We all have surf sessions during which we wished we’d caught a lot more waves. Whether the spot was too crowded, your knowledge of the wave was poor, or the number of waves coming through was limited, the feeling of an unsatisfying surf session isn’t fun. Below are a few tips you can try to apply to catch more waves during your next session.
Communicating with other surfers in the water can sometimes help you get more waves. "Are you going for that one? Are you going left, or right?
"Simple, short communication with fellow surfers can avoid situations where you get in the way, and it can get you more waves. Sometimes you may not go on a wave because you think a surfer will take it. When you see that surfer finally going towards another wave, it’s too late for you to catch it. Communication can be helpful in cases like those.
Some waves offer both a “right” and a “left”. They are commonly referred to as “A-frames”. Communicating will help you know in what direction another surfer wants to surf to.
As you get to the beach, take a few minutes to analyze the surf spot. The daily surf conditions might be different than usual. There might be more surfers around a certain area, and some less crowded peaks.
Sometimes it’s worth it to try a different peak, one that is less crowded. Waves might not be as perfect, but you could catch a lot more waves.
“Sitting inside” means waiting for waves further back than most of the other surfers. This way, you can catch the smaller, less perfect waves that surfers in front of you don’t want, or can’t paddle for.
Sitting inside can be a great way to increase your wave count, but it requires experience because:
Sitting inside means quantity over quality. You won’t catch the “wave of the day”, but you might catch many more waves since there are fewer people, less hassle for waves.
Especially on beach breaks, don’t get stuck in one spot, unless you found a good one. Go explore a bit. Try different spots, look around and try to see where most waves are breaking with consistency.
Always keep your head up for opportunities. A great wave can come in unexpected moments. In this example, the surfer who is paddling for the wave wasn’t sitting and waiting to get a wave, he was simply paddling back from his last ride. When he sees the other surfer wiping out, he quickly turns around and catches the bonus wave.
Not enough volume, too much rocker, or the wrong surfboard dimensions for your level can make it hard to catch waves, especially when more experienced surfers are around you. The right surfboard for your level and for the daily surf conditions can make the difference between catching 20 waves, or no wave at all!
This can work really well on point breaks and reef breaks. You can sit further down the line and wait for either wider waves, for a surfer to wipe-out on a wave, or for a surfer who can’t make a section. When you notice nobody is on the wave, it’s yours!
Sometimes you need to be more selective, take your time and save your energy for the good waves. Paddling for any bump that comes around will get you tired and might make it more difficult for you to get some quality waves.
Commit to the waves you want to catch. Don’t hesitate, go for it! Not sure exactly what is the ultimate paddle technique? Click here.
Sitting and waiting for waves around very experienced surfers is a bad idea if you are a beginner-intermediate. Unless they are your friends and they are willing to share some waves with you, experienced surfers will always read the waves faster than you, so you will have a hard time getting priority for waves.
The better you get at the art of reading waves, the more waves you will catch. (See course: "how to read waves")
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