Learn About Surfing : Basics Of Surfing

July 30, 2009


Riding waves is the focus of this installment of our guide to how to surf.

The first part of learning how to surf is knowing what waves are right for you. With much smaller ones you may get stuck in the water due to a lack of power or be unable to remain standing up. When it comes to big waves they may take your board right from underneath you. The perfect size wave for newbies are between 3-4 feet in height (1-1.5 m).

Good waves form into a gradual ‘C’ shape from a rounded swell of water. Position yourself on the swell as it is becoming ‘C’-shaped and begin to paddle. You want to be lying on your board, stomach down, with your head toward the shore and paddle with a freestyle stroke, alternating your arms. Check on the wave’s speed and direction by periodically looking over your shoulder while you gain momentum.

While lying down, your toes should be pointing straight down toward the board. Make sure your elbows are in close to your body, similar to a push up position. At the moment you feel the wave begin to lift you need to change from your lying down position on your board to a a crouching one (this movement is called the pop-up).

Whip your feet underneath your body, still gripping the sides of your board (referred to as the rails), so that they land roughly the same distance ahead of and behind the board’s midpoint. Your feet should be on the board’s stringer (the center line), each angled out a bit.

While tucking your knees into your chest gradually increase the tension of your feet against the board, let go of the sides of the board as you begin to stand up. Once standing, keep your knees bent and be sure to keep one arm forward and one back, extended.

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