Surfing is one of the best watersports to ease your stress and at the same time allow you to maintain a healthy body. To enjoy this sport, aside from learning how to swim and paddle, catching an unbroken wave is one of the fundamental skills that you need to master in surfing.
Today, we are going to give you insights on how to catch a green wave like a surf pro. And by catching a green wave, we mean riding it throughout without having to nose-dive or getting passed over.
The following are the tips and tricks that you need to keep in mind when it comes to catching a green wave.
Table of Contents
How to Catch a Wave: The Ultimate Guide
#1. Study the different phases of the wave.
Before anything else, you might want to study the different phases of the wave. This is important to master before the positioning.
Phase 1 – During this phase, the wave is just a ‘bump.’ When the tide is still at its first stage, try not to catch it. This ‘bump’ should only serve as an indication that a wave is about to hit.
Phase 2 – Now that you know that a wave is coming, this is the time where you will see what they call the “green wave.”
A green wave is an unbroken wave that has the steepness and power, which allows surfers to paddle on it. A wave on its first phase is not powerful enough to catch, and on the next stage, it will be too vertical and dangerous to catch.
Phase 3 – At this point, the wave will start to break. The lip of the wave will now come crashing down into the water. Surfers often do not catch this type of wave because it’s too powerful and can cause a potential danger, especially if you are still a beginner surfer.
Phase 4 – This is the final phase of the wave, where it has been completely broken down and joins the white-water wave.
#2. Position yourself.
Observe how both beginners and professionals in surfing wait in line for the best set of waves to hit. At the beach, you’ll find them sitting on their boards and patiently waiting as they position themselves. Do the same and find an excellent place to wait for the perfect waves to come.
When positioning yourself, keep your nose pointed towards the upcoming waves. But when you see the wave coming, make sure that your board is turned away to help you get ready.
#3. Start paddling.
Now that you know how to determine a green wave get into the water and start paddling. To avoid combating against the breaking waves, try going to the left or right side of the waves. It will also be easier for you to catch it. But be mindful of your timing.
When a wave breaks, it comes in a set of fours. Observe the waves from the shore, and you will notice that in-between sets, there is a slight pause. That pause will serve as your cue, and it is usually the best time to hit.
#4. Get on your feet.
Now that you’ve managed to catch the green wave, it’s time to pop up!
There are two methods in which you can pop up effectively. First is by pushing yourself up and then hopping to your feet in one swift motion. The second method is by pulling yourself up on your knees and then slowly rising to your feet.
Each method has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. It is crucial that you practice the pop up in the sand before you plunge into the water.
The popping up is the trickiest and hardest part that you need to master in surfing. It’s all about timing and maintaining your balance on the board. Otherwise, you will fall face-first into the water. But don’t be discouraged if you can’t pop up right away. Practicing in both sand and water can do wonders for your popping up skills.
#5. Ride the wave.
If you’ve managed to catch the best wave and pop up at the right time, you can now ride the wave.
The zoom of the momentum when riding the wave is what surfers are living for. Here you would feel in control, so be confident and be dominant in riding the waves. After many trials and errors, this is the moment that you’ve been waiting for. So, make sure to ride the wave with ease, have fun, and you can even strike a pose if you want.
Also, don’t get stuck up when you’re on top of the waves, as it can send you nose-diving into the water when you fall.
#6. Change positions when you get thrown off.
We get it the frustration is running through your veins when you get thrown off your board by a powerful wave. If you notice that you keep on falling down, it’s high time that you change positions.
For instance, if you’re leaning too much forward, you can try to arch back on your board to gain full control. And when you start to ride the waves, arch your back so you can maximize the weight in your thighs and legs. Make sure that you don’t catch a wave on its final stage, as it will automatically pitch you forwards. When this happens, you will lose control and fall into the water.
Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Q: What is the best thing to do when I can’t catch a passing wave?
A: When you can’t catch a wave after several passes, try to shift your weight forward. When you’re too far back on your surfboard, catching a wave can be a little tricky.
The nose of your board should only be a couple of inches out from the water. It is also advisable that you start paddling early so that you’ll have higher chances of catching the green waves and gaining more speed when it reaches your position. Even as the waves have passed, you still need to continue paddling.
Q: How far do I have to sit when waiting for the waves?
A: Ideally, you need to sit about five meters from where most of the waves are breaking. It is crucial because if you wait on the exact area where the waves are breaking, you will have no time to turn around and paddle.
Experienced surfers, on the other hand, line up a little closer. Try to steer clear from other surfers to give yourself more space when catching a green wave.
If you are still a beginner, you might want to start with catching smaller waves first. Leave the big waves to professionals, as it can pose a severe water injury to you. It will be easier for you to start catching small waves before you decide to move for the big ones.
Q: How long do I have to paddle when catching a wave?
A: Ideally, you need eight-strong paddles before catching a wave. But the best way to determine if you need to paddle more is by merely looking over your shoulder. It will help you to decide whether you need to paddle more or less, or even if you have to stop for a while. Depending on the wave, it could be too steep, too weak to catch, or too powerful that it can pitch you away.
Also, if you are still a beginner, we highly recommend that you start by using a bigger board in catching unbroken waves. It makes it easier to catch the wave and control the board if it is bigger.