KNOWING THE RIGHT WAVES TO CATCH.
Do you often end up nose-diving or having to pull-back off the wave because it’s too steep? Do you miss some of the waves you paddle for?
Some waves are definitely easier to deal with than others…
If you’re riding whitewater, you need an even wave which has already broken before you attempt to catch it (an unbroken one, when you’re learning, will almost always result in a nose-dive).
Choose a wave which doesn’t have another wave breaking close in front of it (you need enough time to lie on your board and start paddling before it reaches you). The better waves are those running parallel to the shore, not off on an angle (if you try to ride on an angle at this stage, the wave will want to flip your board over).
If you’re attempting green (unbroken) waves, you need to train your eyes to look for a particular shaped wave. It helps to surf with someone who knows that shape – watch them and learn. Remember, it’s not about the size of the wave – it’s the shape. You want the ones which peel along, all the way to the beach, right! (instead of the ones where you do a big, scary take-off, then end up with whitewater crashing all around you – bouncing your way towards the shore)
This is the shape – an almond shape, which tapers off at the end. Positioning is critical, so you need to start paddling when that taper is quite small (by the time you’re ready to stand up, the breaking part of the wave will be closer to you – see video below).
Angle the board slightly across the wave (in the direction the wave’s breaking), rather than point straight towards shore. Paddle hard!
Try to assess the approaching waves carefully, and select the better waves which will give you better riding potential.
Watch this Quicktip video a few times, to get the wave shape.