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# Catching Waves


Once you've mastered paddling around the water, the next step is trying to catch a wave and standing up.
So first off, pick a nice spot where the waves are breaking out the back and the white water is coming through onto the beach. Learning in the white wash is the best way, to get your balance and feel for what, it's like to stand up and ride a wave.

The best thing to do, is walk your board out where you can still stand up, this is also a good time to paddle around a bit if you can between sets, so you can master balancing on your board. Once you see a wave coming towards, turn your board with the nose facing straight into the beach. Jump on to your board, say about ten to fifteen feet before the wave comes to you. Start paddling as strong as you can, you'll feel the wave start to push you, now make sure you feel the waves power pushing you enough, one of the biggest problems for learners, is they try to stand up to quickly, the result usually is the wave then passes them. Try and feel the wave carrying you along, here's the tricky part, in one motion, place your arms out in front of you, holding onto each side of your surfboard, then push your body up (like your doing a push up from the ground), lifting your legs underneath, standing straight onto your feet. If your right handed, 99% of the time, your right leg will be at the back of the board, controlling it's direction, if your left handed it will be your left leg. One of the biggest problems I see beginners do when catching a wave, is they usually sit to far back on the board and are dragging through the water, the wave nine times out of ten will pass you by unless its really powerful. The key just like paddling is finding that sweet spot. To far forward and you'll nose dive it, which can injure you, to far back and you'll find it very difficult to catch a wave, find the balance point and you'll be off and riding before you know it.

Next thing to learn is duck diving. Duck diving is as important as any part of surfing, if you master duck diving your well on your way. For your first experience, again try to find small waves. Start walking out to the waves, with your board under your arm, once you start getting towards the waves, jump on your board and start paddling towards them. Now the key to getting through the wave, is to go either over the top of it, that's if its small, if the white water is big, it will have alot of energy behind it, which means you'll have to use alot of energy to get through it. Now because your a beginner you'll have a bigger board, the bigger the board the harder it is to get out to the waves.... bummer. Now as your paddling towards, the on coming white water, because you've got a big board, you have to get ready a little earlier then when your on a short board. If your on a board any bigger then seven foot, the easiest way to get past the wave is to, flip over so the board is upside down, while still hanging on to your board. Hopefully the on rushing water will pass over your board with the least amount of resistance. Once you feel the wave pass, flip back over and your on your way again.

The other way to get through the wave and probably the best is to go underneath it. Most of the energy is on top of the surface, so get down as deep as you can and you'll save your energy. Again as the wave is approaching you, about one to one and a half meters depending on how big the white wash is, this time slide your arms towards the front of the board. Now push down as hard as you can (as if your doing a push up, take a big breath) it's important as you do this to then in one motion, place your strongest knee in the middle of the board, as you dive down under the wave, try to allow your board to pop up the other side, by relaxing your arms and pulling your knee away, again laying flat on your board, you should burst through the other side ready to paddle again. This takes quite a bit practice and you'll probably only be doing this type of duck diving when you get on a short board.

So now you know how to catch white wash and you feel like you want to get into the real stuff. Now that you've made it all the way out the back where the waves are breaking. Once you get there it's best to sit on your board, and look to where the waves are coming from, sitting gives you the highest point so you can see what's coming. Once you see a wave you want to catch, spin your board around using your legs in a circlular motion (start doing this when the wave is about ten to fifteen feet from you). Start paddling and if you can look over your shoulder, this help's you see when the wave is just about to get to you. Just like the white wash, wait till you feel the wave start to pick you up and carry you, then again try to jump to your feet in one motion. This is where all the fun starts once you catch a wave with a wall of water, usually it's called the green of the wave. The green area is what you want to ride and I tell you now, once you get your first wave where you ride the green area and you start to turn and so on you'll be hooked for life.

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