Surfing is an exhilarating and challenging sport that requires a combination of strength, balance, and technique. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, mastering the right techniques can help you ride bigger waves, perform more advanced maneuvers, and ultimately take your surfing to the next level.
In this article, we’ll share tips and techniques from professional surfers on how to improve your surfing skills and become a better rider.
Practice Your Paddle Technique
Paddling is the foundation of surfing, and a strong and efficient paddle technique is essential for catching waves and positioning yourself in the lineup. Professional surfers recommend using your core muscles and engaging your lats to generate power in your paddle strokes, rather than relying solely on your arms.
To improve your paddle technique, practice your strokes in flat water and focus on using your whole body to generate power. Aim to paddle with long, deep strokes rather than short, choppy ones, and keep your body low and balanced on the board.
Learn to Read the Waves
Reading the waves is a crucial skill for surfers, as it allows you to anticipate the direction and size of the waves and position yourself accordingly. Professional surfers recommend watching the waves for a few minutes before paddling out, observing the direction and frequency of the sets, and identifying the channels or rip currents where the waves are breaking.
When paddling out, aim to position yourself on the shoulder of the wave rather than directly in front of it, as this will give you more time to pop up and ride the wave. Once you’re on the wave, focus on riding the face and using your body weight to steer and maneuver.
Master the Pop-Up
The pop-up is a fundamental skill in surfing, and a smooth and fluid pop-up can make all the difference in catching waves and performing maneuvers. Professional surfers recommend starting with a strong and stable stance, with your feet shoulder-width apart and parallel to the board’s stringer.
To perform the pop-up, place your hands flat on the board just below your shoulders, and push up with your arms to lift your chest and hips off the board. As you pop up, bring your back foot forward and place it next to your front foot, with your knees bent and your weight centered over the board.
Practice your pop-up on dry land or in small waves, focusing on a smooth and fluid motion that minimizes any unnecessary movements or wobbles.
Focus on Your Body Positioning
Body positioning is key to successful surfing, as it allows you to control your speed, balance, and maneuverability on the wave. Professional surfers recommend focusing on keeping your weight centered over the board, with your shoulders and hips aligned and facing the direction you want to go.
To maintain control and balance, keep your arms extended and slightly bent, and use your upper body to shift your weight and steer the board. Avoid leaning too far forward or back, as this can cause you to lose speed or wipe out.
Practice Different Maneuvers
Once you’ve mastered the basics of surfing, it’s time to start practicing more advanced maneuvers and tricks. Professional surfers recommend starting with simple turns and cutbacks, gradually building up to more advanced maneuvers like airs and barrels.
To practice different maneuvers, focus on your body positioning and weight distribution, and experiment with different angles and speeds. Watch videos of professional surfers and study their techniques and approaches, and don’t be afraid to try new things and push yourself out of your comfort zone.