It takes experience to become a better surfer. The more time spent surfing, the more chances of improving your skills. One of the most important skills to have when surfing is the ability to select the best waves. It pretty much boils down to having better and longer waves that will need the least physical effort to paddle into.
Here are a few tips to follow as a guide to better wave selection.
- Observe the swell as it builds in the horizon before you even paddle out. Find out where you should be positioned to catch the waves.
- Check the lineup. Watch the guys that are getting the best waves. Make sure there is a good ratio between the good quality of wave and the size of the crowd.
- Anticipate the changes in the tide as it can affect the surf.
- Determine the average time between sets. This will help you figure out when you should go.
- If you have doubts on a wave that is coming for you, it is best to paddle earlier and get into position so that you are ready when it gets to you.
- Observe and make a mental note of alternative take-off zones in case your initial take-off zone gets more crowded or becomes less perfect.
- Never draw attention or yell when you see a good wave coming. Being discrete can give you an advantage of getting the best waves.
- Learn about the different types of waves and how to best surf them. Then identify the type of waves you are getting at the spot so you can be ready to surf them well.
- Observe the changes in wind speed and direction. Be ready to adapt to the constant changes throughout your session.
- Be patient. It is worth waiting for the best wave.
- Paddle back in from time to time to check the wave breaking conditions as it may have changed.
- It is better to have a small but perfect peeling wave than to go for a six-foot wave that closes out.
While this guide does not guarantee that you will become a better surfer, it may give you an idea to check which things you may have been doing wrong in the past.
At the end of the day, what you need is time to practice your wave selection skills, and it does not happen in front of a computer or mobile device – it happens out there in the ocean. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and practice to improve your wave selection.
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