Couple more things... when the wave is about to make impact with the tail of your board, really dig in as deep as you can on your paddling and give it another one or two strokes when you think you might have missed the wave, sometimes it's not over yet and you have a chance to get in still.
Another thing, when I started putting my chin to the board at the point where i'm really digging in just before take off, I found my percentage of catching the wave went up. So I start paddling slow and long / strong with my chin up and shoulders square, but as I pick up my pace and start really digging in, my chin is actually touching the board. When it's small / mushy it requires more work typically, when the waves are good and have power you'll end up using less energy if you get the positioning down.
You're going to have to find what works for you, you gotta have some kind of timing pattern you go through each time, something that keeps you consistent, once you find something that works, just try and repeat everything you did over and over again. Your body will find a way to save it or commit it to muscle memory, much like saving a file on a computer. Once you have the program, you can get the same results from it every time almost, minus the occasional glitch.
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Thread: Beginner technique questions
Jul 10, 2014, 12:39 AM #21
Supposedly, the bigger a wave is, that faster it's traveling...but it's also more powerful, so it's easier to catch than a small wave. Small waves are slower and, therefore, should be easier to catch, but they're usually weaker. I get more tired surfing in smaller waves than big waves...there's just more effort involved.
Last edited by waterbaby; Jul 10, 2014 at 04:58 PM.
Jul 10, 2014, 02:20 AM #23
Conditioning is important, but you could be in tip top shape, and still not be able to catch waves.
It is all about positioning. There are TWO parts to this: 1. Positioning yourself correctly on the board; 2. Positioning you and the board on the wave, and at the proper speed to allow you to catch the wave. Both take lots of time to learn.
1. As mentioned previously, you are likely too far back on the board. Work to find the proper spot. Keep inching forward until you start consistently nose diving/pearling. Try to stay in that spot, but arch your back as much as possible when paddling, this should shift your weight back enough to prevent pearling, then at that last push, when the nose of the board is out over the trough of the wave, flatten out, pushing your chin to the board like DawnPatrolSUP said above. You can also shift your weight forward a bit by bending your knees. If you're still pearling, try moving back a little bit at a time. You will eventually learn the balancing act after you find the sweet spot, and learn the weight shift thing, and the timing.
2. Positioning on the wave. This is harder to learn, as it is vastly different from beach to beach, tide to tide, swell to swell and even from wave to wave. Every time you go out, try to watch someone who is riding a similar board. See where they put themself on the wave. Study which ones they make, and which they don't make. Spend some time on the beach watching. Then spend some time in the lineup watching. Start going for waves. Take mental notes, make adjustments.
Once you've learned where to be on the board, and where to be on the wave, you will then begin to learn the timing of how to put yourself in the proper position.
Try to go on cleaner days. When there is side chop on a wave, a little piece of side chop can turn a nice makeable section into an impossible section. If you're out on a choppy day, you need to be positioned in the trough between the side chops.
Then there's the timing of when to pop up. This also takes time, and is different from swell to swell and wave to wave. You will eventually learn the feeling when things begin to accellerate, that's when you pop up. Practicing with the tape on the floor will help you get it to a single motion from prone to standing.
If you have the cash, take your friend up on a lesson, see if it helps. He may be a good surfer, but a sucky teacher. Worst case scenario, get him to use the same sized board, and try to mimic what he's doing.
Jul 10, 2014, 03:02 AM #24
Sometimes just a couple pointers from an experienced surfer can go a long way and even get you out of a slump which can occasionally happen.
Surf etiquette is also an important part of surfing.
A lot of good advice here though. Time in the water, trial and error, persistence, and a positive attitude are key. Have fun while learning and enjoy the journey.
Jul 10, 2014, 03:27 AM #25
A ton of great advice here.Watch instruction vids on you tube,watch the pros,and watch surfers at your break.Just like anything in life the more you do it the better you get but I feel with surfing its the hardest learning curve out there so be patient.Water time,water time and more water time.
Jul 10, 2014, 03:38 AM #26
Keep your paddle smooth and strong. When you are speeding it up, its not a spastic flailing of the arms, it still has to be smooth and and pulling you thru the water. Kinda loose finger cup your hands. If there's a bunch of water splashing around, you are doing it wrong (unless you are kicking your feet, which on a 9'8 they should be just up kickin in the air, if they are in the water, you're also doing it wrong).
oh and move your fin all the way to the front of the fin box. That could be whats bogging you down when you stand up. Also make sure theres no knots in your leash. (it happens)
Just dont do anything...the less you do, the more you do...the weather outside is weather...
Jul 10, 2014, 10:37 AM #28Senior Member
- Join Date
- Oct 2013
- Atlantic City
most of us learned without lessons.
most of us think lessons can't hurt.
Jul 10, 2014, 03:25 PM #29Member
- Join Date
- Jun 2014
- New Bedford, MA
Thanks again for all the valuable input guys. Definitely brought out some things that I hadn't thought of yet. Very much appreciated!
My board also came with 2 small side bite fins. I took them off about halfway through my session last Saturday as an experiment, but didn't get a ride after that to be able to really compare anything.
Jul 10, 2014, 03:28 PM #30
Honest question, and please don't take this the wrong way--why do you want to surf? I see so many adult beginners these days, and I guess I just don't get it. When I was a kid, surfing seemed cool, it was fun to goof off in the water with other adolescents, it was fun trying to dodge the older guys, all that. Now if I step back from it it just all seems kind of juvenile, I can't imagine being 40 years old and thinking it was something I wanted to take up as a hobby. And in my mid 30s, I long ago came to the realization that I will never really be that good at this thing, the best I can hope for is to try to age gracefully, maybe become some kind of grizzled weirdo sitting way out the back, whatever. And I've been riding waves for 30 years! What future is there for an adult beginner?
Anyway, as far as advice, almost always in my experience lack of conditioning is not the cause of not catching waves, I mean surfing on a beginner level just isn't that physically demanding. If the beginner has decent technique and board positioning the problem is usually a lack of basic wave knowledge, being able to read incoming waves, know when and where they are going to break. Have you ever ridden a boogie or bodysurfed? If not, you might want to try those things out, spend as much time in the ocean as possible, watching the waves and trying to catch them without worrying about being a "surfer."