Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals of catching waves, standing up on your board, and learning how to drop into a wave, it’s time to take your surfing skills to the next level. Maintaining speed is the key to a truly immersive surfing experience. Without sufficient speed, you’ll be unable to access full maneuverability.
Here are a few tips to ramp up your surfing speed:
This may be one of the most important skills to master and one that takes time and practice.
From the shoreline, all waves look pretty much the same to non-surfers. Experienced surfers, however, know how to look out at incoming waves and understand how they will break. Spend at least 10 minutes tracking incoming waves watching how they begin to break in different phases and how the waves slow down or begin to soften. It is important to learn how to read where the peak of the wave is and if it will break left or right. To gain the most speak and most easily catch the wave, it is best to paddle in to the peak. It is also helpful to watch other surfers catch and ride waves before heading out into the water yourself.
Mastering the Bottom Turn
Once you’re out in the water and you’re upright, the key to successful surfing is the first turn at the bottom of the wave. Experienced surfers will tell you that the most important thing to remember is to stay high. Once you’ve mastered it, it’ll feel like second nature, but the trick is to ride to the bottom of the wave while crouching low. Bend your legs and coil your energy like a spring. Use your front foot to gain more speed and your back to slow you down. Your front foot is also important for movement. At the bottom of the wave, spring up straight until you’re high up on the wave face. This will give you a boost of speed that will propel you forward into your next move. Another trick to turn back up in to the wave is to extend your back arm out towards this wave, this will automatically turn your body.
Hug the Pocket
When it comes to boosting speed, your goal is to borrow as much energy as you can from the wave. Experienced surfers call this riding the pocket, the curl or center of the wave’s power source. A great way to build up speed is to use classic “S” turns to pump your legs and board to build up a head of speed. Go high on the wave and then low, flexing from a bent, coiled position to being more fully upright, using the increase in speed to go down the wave even faster as your next step.
Keep a Clean Board
It’s understandable that you’re in a hurry to get out there on the water and begin surfing. But always be sure that your board, especially the bottom, is clean and free of wax. If your board has fins, these need to be spotlessly clean as well. Remember, the cleaner your board, the faster you will move through the water.
Probably the best way to read waves and understand how to tackle them when it’s your turn is by watching other surfers line up and then surf back to shore. You might get tips from watching experienced surfers and how they each uniquely address each wave, but even observing beginners can help illustrate how the waves are breaking. Relax, and remember that surfing is about fun and is a wholesome sport. If you are having fun and enjoying yourself, you will surf better. The best way to get better is to learn from every experience and to keep practicing!
About Manuel Antonio Surf School and Camp
The Manuel Antonio Surf School and it’s Endless Olas Surf Camp (MASS) is the premier surf school in Costa Rica. MASS and their team of experienced local coaches help teach surfers of all abilities and experience how to make the most of the world-class surfing opportunities in Costa Rica. Fully licensed water safety experts, the coaches of MASS use advanced video capture and wave motion techniques to assist surfers from around the world improve on and learn to enjoy one of the world’s oldest sports. MASS also organized adventure tours in the area, including horseback riding, whitewater rafting, canoeing, hiking, and bird watching.