Surfing is a surface water sport in which you are carried by a breaking wave on a surfboard. There are various kinds of surfing: regular stand-up surfing, kneeboarding, bodyboarding, bodysurfing and tow-in surfing. Tow-in surfing involves motorized craft to tow the surfer onto the wave. It is associated with surfing huge waves, which are extremely difficult to ride and sometimes impossible to catch by paddling down the face, due to their rapid forward motion.
Surfers represent a diverse culture that depends on the naturally occurring process of ocean waves. Some people practice surfing as a recreational activity while others demonstrate extreme devotion to the sport by making it the central focus of their lives.
One of the keys to good surfing is learning how to correctly paddle the surfboard. A good paddler catches plenty of waves while poor paddlers spend most of their time and energy missing them. Here are a few tips on how to get the most out of your surfing by developing your paddling skills.
The beginner frequently has difficulty paddling because of poor body positioning on the board. If you are too far back on the board it will tilt up in the front and you will be pushing water, this will slow you down. If you are too far forward on your surfboard then the nose will sink or pearl. Remember, your surfboard is balanced correctly and under control when the nose is one or two inches out of the water. The flatter the board is on the surface of the water the better it will glide.
Try to feel comfortable on your board, be centered and look closely at the tip as you begin paddling. Paddle one arm at a time. Stretch the arm outright, fingertips pointed and together and have the hand enter the water smoothly. Bring the arm down and through, making sure to complete the stroke at the finish. Keep your eyes focused towards the tip of your board to make sure that the surfboard is flat on the water and that you are pointed straight in toward the beach. This will help you get the right angle into the wave.
When you are paddling out to get to the surf, take your time and don’t rush. Depending on where you are surfing, the first paddle out from shore can be difficult and you can get tired quickly. You may have to paddle a long way or for a long time, so take it easy, don’t burn out. The difficulty in paddling out is more due to the prevailing surf conditions and how well you deal with the oncoming surf, than it is how fast you can paddle.
When you try to paddle in to the whitewater wave, or if you have advanced to the outside, you must sprint to catch the wave. Eight or nine of the hardest deepest strokes that you can summon up. You must bring the surfboard up to speed as the oncoming wave rushes up from behind, while remaining perpendicular to the wave.
The whitewater is where beginners start their surfing experience. You want to spend enough time in the whitewater to learn how to pop up on your board and land in the sweet spot so you can ride. The whitewater wave pushes the board across the flat water. This gives beginners as much time as is necessary to get up on their feet. Later on, after figuring out the landing in the whitewater, you can try the more exciting green wave on the outside. The green wave is far more challenging because of its slope, and should only be attempted after meeting success in the whitewater.
When catching and riding whitewater waves, try to be selective. You want a wave that has enough power to move you along for a good distance. Choose waves that look organized and are moving straight in toward the beach.
Walk out holding on to your surfboard near the nose, with most of the board training behind you. Try to always keep your board pointed straight out as you head out, or straight in as you get ready to go on the wave. Avoid letting your surfboard swing around sideways or the next onrushing wave may return your board into you in an unfriendly manner. Walk out just past your waist and then see if you have enough time to turn your board around. If so, lift your board in the middle using two hands and point it straight toward the beach.
The only three things that matter in catching the whitewater are: the board and the wave must be perpendicular to one another, the body must be centered properly on the board, and the board must be already moving into the beach when the wave hits you. So, as your wave approaches you, line up the board so it is pointed straight towards the beach, and when the wave is about 10 yards away, jump onto your board and begin to paddle. As you go you must keep your board perpendicular and flat. Too much angle to the beach will cause the board to flip over. You must also have your body centered correctly. If the wave hits you and you are too far forward on your surfboard, you will pearl or nosedive. Too far back on the board and you won’t catch the wave.
You will need 7 or 8 strokes to get up enough speed to catch the wave. As the whitewater wave rushes onto the back of the board, stop paddling and hold on tight to the rails at chest level. As the wave hits you hold tight. You will then feel the wave pick you up and propel you in front of it. Now is when you want to pop up, landing in the middle of the board.
Timing and wave judgement are crucial and your success rate will increase as your timing improves. Most beginners will spend anywhere from three to five days learning the hop-up and figuring out how to balance on the board in the whitewater before they are ready to attempt paddling out and riding the unbroken waves.
Keeping your surfboard flat underneath you while you surf can only be accomplished after you understand how to keep your weight centered in the middle of the board. Here are a few tips on how to get it done.
When you surf, you stand sideways on the surfboard. With either the right foot near the back, which is called « regularfoot », or with the left foot towards the back, which is called « goofyfoot ».
It is the upper part of your body that needs to be most centered. Keep your hips centered over your feet and legs shoulder width apart. Then you can use weight shifts by applying more weight to one foot or the other to keep the board flat. The flatter the board stays the farther you will go on the wave.
When you land on the surfboard your front foot should be near the center and your back foot about 18 inches to two feet from the back. The wider apart you can spread them the better, as you will need a wide low stable stance in order to rise up and be in control of the board.
To come up to your feet after catching a wave you need to grab your board at the rail. It is very important that you reach back to the middle of your chest, right at the bottom of your ribcage, just like when doing a push-up
First, bring the shoulders up until the elbows lock, while leaving your knees on the back of the board. Now summon all of your strength, and using your stomach and leg muscles kick your hips up as high as they will go. Bring your feet off the back of the surfboard and bring them underneath you and land in the middle of the board.
Both feet leave the board at the same time and both feet land back down at the same time. Be careful not to bring the back foot up too far or your stance will be too narrow. Once you begin to land in the middle the surfboard, it will remain flat so you can release your hands from the rails and rise.
As you come up into the stance, continue looking at your surfboard as you may need to start shifting your weight right away. Once you are up well, look to the beach and you are surfing! Practice this technique in the whitewater until you can come up and surf at least half of the time. Then you will be ready to paddle out.
Once the surf reaches the head high to a few feet overhead zone paddling out will be an issue unless you are surfing a spot with a good channel or you are surfing a point where you can paddle out around the energy instead of through it. If not, strap on your paddling muscles. It´s not about how fast you can paddle as much as how well you deal with the oncoming surf.
When paddling out we must consider the whitewater the enemy. Whenever possible you will want to lift up and go over the soup or dive down to go under the white stuff. The bad news is that because you are a beginner you must be on a bigger board in order to surf and bigger boards don’t dive under well. So, you are going to be stuck on the surface where all of the energy is.
When encountering an onrushing whitewater wave, try to go straight into it. As perpendicular as possible, the more off angle the wave hits you the more ground you will lose.
Walk out as far as possible, jumping over the waves while holding on tight to your board. Once you are out to chest deep wait for a calm period, or a lull before you start your paddle out. When you come to a small whitewater wave simply lift your upper body up by grabbing the rails of your surfboard at the ribcage and lift your head and shoulders above the white stuff. This method works fine until the waves get bigger.
Bigger waves will be more powerful and all of that energy is up on the surface where you are so you have to go under to get out. Jus.
Bigger waves will be more powerful and all of that energy is up on the surface where you are so you have to go under to get out. Just before the wave is going to slam you, you must turn the board upside down, you being under the board. Grab the rails tight, keep it close to the upper body and stay upside down until the wave rolls over you.
When the wave is over, roll back into paddling position and get moving until the next wave approaches you.
If you find that the waves are more powerful than you thought and you are not in total control of your surfboard then you should not try to go all of the way out. Stay inside and work on your skills and get stronger for the next swell.