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We all want to catch more waves when surfing. The reality is, the more waves we catch the quicker we can improve.
Have you ever noticed how in every line up you have been to the best surfers always seem to be on the best waves and catching twice the number of waves then everyone else? Nine times out of ten, this comes down to positioning. There are a lot of different ways you can think about positioning that cater for what you want. Do you want to get best quality waves or are you strapped for time and just want the most waves in the shortest period of time?
Let’s break down 3 ways that you can improve your positioning in the line up and ultimately catch more waves.
Venue Analysis (Beach Maps)
It may sound overly simple, but identifying where the waves are breaking is the key to ensuring you know where to sit. A venue analysis or a beach map is one of the most important part of positioning in the surf and is done before you even paddle out.
Have you ever rocked up to the beach saw one really good waves as you pulled in to the car park, paddled out thinking you were on, then proceeded to not find a wave the entire surf while everyone else seems to score? A beach map is as simple as a watching the ocean, drawing a map of the beach you are on and ask yourself these questions.
- Where are the best waves breaking and how often?
- Where else are there waves breaking that you want to surf?
- Are they all out the back or are there good waves on the inside or down the line?
Creating space in a crowded line up is all about giving you the best opportunity to catch waves. Have you ever noticed when you go to a busy line up how everyone tends to bunch up together in the one spot. If there are 20 people surfing that only really gives you a 1/20 chance of getting that wave when it comes, when you are all bunched up you can all catch the same waves. Not really the best odds.
Let’s think of this as a sports field, if playing football, basketball, netball or soccer and you can create space between you and your opponents you are far more likely to be able to get possession of the ball. It’s the exact same in the ocean, by creating space between yourself and the other surfers in the line-up your opportunity’s will increase. It only needs to be a couple of meters, people miss waves, fall off and make mistakes all the time. That is your opportunity to capitalise.
Positioning on the peak
Sometimes we get lucky and the surf isn’t crowded. This is when we want to make the most of the ocean and wave knowledge we have so you can get the best waves possible. Our “Beach maps” are just as important for these times so we know where the best waves are breaking, what they look like and how we are going to get there.
Positioning on the peak when taking off sets up the entire waves, too deep and you will get left behind. Too far on the shoulder you can miss the wave or a lot of the potential. If we take off on the peak, or as close as we can we get the most opportunity and the most speed. This is where land marks become super important so we know we are in the best spot.
As with everything in surfing all of these skills take practice to perfect positioning in the line-up is something that will not only improve your surfing but will also make surfing way more fun.