Perfect Your Surfing Takeoff
The takeoff is the bread and butter for every single surfer. Without it, you cannot surf. This maneuver is a classic case of “easier said than done”. Every surfer who is starting off has the same thought…Standing up won’t be hard, it’s just like doing a push up. However, now picture yourself pushing up whilst moving at quite a pace, being lifted to quite a height by the forces of nature and bearing down into a gaping abyss of water.
I’m not going to glam it up. Learning to take off is one of the most frustrating things you will ever undertake. The thought of simply standing up is something so easy you don’t waste a second thinking about it. Yet the simplicity of the matter is all of a sudden crushed by great mother nature and you begin to realise…water isn’t solid. It moves. Fast and powerfully. This is all but another step into becoming a surfer and becoming accustomed to the brutality of most waves.
Even experienced surfers still have minor errors within their take off technique. It is vital that your takeoff becomes, swift, thoughtless and smooth. Without a good take off your surfing potential will always be held back. As you advance, if you have not corrected this, taking off on larger, steeper waves will prove impossible, creating a lack of consistency. This is were the cliche of “practice makes perfect” swoops in. Follow these steps and repeat in order to perfect your take off and you will be greatly rewarded.
The choice of wave is key. If you’re still learning on the white waters, you will need some power. Don’t be afraid to get knocked around a little. A common mistake by beginners is paddling for tiny whites. Having more power behind you makes the take off learning process move a lot faster and more often than not, you will find standing up easier due to a friendly push by the wave.
If you’re moving onto outsider waves. The previous rule still applies. You do not want to waste your time paddling for a wave with no potential or power. This will only tire you out and shorten your session. Look for crumbling waves at the start, nothing steep or hollow, this you will move onto later. A crumbling lip will allow you time to adjust to the waves momentum.
Perhaps the most important stage of catching a wave. Often beginner surfers will attempt to take off before they have really caught the wave. Instead, allow the waves momentum time to push you along, the longer you wait the better (but not all the way to the shore). Give yourself time, this way you can feel what the wave is doing and adjust according to it. For the green wave surfers. Don’t be afraid to go over that ledge. If you fall, you’re learning and progressing.
1. Okay so after all of the above are in place, you’re ready to take off. The wave has started pushing, you’ve given yourself time to adjust. Placing both hands firmly on the board you want to push up so your back is slightly arching. Hold this position.
2. Whilst pushing a little harder down increasing your height with your chest square over the board bring your right or left (this depends on your stance – which ever is your back leg) onto the grip of your board, placing it firmly and comfortably.
3. Whist in this position, slide your front foot from underneath and place it in a comfortable spot. Remember you do not want the foot too far towards the nose as this will only create the nose diving effect causing you too fall. You don’t want your foot too far back either as this will put too much weight on the tail of the board slowing it down and can cause the wave to pass beneath you.
1.You’re up! Flex your knees and keep low, as this will create a lower center of gravity giving you a lot more balance and control over the board.
2.Look in the direction you want to travel, this will help you with balance and momentum. Watch out for any other surfers in the water, fins can cause damage to people and boards.
3. Ride the wave to it’s full potential, don’t kick out too early, maximise your wave time!
4. You’ve done it! Now turn around to your cheering friends with a two thumbs up.
Already up and riding loads of whitewater and ready to graduate to Green Waves? Join us for one of our Green Wave Riders Weeks, our unique Intermediate Surf Weeks. Hunt down the best possible waves for your level all week, with dedicated tuition and video coaching for guaranteed progression.