There’s no feeling quite like catching and riding the surf on a paddleboard. The feat of surfing a wave, doesn’t just happen magically. It takes hard work, practice, lots of perseverance and a whole lot of falling off.
Where do you start? You’ll find that a little direction can go a long way. Through taking a lesson you can get the necessary information regarding safety, how to paddle out, where to position yourself for the waves and techniques for catching and riding the waves.
Even for those who are already catching waves, there’s always room for improvement. Lessons can help take you from basics and streamline your learning process. This includes, identifying the best waves, getting more out of your turns, generating speed, and how to maximize the quality of rides.
To keep things brief, there are 4 elements that go into catching waves.
Positioning – Where are you lining up for the wave? Are you too far out back and missing the waves, too far inside and getting steam rolled by them? Finding the sweet spot can take some time.
Timing – Depending on where you’ve positioned yourself, when do you start to paddle? If you paddle to early, you’ll get ahead of the wave, it will crash and lose it’s power. On the other hand, if you wait and paddle to late, you’ll likely watch the wave go underneath you because you won’t have enough acceleration to catch the wave.
Board Angle – Which direction is your board pointing, when you’re catching the wave? Generally, you’ll want the angle of the board pointed directly at the beach. In steeper waves, you will need to angle a little further down the line, right or left depending on the direction you’ve chosen.
Power – Right as the wave is approaching, you have three to five stokes, allowing you to generate proper acceleration into the wave. These strokes will have to be powerful stokes utilizing your full body.
The 4 elements of catching a wave is just a fraction of what goes into successfully catching and riding waves. There is so much more that an instructor can teach and show you, allowing you to maximize time spent riding the swell, well!
-Glen Pearson, T’ashii Paddle School
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