You’ve made it. You are out the back. You’ve graduated from the Whitewash. You’ve started catching small green waves. And ready to tackle bigger waves….or maybe not so ready after all. All of a sudden, you might find yourself pulling back when you look down the wave because you are scared off the drop or all of a sudden you start nose-diving again. It might feel like you are back at the starting line Don’t despair gidgets. You are doing really well for being out there in first place. It takes a little bit of time to get used to bigger waves, a bigger drop and different timings.
It’s a balancing act. Firstly, you want to get enough speed up so the waves takes you with you and you can ride it. The bigger the wave the faster you need to paddle (That’s why there is tow-in surfing on 20ft waves – it’s fairly hard to paddle into those). Once the wave catches up with you, it’s important that the wave doesn’t ‘overtake you’ and you are in the right position for the wave to get you gliding.
If you lean in too much at that point of time with too much weight on the front of the board, you are likely to nose dive (oh that all to familiar feeling). So it’s important that right at the time when you catch that wave to put a bit of weight on the back of your board by popping up (or lifting your upper body). That way you keep the board from nose-diving.
Paddle Paddle Paddle
Some of you might find it easier to catch some bigger greener waves is when someone pushes you on. The reason it’s easier when someone’s pushing you onto the wave is because you’ve got some extra speed.
But you can do that yourself. The best tip I’ve ever received was paddle for every wave as hard as you can. Hard doesn’t necessarily mean crazy overboard superfast that the board gets wobbly but in loooong, even, controlled strokes. If you get some decent speed up, you’ll have more time for the take-off.
Once you start paddling, truly commit – tell yourself you can do it and go for it. Set an intention before you paddle. I can get this wave. No matter if you are a beginner or a more advanced gidget, commitment is key. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you truly commit. I had my biggest wipe-outs when I was hesitant.
If you are struggling to get on your feet in time, take some waves on the belly without worrying about getting up. Paddle – once you caught the wave, lift your upper body (remember we want to get that weight to the back) and just do a little body surf. That way you’ll see it’s not that bad. Just observe what I’ve described above.
When you are comfortable with the drop, the trick is to get to your feet as quickly as possible in exactly the right moment. Again, you want to get that weight on the back of your board so you don’t nose-dive. Keep on practicing pop-ups at home out of the water. So your brain internalises the pop-up motion and all you have to think off when catching those green waves is timing.
Oh and one more thing – DON’T LOOK DOWN – always look where you going! If you look down, you’ll be going down i.e. nose dive.
And last but not least, patience gidgets. You’ll see gradually you’ll build your confidence and surf bigger and bigger green waves. Rome wasn’t built in a day… You’ll get there in your own time.
Also, everyone might have different limits for themselves. I know some amazing surfers who hate surfing anything beyond three foot. At the same time, some other peeps don’t even head out there unless it’s four foot +. It’s really up to you what you are comfortable.
Happy Surfing ~