Positioning yourself properly not only on your board but on a wave is vital for your success in surfing and as a learner surfer, this may be something that you can have a harder time with. Today, I will be sharing with you how to position yourself on a wave for take-off. This question is one of the main questions that I get with new members of our online surf programs and private Facebook group.
What you need to remember is that there are a lot of things that play a part in catching a wave. It’s not as simple as going to the ocean and grabbing a board, though that is surely a great place to start. Simply put, these are the things you’d want to consider to properly position yourself to catch a wave for take-off.
1. YOU NEED TO IDENTIFY HOW FAST THE WAVE IS MOVING.
Knowing the environment that you’d be surfing in is important. Even when you are already used to a particular surf spot, you have to remember that conditions change. How fast a wave is moving is something that you have to consider as it will help you know when it’s time to paddle, move, transition, etc.
2. YOU HAVE TO CONSIDER WHERE YOU ARE IN REGARDS TO THE PEAK OF THE WAVE.
When waiting for a wave to come or deciding whether to take a wave or not, you have to consider whether or not you are in the right place concerning the peak of the wave. You wouldn’t want to commit to a wave without thinking of the factors that come with riding a wave.
3. YOU WANT TO UNDERSTAND HOW FAR DO YOU NEED TO PADDLE TO GET TO THE PEAK, AND WHERE THE WAVE IS GOING TO BREAK
I have said this so many times, analyze the ocean and the waves. Standing on the beach is just as important as when you are on the water. Look at other surfers and consider where they are paddling towards and where are they taking the waves from. Lastly, where do the waves break just as much as knowing how to position yourself on a wave you need to know how to safely get out of one.
On top of this, you want to ask yourself the question "do I have enough time to get myself into position?". As you can see, whether you are a mathematician or not, there are some very important calculations to make, before catching a wave becomes possible.
My secret that I’d love to share with you today is, “When you decide that you are going to paddle for a wave, commit 100%. Don't hesitate halfway through, but paddle with intent.”
If you successfully catch it, then make a mental note of everything you did and considered, so you can replicate that. If you don't manage to catch the wave, try to figure out what went wrong (look at your timing and positioning) and compare it to when you were successful. What did you do differently? It's a huge advantage if you can get a friend that shoots a video of you catching waves, so you can actually see what worked and what didn't.
Check out this surfing program that I made to learn more about positioning and timing.