the board to get my feet under me. When I do, and can stand up, I keep my balance pretty well for a fun ride, but getting there is killing me for some reason. Iíve been practicing the pop up technique at home with tape on the floor marking a center line and foot position to help build the muscle memory and itís really easy there,,, popping up in one fluid move with my feet landing right on the marks most of the time. In the water on the board it feels completely different, like Iíve suddenly gained a massive amount of weight.

    I was out from 5:30 am until 8:30am last Friday and Saturday with some decent swells from Arthur coming in, paddled for many, many waves, but only actually caught 7 and got vertical just once in 6 solid hours of trying.

    Having a blast, but really struggling to get the basics down right nowÖ.
    Thanks in advance for any tips you all might have, and the inevitable heckling that Iím sure will be included as well.
    Cheers,
    Jake

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Out on the island
    Posts
    470
    you need to sit deeper or nearer to the breaking wave. those guys doing litttle or no paddle take offs are taking off right where the waves is breaking. not a great place to be for beginners. as you feel more comfortable work your way closer and closer to the curl.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Shoting Piers in Honeyton
    Posts
    2,524
    Lot's of pull ups and bench presses! Paddle faster = more waves, Paddle faster = catch waves earlier. Catch waves earlier = more speed = "lighter" feeling ride.

    Or you can get a 15 ft long canoe to surf from a magical Gnome that hangs out with Hobbits and Wizards and
    sh!t like that.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Long Buried Island
    Posts
    788
    The best advice is to have confidence. When paddling for the wave convince yourself that you are going to ride this wave, get rid of all doubts in your mind. It sounds silly, but it works. Also make sure your head is over the board and your eyes are looking to where you want to go towards.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Atlantic City
    Posts
    2,940
    when catching the wave remember nose of board perpendicular to beach.
    if not that than a 90 deg angle to the wave DIRECTION i.e. where its headed.
    don't start cutting til you're sure you have the wave.
    also re-consider your conditioning - good, fair, poor etc.?
    consider hitting the pool if you really want this sport ( and i think most would say you do…)
    if you do master the sport you'll look back at where you are now and smile.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Marlton, New Jersey, United States
    Posts
    356
    Images
    1
    Keep doing what you're doing, experience comes in time. Exercise out of the water to stay in shape and spend as much time as you can trying to catch waves. Most importantly, do not let yourself get frustrated. Have fun out there and if you screw up and fall, get back on your board and paddle back out. The more you do it the more your paddling muscles will grow making it easier to get out can get into waves. You will learn in time my young padawan.

  7. #7
    Do push-ups and crunches (sit-ups). Start about 2 weeks before your surf day(s) and alternate with push ups one day, then sit ups the next. Once you can do 15 push ups, start trying to do another set of 15...and so on.

    On the crunch days, try to do 30 the first day. When you can get past 30, try for 50...keep upping it until you can do 60. Just this little workout will have you popping up like it's instinct.

    If your legs are weak, try 25-30 non-weight squats every other day. (I also mix in some bicycle riding for cardio and quad work...but endurance may be jumping the gun for you.)

    Start paddling early for the wave you want...really early. That way, you have a better chance of getting the board on a plane before the wave gets to you.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Out on the island
    Posts
    470
    Quote Originally Posted by waterbaby View Post
    Do push-ups and crunches (sit-ups). Start about 2 weeks before your surf day(s) and alternate with push ups one day, then sit ups the next. Once you can do 15 push ups, start trying to do another set of 15...and so on.

    On the crunch days, try to do 30 the first day. When you can get past 30, try for 50...keep upping it until you can do 60. Just this little workout will have you popping up like it's instinct.

    If your legs are weak, try 25-30 non-weight squats every other day. (I also mix in some bicycle riding for cardio and quad work...but endurance may be jumping the gun for you.)

