So – now that you’re wonderfully trained, grab your loyal 7’8’’ BIC Board and drag it to the beach. Of course you got informed about the spot from the Stormrider Guide, you chatted with the locals, you observed the currents and the general conditions, the weather, the swell direction, the wave height, the wave intervals, the wind strength and direction and you obviously also checked the tides. Now get yourselves warmed up so that you limit the injury risk and to increase your paddling strength for the first sets. Then do some takeoff dry runs on the beach. Now you can get started.
…of course almost nobody does all of this. But: especially in new spots these points are really essential. Take it as an ideal checklist. Alright; so imagine you have your first week of classes at Atlantik Surf behind you. Now you’re allowed to get a board and plunge into the waves outside of class, too. But how was that with the paddling, the takeoff and the right position on the board? Sooo – here we go again starting first with paddling.
You’re lying on the middle of the board so that the nose of your board sticks a few centimeters out of the water when you’re paddling fast. Your legs are parallel to each other and *do not* hang left and right on the rails. Your body is tense from the neck to the lower back, so that neither your torso, nor your board move left and right when you paddle. So far, so good. Now comes the harder part: you have to read the coming waves correctly and position yourselves accordingly, so that you’re at the right moment in the spot where the lip of the wave is just about to break. This is a matter of experience and comes only with practice.
The good news is: the cleaner the sets, the easier it is to recognize the emergence of a wave. So this means: always remain in motion because only like this will you get the waves in the perfect place. When you got there, it’s essential to quickly turn your board (‘dry’ turning practice in the water helps here too, for instance during set breaks) and then lie on the board in the direction of the beach with a 90° angle towards the wave. When you’re at the right place, 2-3 strokes should be enough and – swoosh – you’re already in the wave. In the beginning it’s better to do a few more strong strokes, because you often didn’t read the waves well enough to be in the perfect spot. Paddle as long as you see fit, until the wave takes you with it. And then do 3 more paddle moves. Most of all, it’s important that at the sight of the coming wave you don’t switch to panic mode and then wildly paddle with the legs besides the board. Rather a few clean, especially strong strokes. I will explain the rest in the next post.