Learning how to surf is exciting yet nerve-wracking, especially for those who have never snowboarded or skateboarded before. The concept is similar, except instead of land, you are gliding across the water. Everyone learns how to surf at a different pace, and everyone has a different idea of what “big” means when talking about waves. No matter if you are new to the craft or a seasoned professional, catching big waves is a surfer’s dream. These easy tips will get you ready to surf the gnarliest of waves with ultimate confidence.
Analyze Your Fears
This tip is a first-step suggestion before you jump on those huge waves. Do you fear any part of surfing? Does falling into deep water scare you? Are you afraid of hitting shallow reefs or rocks? If you have no fears and are ready to take on whatever the ocean throws at you, congrats! You are one fearless, wave riding machine. Remember, it is ok to be nervous when approaching any big wave that you are learning how to surf.
Watch the Waves
One tip to make yourself more comfortable surfing big waves is watching the waves in action. Get to know the water and the surrounding ocean landscape. Maybe even make a note of what sea life lives nearby. The more familiar you are with the area, the more comfortable and confident you will feel.
When it comes time to surf those big swells- no matter if they are four-feet tall or 30-feet tall- you will need lots of endurance. Surfing requires strong muscles and dynamic body movements. Your shoulders, upper body, and core will get the most use by far. Paddling through the currents far out enough to catch big waves will do a number on your shoulders/arms, so the key is to build endurance while minimizing paddling as much as possible.
Train Your Breath
Relax, and inhale your breath. Well, inhale while you are above the water and see how long you can hold your breath. Training the breath is a technique taught when learning how to surf, swim, or dive. There is always the possibility you will be whipped-out by a big wave, so practicing holding your breath will make you aware of how long your lungs can last without inhaling. It is also a great way to expand your lungs so you can hold more breath for longer.
Be Aware of Entry Points
Understanding location is critical when entering the ocean from the beach. Always enter the water directly in front of where you want to hit the waves. The point is that you want to paddle straight forward into the ocean and straight toward the shore. Scope out the waves, wait for a lull (the surface will look placid), and then paddle straight ahead to where you think you’ll catch those huge waves.
Know Your Board
This might go without saying, but your surfboard matters. Learning how to surf both big swells and small is much easier with a high-quality board that you are comfortable handling. Using a surfboard is one thing, but efficiently handling it is another. Pro tip: stay away from foam boards.
Learning how to surf takes time, energy, and patience. No one can become a surfing pro overnight or even in a week. The only way to truly learn how to navigate big waves is just to do it and make it a consistent part of your lifestyle. Be aware, be cautious, but be courageous. Happy surfing!