Discover tips to catch more waves than anyone else in the water. Learn how to surf more, increase you wave-per-hour ratio, and have more fun.
It happens all the time. You've had a tough week, and you need your fair share of waves. In an increasing number of countries - USA, Australia, France, Portugal, South Africa, UK, and Brazil are fine examples - surfing is so popular that waves are a scarce resource.
You can't just fabricate waves overnight. At least not until artificial surf pools become a reality in inland countries, deserts, and remote destinations. Unlike many other sports, surfing depends on nature's will. And there's nothing you can do to change it.
In popular, crowded lineups, we struggle to get a wave. We need to find our space in the water, and sometimes it's simply not worth going surfing. Who doesn't feel stressed out in a place where 20 surfers you don't know fight for a single wave every five minutes?
If on an average surfing day, you drive 30 minutes to your favorite break with the goal of staying in the water for 90 minutes, then there's no way you'll be content with fewer than ten, five-second long rides.
And when we ride our first wave of the session, we know the feeling - we want more, and better waves, and we become greedy and voracious.
Crowded lineups are a frequent problem in surfing, but problems can be turned into opportunities. There will always be people missing out waves, and some of them are just coming your way. Sometimes, surfing can turn into a frustrating experience, but don't lose your patience.
That is what many surfers prefer to have fun in poor-to-average uncrowded surf, rather than epic, surfer-packed lineups. Anyway, take a look at a few tips that will help you catch more waves, surf more, and improve your wave count:
Don't be a set slave: discover the inside runners, and keep moving around the lineup; Be in sync with the swell: study the charts before you go, and make wise decisions on when to go; Observe the lineup before paddling out: watch how the waves break, and spot alternative peaks; Sacrifice quality for quantity: in some days, ten average waves are better than a single epic ride; Improve your paddling power: exercise your upper body, and some waves will only be yours; Buy a longboard or a stand up paddleboard: large stable boards are wave-catching machines; Invite friends and control the lineup: it's easier to pick the wave you want when you're with people you know; The first wave of the set is not always the best one: let the anxious surfers get it, and keep your blood cold; Become a well-known, respected local: with respect comes competitive advantage; Monitor the tides in real-time: learn how the Rule of Twelfths can help you stay in the right take-off zone; Eat well: boost your stamina with quality meals, get fit, and catch those "impossible" waves; Find different sections: the same wave has different section for multiple surfers; Try to catch the wave a lot earlier: the surfer up and riding first has priority over everyone else; Always look for alternative peaks: don't follow the herd just because all surfers are in the same place; Improve your wave reading skills: watch how the wave is peeling down the line; Command respect: don't allow someone to drop in on you systematically; Improve your late-angled take-off: catch those steeper waves that no one wants; Don't hesitate: when you start paddling for a wave, stick to it; Set yourself some goals: don't call it quits before riding 10 or 15 waves; Avoid close-together waves: don't lose your time with rollers with a short lifetime; Look out to see and spot your wave first: keep your eyes on the horizon and identify the upcoming set; Improve your positioning: triangulation keeps you in the right take-off zone; Watch how the unridden waves break: decide whether they're worth it or not; Split the peak: get bonus waves; Use your feet to catch that one: kicking your feet doesn't look cool, but it can be extremely useful; Stay on the inside down the line: the leftovers can be precious; Pick the right fin setup: when catching a wave, a five-fin setup is generally faster than a single fin;
In the end, remember that there will always be more waves. Today, and tomorrow.