Knowing which way to go on a wave will mean the difference between just catching a wave, and catching a great wave! Go the wrong way and you’ll soon end up in the white water being washed in towards the beach. Go the correct way and you’ll hopefully find yourself on a long, clean, unbroken wave. But, how do you know which is the correct way to go on a wave?
When you first start surfing you’ll probably find you end up catching the wave straight in towards the beach. This can be great fun but limits what you’ll be able to do on the wave, as you’ll soon be in the foamy white water heading towards the shore.
Ideally you want to be on the unbroken (clean) part of the wave, as close to the breaking part (peak) as possible. This part of the wave has the best power and shape, allowing you to gain lots of speed and carry out manoeuvres in the steepest section of the wave.
Choosing your surf spot carefully you’ll be able to find a wave that breaks consistently in the same direction. This makes it easier to know where exactly along the wave to catch it and which way to go once on the wave. But all waves break differently so it’s important to look carefully at the wave you plan to catch to find out which way you need to paddle i.e left or right, to stay on the unbroken wave. So, whether you’re standing on the beach or out on the water, take some time to watch the waves and understand how they’re breaking.
With a bit of practice and choosing your waves carefully you’ll soon be catching lots of glassy, unbroken waves and then be ready to start thinking about the next step… What can I do now I’m on a wave?
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Feature image : Martin schoppler
Extra footage : Clive Boaden