JUSTIN WEST EXPLAINS HOW TO CATCH A GREEN WAVE
NOSE TO TAIL CONTROL
Check your paddling position on your surfboard. The nose should be just out of the water with your head held as high as possible using your lower back muscles and glutes. Check this by paddling and lowering your chin to the board, the weight of your head should push the nose underwater, lift your head up again and pull your surfboard nose out of the water. This is "nose to tail" control.
Using this skill combined with better timing and wave awareness will help with a controlled take off. Always start to paddle for the wave with your head high, pressure on the tail of the board can help you stall the board slightly giving you time to go from prone to stance and stay higher in the wave. If you are slightly out of position, dropping your chin to the board or pressure to the nose helps you match the gravitational potential energy of the wave and also the tail is more open to be lifted by the wave energy itself.
RAIL TO RAIL CONTROL
As you are paddling for the wave, once you have caught the wave prone you will be making some decisions on the angle you will drop the wave. This will be determined by your position, the wave shape & speed. In a previous blog we spoke about always watching the shape of the wave as you paddle for it & look down the line.
On smaller faster waves you might want to take a higher line, larger slower breaking less walled up waves you may want to draw a long arcing bottom turn to set you up for a top turn and a hundred variations between!
The key to the angle you take the wave is determined by your approach and where you engage your rail. Rail to rail control can be gained whilst paddling through pressure on the left or right lower ribs and looking in the direction you wish to go. Secondly as your hands come to the rail in the stand up routine you can decide to keep pressure through your hands on the desired rail as you perform the stand up. Combine both these techniques and the subtleties & consistency of weight distribution through paddling to stand up will help gain control in your take off.
The line you take is dependent on your position, wave awareness of what the wave is going to do.
Shane Dorian through his vast experience & agility can shift his body weight rail to rail, nose to tail and control his take off line with awesome accuracy. Shane makes dropping into a wave like this look easy and with complete control.
It is so difficult to get to a high level of surfing; for most surfers these subtleties of movement control are instinctive through repetition from such a young age. With the help of a coach & video analysis it is very possible to improve your take off and increase your wave count.
Justin West offers pro surf coaching & physical training from intermediate to elite levels both in the Algarve, Maldives & Madagascar.