Coaches and internet tutorials abound, but there are some less obvious tricks to shredding:

1. Successfully Ride A Backhand Tube
For many of us the backhand tube is so rare that when it happens, we don’t know what to do. We usually panic, when the exact opposite is what’s needed. Remember that because your back is facing the wave, you don’t have a clear view of the pitching lip, and this is what is unsettling. Get over the fear that you’re going to get smacked on the head by the lip, and you’re half way there. Then, grabbing your outside rail will stabilise you, and contort you body so that you can partially see what the lip is doing. (This is aptly called the ‘pig-dog’ style). Grabbing your rail also keeps you low, and the low center of gravity will help you ride out, even if the barrel does pinch a bit.
LATE - Gabriel Medina commits at Pipe© Trevor Moran
2. Nail A Late Drop
There is only one way to nail a late drop, and that is to paddle as hard as you can. If you see a wave approaching that has your name even partially on it, but looks like it’s going to be late and great, you need to put your head down and paddle as hard as you can. The faster you can get your board going and the more aggressive you are, the more chance you have of making the drop. Even if you fail, the momentum of fierce paddling more often that not will see you into a safer wipe-out zone. If you hesitate, you suffer the risk of getting stuck in the lip, and going over the falls with your board, one of the worst places to be in. If you’re sitting with your board between your legs, that’s even worse.

3. Ordering A Board
So many people don’t know their way around their favourite shooter’s dimensions, the thickness, width and volume in litres. This isn’t a problem when ordering a new board. The best way to order a new board is to take your old board in when you go and see your shaper. If he has the dimensions on file he can quickly pick up the specs. You still need to tell him what you like and dislike about the board, if you have picked up or lost weight, and if you are fit ad surfing often, or have become a weekend warrior. If you talk yourself up, or down for that matter, you’re going to get something that doesn’t work. Be honest, because you’re being honest with yourself and no one else.

4. Navigating The Ridiculous Crowds
These days there are a lot of spots that get mighty crowded. The record might be an unofficial 600 surfers out at the Superbank at the beginning of 2014, but it sometimes feels like Long Beach has more. When paddling out into a crowded situation, the best way to approach it is with no expectations whatsoever. Paddle out as if you’re going to have a quick fitness paddle, then anything you might catch is a bonus. Then, try and find a spot in the line-up that gives you just a little bit of space from the people around you. Sit with someone next to you and on your right, and he’s up on the next right-hander. Similarly if someone is sitting close to you on your left, that person has priority for the next left-hander that comes through. Be patient, and when a wave does come that might in some way be yours, put your head down and paddle as hard as you can without skimping on the splashing. If you are ferocious enough, people will leave you alone more often than not. Don’t be selfish though, just catch you fair share, and try not to drop in.