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Catching a Wave 101

How to Catch a Wave for Beginners

Learn to SurfSo you want to surf? Okay, then let's talk about how to catch a wave! Here is your beginner’s guide.

On Choosing Your First Waves

When you start to surf, you want to focus on smaller, close waves; they will be easier than the bigger, battering kind that are further out from shore.

As you head out into the water, carry your board properly at arm’s length with one hand on each rail. Do not hold the board in front of your face; it could knock your face if a wave gets behind it in that position. Also stay safe by looking around to make sure you won’t get into anyone’s surfing path.

Catch That First Wave

Get out to a comfortable depth where the white water is rolling in the direction of the beach. Hold your surfboard at your side, with the nose toward the beach. When a small wave comes close to you that you think can hold you, push the board toward the beach and simultaneously pull yourself on the board, so you lay face down on it.

Paddle with your arms as the wave builds behind you. As the wave picks you up, keep paddling and note that your speed increases. Keep practicing this way, at first, without standing up yet. This will help you to focus on getting on the board, improving your timing and give more confidence with your paddling abilities.

Troubleshooting Catching a Wave

You may find you get thrown off your surfboard. If so, you are probably too far forward; just move a bit back on the board and you should be more stable. As well, the next time a wave starts taking you, arch back a bit so more weight is put on your legs and thighs.

With time, you can move to the next lesson, which is to develop your paddling skills, and then stand on the surfboard. For now, you will catch the white water portion of the wave as you excel at what you learned in your first surfing lesson. Way to go!

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