    Start paddling early for the wave you want...really early. That way, you have a better chance of getting the board on a plane before the wave gets to you.
    note. if you can't do 15 pushups then you shouldn't surf until you do. unless you don't have any arms.... in which case im sorry.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Science mother****er
    Posts
    2,796
    Time in the water. That's it. I started almost 3 years ago, and I used to only get out once a month (due to location). When I moved to the coast, I started hitting it a couple times a week, and that helped a ton. I still have some issues catching the really big HH/HH+ waves, which is purely a confidence thing. Anything chest and less is now fairly easy to catch. If you were out in the big Arthur swell, I can see how you wouldn't catch much. Start smaller if you can. I think waist is perfect for a beginner.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Stayin' Classy in San Diego
    Posts
    2,211
    Quote Originally Posted by JakeF View Post
    I have a 9'8" longboard that’s got a lot of volume, and I really should be able to catch a lot more waves than I do, but I'm really struggling with paddling fast enough to stay out in front of it and get on plane, especially on smaller waves for some reason. I've been searching YouTube for any longboarding videos I can find that actually show the guy paddling into the wave and popping up so that I can maybe see what I’m doing wrong, but that seems to be cut out of most of the videos and you only get to see the ride after the popup.

    The ones I have found that show the whole process make it look almost effortless, some with the guy only paddling 4 or 5 seemingly gentle strokes before he’s up and riding.
    Timing is everything and reading the wave is something that just takes experience. A wave kind of has a sweet spot where you want to pop on. There's different ways to think about this I guess, I can pop-up after the wave has already "caught" my board and started pushing it down the face; or I can pop-up before the wave has "caught" my board and use my pop-up to generate speed and propel me down the face of the wave or the line. At this point you want to focus on the first one. Which means that you let the wave do a lot more work. Wait until you actually feel the wave start pushing the board to pop-up. Yeah, a lot will go by, but there's a pretty steep learning curve. That's life.

    The other way, you pop-up right after you feel the wave lift the tail of the board. Work on that later, but it's the foundation of a No Paddle Popup.

    Quote Originally Posted by JakeF View Post
    I’ve been experimenting with positioning incrementally more and more forward on the board so that I’m not pushing as much water while paddling, and I think I’ve found where the sweet spot is for my board between pushing water and going nose under, but I still have to start paddling way early and give it everything I’ve got only to get passed up almost every time.
    Yup, keep trying those two things. You're on the right path. For a more efficient stroke, keep your shoulders squared and draw your arms through the water and under the board just as if you were swimming free-style. Make sure you keep drawing power through the entire stroke, don't get all limp wristed at the end.

    Quote Originally Posted by JakeF View Post
    When I do catch a wave and go to pop up, it feels like I weigh 2 tons and I really struggle to get enough distance between my body and the board to get my feet under me. When I do, and can stand up, I keep my balance pretty well for a fun ride, but getting there is killing me for some reason. I’ve been practicing the pop up technique at home with tape on the floor marking a center line and foot position to help build the muscle memory and it’s really easy there,,, popping up in one fluid move with my feet landing right on the marks most of the time. In the water on the board it feels completely different, like I’ve suddenly gained a massive amount of weight.
    Without seeing you surf I'm not entirely sure, but from your description you're sticking your ass in the air and crawling to your feet. A pop-up isn't a pushup, it's more of a burpee. Beginners have a tendency to crawl to their feet, it's natural you've been doing it since you were an infant. When you popup, you're literally swinging your feet under you. You push-up off the board with your arms just to get enough clearance so that you can draw NOT drag your feet from all the way behind you and up the centerline line of the board and as you do this, your body begins to rotate at the hips; but your arms really shouldn't be doing much at all. It's all in the hips and feet. You want to end up with your front foot under were your sternum was and your back foot right under where your ass-crack would have been, more or less depending on the board, the wave and your body. All in a single motion, firmly and solidly planted and just in the right place. Takes practice, a whole lot of practice and everybody, even Kelly Slater blows one every so often. Just work on not sticking your ass in the air first (your hips should never go above your shoulders) and not crawling and the rest will come.

    Quote Originally Posted by JakeF View Post
    I was out from 5:30 am until 8:30am last Friday and Saturday with some decent swells from Arthur coming in, paddled for many, many waves, but only actually caught 7 and got vertical just once in 6 solid hours of trying.
    Sounds about right. It takes about 10,000 hours to get good as anything. If you surfed 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year you're at 2,080 hours. When you see someone who's good, remember they've put in a lot of watertime.

    Taj Burrows put it best and I quote him all the time, "The only difference between you and me is time in the water and commitment."

    Quote Originally Posted by JakeF View Post
    Having a blast, but really struggling to get the basics down right now….
    Thanks in advance for any tips you all might have, and the inevitable heckling that I’m sure will be included as well.
    Cheers,
    Jake
    Beat it kook ; )
    Last edited by zaGaffer; Jul 9, 2014 at 06:42 PM.