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How to paddle into your own waves: Part 1

If you keep it to the basics, the 5 tips that will help you paddle into your own waves are looking back at the mid base of the wave, keeping your board perpendicular to the wave Increasing speed, keeping your legs together and Paddle 2 (transition paddle). Lastly keep your eyes looking at where you want to go and you’re there!

The first type of waves are softer waves. These waves are called “mushy” or waves usually caused by higher tides creating more water in the wave. These waves have a wide base and take longer to progress into a catchable wave. These waves tend to be soft reef breaks and beach breaks with sudden deep trenches in the sand that causes waves to back off and not break. I will include all the tips that will help you catch more waves by 30% or more. The second type of waves are steeper waves, in which you would keep your chest up longer before you paddle 2.

Prep work before we talk about the 5 points

  1. Start paddling towards the wave early: Soon as you see a dark line in the horizon, it’s best to make a move right away. You will be guessing at this point by paddling north, south or towards the beach or towards the wave that is coming to you. The key is to increase your chances by getting into proximity. If you guess wrong, it’s not a big deal. Advance surfers do that all the time and we think of it as we’re getting a good work-out
  2. If you guess right, the you would want to paddle towards the power of the wave. Most often times, we are scared to paddle to the main part of the wave and instead we paddle towards the shoulder. When you paddle towards the shoulder, you are going to have to do more work paddling. If you are pearling (means your nose goes under the water and you fall), you are probably going too much into the power area. Rule of thumb, if the wave looks walled and wide, then paddle towards the shoulder which means away from the wall. If you see a peak which means an “A-Frame” wave then you will do best by paddling towards the power which is the center of that wave.
  3. LOOK BACK at the wave: When you are paddling for the wave, you MUST know what you are catching. Lift your chest up and look back behind your feet. This will allow you to see if you need to paddle faster because the wave needs to become steeper to catch and if the wave is not progressing into a wave, quit immediately to conserve energy.
  4. Perpendicular: When you look back at the wave, your board must be perpendicular to the wave. If you angle the board then you will most likely miss the waves. If you have gotten advice to angle paddle, it’s advice you will need to take later down the road. Being perpendicular will allow the wave to grab you and push you into the waves. The wave might shit right or left at the last second and you must adjust accordingly by being perpendicular to the wave and not the shore.
  5. Legs together: The most common thing that beginners do is split their legs open which causes drag and to lose speed. It also causes you to pearl because you now lost leg weight that anchors your board from nose diving. Keeping them together will allow you to stay in control when you get ready to increase speed.  

We will be talking about the 2 paddle ways in the next Blog. If you are wanting to learn this in more depth and detailed, please book a lesson with one of our premier coaches online at