ALWAYS carry your board – DO NOT DRAG A BOARD – Rescue situations excluded.
Before BEACH SETUP / BOARD TRAINING always: –
- Check Board for dings!
- Check that the fin is secure!
- Check the board straps!
- Check that there is enough wax on the board!
PRONE PADDLING: All Board Technique needs coaching so that your faults can be identified. Surfers will have fewer problems.
Use a front crawl style reaching out and driving down with the water up to the elbows, pull through hard. Legs are mainly used for balance. Keep your knees splayed to the outer edges of the board to aid balance but keep your feet up.
Balance: – Look at the nose of the board and keep it just above the surface of the water. The optimum will vary depending on the level of chop and wind on the surface. More chop may mean a centimetre or two more lift is required to reduce slop into face and the slowing force of the chop onto body. Trim the board nose by practising arching of the back with and without legs raised. Feet down onto the board should raise the nose a bit whilst feet up will drop the nose. Arching the back and lifting your chest should lift the nose.
Positioning on the board is important. You should be balanced on your rib edges with your chest and head raised. Again this is a natural position that surfers develop and aids in the overall balancing in choppy conditions. A rough guide is just where your chest rises off the board where the knee pads end. Conditions and body weight will define variations to this and you will discover that your position will move around the board as will your body elevation and legs as the sea changes beneath you.
Racing in prone position is often enhanced by vigorous rotating/kicking of legs which helps stretch arms further forward with core power for longer and stronger stroke.
KNEE PADDLING: To get to the kneeling position, gain some forward momentum and rising up on your arms spring your knees in underneath you. Kneel on the board finding the best position for the balance of the board and where the nose sits above the water surface. Reach forward with both arms and pull down and back driving from your shoulders and with your backside in the air. Pull through and as your hands pass your hips lift up through the elbows with minimal backward splash. (This is wasted power) Keep your elbows in, raising your body slightly and recover to the frontal reach. Drive again.
BUNNY HOPS: Again about knee depth, you can begin what are called bunny hops. Bunny hopping is jumping forward and clear of the water to gain momentum whilst using the board for balance. Feet fairly close together – hence the term bunny hop
This means that you are bounding alongside the board with both hands on the deck whilst performing the bunny hop and maximising the push off in time through waves. The feet are held to the side of the board and should at worst trail across the surface as you lift them forward and down for the next jump. On the final hop either land your knees on the kneepads and begin kneel paddle OR hurl your body momentum prone onto the board.
Picking an attack point: – Entering the sea at the best place is paramount. You can save lots of effort by thinkingabout this first. Is there a Rip Current you can use rather than fight your way out through surf? Is a wave too big and therefore require a strong standing stance to push through (inshore zone – still shallow). Are the sets too big and therefore require a wait for a better opportunity? If the waves are too big or could cause too much of a delay should you consider Rescue Tube and Fins. (You should have made this decision whilst on patrol. Always be aware of theconditions and the best means of rescue available. Think ahead. PREPARE!)
Crash through: – Drive hard into the face of the wave put your head down and keep paddling. ONLY works best asthe lip curls over your head. BE SURE before you try this with a big wave, as the wrong timing can be dire!
Rolling the board: – A big wave about to break or broken can be negotiated by rolling your board. Roll, as the wave is about to strike, hold on to the straps tightly and drag your legs down and backwards beneath you. In some wavesyou may find that a little arm lift to the board, as the broken wave is passing over can lessen the drag. When thewave has passed, quickly remount your board and get some hard strokes in before the next wave. You will need momentum no matter what the action is required for the next wave strike.
Press-Up/Jump-Over: – Used for smaller or just about to break waves. As the wave hits the nose, push down hard and up into a press-up position. Try kicking your legs back and up or onto toes so that the force of the wave moves between you and the board.
OR – During press up keep knees on board and consider dropping bum back towards feet to move weight to the back of the craft and raise the nose up over the face of the white-water slightly
Popping: – This technique allows the board to rise over the broken wave, and by tipping forwards allows you to paddle over and not through the wave. Sit back on the board with the nose raised and weight to the back. Grip hard with your thighs and keep one hand in a grab handle by your thigh. Just before the wave hits the underneath of the board dive to the front of the board grabbing the most forward grab handle that you can reach. As the board comes down begin to paddle hard and fast. The wave should pass beneath you.
This technique is not easy. Timing is critical and practise, practise, practise is the best way to master it, combined with good coaching and instruction.