Improve Your Surfing
Okay, so you’ve had a lesson, you’ve caught the surfing bug and want to spend all your time in the water. Everybody learns at a different pace but no matter whether you’re a natural or struggling to just lie on the board, you’ll now spend considerable time in the white water mastering the basics.
Once you feel confident paddling and catch waves, popping up, riding straight to the beach and handling the white water, then it’s time to learn new skills.
So what’s next?
Your next step will be to paddle out back and start catching unbroken waves.
Catching unbroken waves
·Start off in small surf (2-3ft). To catch an unbroken wave, you’ll need to be able to paddle “out back”, the area beyond the impact zone of white water.
·Wait for a lull before paddling. When a broken wave approaches, accelerate your paddling then press down on your board to push the board through the wave.
·When you reach the line-up (the area where surfers sit to wait for waves) sit up on your surfboard, looking out to sea, so that you can easily see approaching waves.
·With experience you’ll find that your ability to read waves will improve. Initially just take a while to watch the waves and note where other surfers are catching waves. Pay attention to where the waves are peaking and which way they’re breaking (right or left).
·Timing is critical when paddling for unbroken waves. If you paddle too soon you won’t catch the wave, if you paddle too late you’ll go “over the falls”. Once a wave peaks and begins to feather (looking as if it’s about to break), then it’s possible to catch it.
·Select a peaking wave and angle your board in the direction that the wave is breaking. You want the white water behind you, pushing you along the green water of the wave.
·Paddle fast down the wave face. Once you feel yourself taking off you must pop-up immediately. When on your feet, look down the line and attempt to surf along the unbroken wall until the wave closes out.
·Well done! Now you’re no longer a ‘beginner’ surfer. Once you have caught your first unbroken wave you’ll find it impossible to go back to surfing white water!
A simple and useful skill for getting out back is the duck dive. This technique involves ducking under approaching waves to avoid their impact. As the surfer paddles towards the wave they pick a point to submerge, generally just before the white water hits them.
1.Start by using your arms to push the nose of the board under water.
2.As the nose starts to submerge, use one knee to push the tail under water as well.
3.Once submerged keep a downward pressure on the board.
4.When the wave passes over you, pull the nose of the board back towards your body while still pushing with your knee, this will cause you to pop out at the back of the wave.
A quality bottom turn gives you the speed and drive necessary to perform most other manoeuvers.
·As you drop down to the bottom of the wave, lower your body, bending at the knees and waist to a crouched position.
·Lean off your surfboard, over your inside rail until you can practically touch the wave face with your hand. This puts the board on its rail.
·Once you have made the turn release the rail and come out of the crouched position preparing for your next manoeuvre.
This manoeuvre involves a committed approach where the surfer aims to hit the lip of the wave.
·As you come out of your bottom turn, using the speed and drive generated when doing that turn, fix your eyes firmly on a point on the lip of the wave and aim for that point.
·Before hitting this point, twist your upper body back towards the base of the wave.
·As you descend from the lip, centre your body back over the stringer and crouch to absorb the impact of landing.
A cutback is used to bring the surfer back to the power zone of the wave (the area closest to the breaking white water).
·Begin the cutback by lowering into a crouched position, lean over the outside rail while twisting your upper body towards the white water.
·Keep this position until you see the whitewater.
·Just before hitting the whitewater, straighten then twist your upper body in the opposite direction.
·Centre back over board and crouch to absorb impact.
A floater is a linking manoeuvre used to get over a section of breaking water that is too long to get around.
·The floater begins with a flat entry angle on to the section; then you must keep your weight forward with your head over your front knee as you ‘float’ over the section.
·To come back down, twist your upper body towards the shore, centre over board and crouch to absorb the impact as you land.
Fitness for Surfing
Surfing is a whole body activity that requires endurance, strength and flexibility. Greater fitness will enable you to surf for longer, improve you performance in the water and will help prevent injury. As the amount of time you spend surfing depends on surf conditions and how often you get the beach, the following tips will help you improve your stamina, strength and flexibility whilst out of the water.
Stoking your stamina
Endurance can be improved through aerobic activity such as running, cycling, paddling or swimming. Swimming in particular is a great exercise for surfing, as along with improving fitness it gives a surfer greater confidence in the water. Anybody who doesn’t get to surf regularly can really benefit from swimming. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five times a week.
Strength can often be a problem, particularly those new to the sport. Surfing requires strong muscles in your upper body, legs and arms. These areas can be developed with strength exercises such as weights, press-ups, sit-ups and squats. Aim for 30 minutes of strength workout two of three times a week.
Flexibility training increases a surfer’s mobility and suppleness, improves muscle tension and encourages relaxation. Flexibility can be maintained and increased through muscle stretching exercises. A surfer should stretch daily for at least 20 minutes and should warm-up prior to getting into the water. Joining a yoga class is an idea way to maintain and improve body suppleness.