Catching Your First Wave
Catching waves on a SUP can be a humbling experience – especially when you feel confident paddling in the flat water.
Here’s a few tips to help make your transition into the waves easier.
Do 3 more strokes than you think you need. It is always better to be out in front of the wave rather than falling off the back of it.
Offset your feet
Traditionally, standing with your feet in a parallel stance is your most powerful and comfortable position. But when moving to the ocean, this stance does not let you transfer weight forwards and backwards on the board. You don’t need to go to the extreme of a full surf stance – this can cause more problems than it solves! Just take one step backwards, so that one set of toes are in line with your other heel.
Paddle straight out
Ultimately the ideal situation is to paddle out where there are no waves and not get in anyone’s way. But this isn’t always possible. The best way to get out through the waves is to have the nose of your board facing directly into the waves and rock slightly backwards to lift the nose of your board over the wave. If your board is sideways (parallel to the wave) or even at a slight angle, the wave will want to push you off. You want to present the wave with the smallest area possible to hit, hence why lining the board up to face straight into the wave is best. Remember – speed is your friend. The faster you can go into the wave, the less likely you are to fall off.
Catching a Wave
Turning circle/Paddle straight
Remember all that time you spent practising kick turns on the flat water? Now is the time that is going to pay off. While waiting for a wave, you want to be facing out to sea so that you can see the wave coming. Figure out how many strokes it is going to take you to turn around 180’ and to be moving directly for the shore just before the wave is about to break.
Commit to a wave
When you see a wave coming position yourself correctly and paddle as hard as you can to get yourself onto the wave. Once you have started paddling for the wave, that indicates to others in the line-up that is your wave and to give you some space. It’s very frustrating for others when a person half paddles for a wave and then pulls off, only to let the wave go unridden because they haven’t committed to the wave.
3 more strokes than you think
It’s common to fall off the back of the waves in your initial attempts. Quite often, people stop paddling when they feel the initial push of the wave. When you do feel this, make sure you do 3 more strokes than you think you need. It is always better to be out in front of the wave rather than falling off the back of it. This ties in perfectly with the previous point.
If you haven’t moved your feet fully into a surf stance by now, it is time to do so. By starting with your feet slightly offset, it will mean you don’t have to take such a large step at this point. However, if you do not move your feet backwards, you’ll find yourself nose diving. And that’s not so much fun!
These are just a few basic tips to help make the move into the world of surfing easier, but the best thing is time and practice. Our Cottesloe Spot Check tells you where to to find easy waves in Perth.
If you would like to book in a one-on-one surf lesson, call us on 08 9335 5636 and we’ll organise a time and spot that works for you.