Learning To Perform Popular Surfing Maneuvers

Surfing is a tough sport to master. While the professionals often make it look easy, catching a wave and maintaining balance is difficult. Experienced surfers are typically judged by their ability to perform various maneuvers. But, as with any discipline, mastering the advanced moves requires learning the basics. In this article, we'll describe how to master catching waves along with a few intermediate maneuvers. Once you learn the basics well enough to perform them effortlessly, you can start building your surfing repertoire.

Mastering The Catch

Until you've paddled out into the water, it's hard to appreciate how difficult catching a wave can be. A surfer has to build enough speed to match the velocity of a wave. Then, he has to rise to his feet while descending down the wave's face. Maintaining balance while doing this takes a lot of practice.

Beginners should focus on waves that haven't broken. They should position themselves where the swells are still sloping. That way, when a wave builds near them, they can paddle fast while leaning their weight into the wave's momentum. Beginners have a bad habit of leaning their weight back into the wave in order to prevent the nose of their board from submerging. That works against them. The trick to mastering the catch is the lean forward and let the wave's momentum carry you.

Carving The Waves

After you've mastered the catch, you should practice carving the waves. You'll often see experienced surfers cutting back and forth along the wave they're riding. There are a few reasons why they do this. First, it allows them to slow their progress along the wave. Second, it lets to move toward the top of a wave to gain speed. Third, it sets them in position to perform a variety of surfing maneuvers. If you want to become a skilled surfer, you need to practice carving.

Popular Surfing Moves

During surfing competitions, surfers are judged not only on their ability to maintain balance on their boards, but by the tricks they perform while riding the waves. Here are a few popular moves that longtime surfers master.

Cutback - This is a move that requires the surfer to turn directly into the full power of a wave. It sounds simpler than it is to perform. This is a fundamental maneuver by which a surfer's skills are judged.

Floater - The surfer performing this move rides the top of a wave as it breaks. It used to be the maneuver that separated the beginners from the pros. Today, most surfers are able to master it easily.

Off The Lip - As a surfer is riding along the face of the wave, he turns into the wave's peak. He doesn't scale it, but rather banks off of the lip (or, the crest) before coming back down the wave's face.

Tube-Riding - Every surfer wants to master this maneuver. Caught in the oval vortex of a wave's tube, the surfer rides the length of the wave and finally exits as the wave breaks.

The Aerial - Becoming more popular with aggressive surfers, this maneuver entails becoming completely airborne off a wave. While many surfing purists deride the move as lacking any style or substance, it continues to be a favorite of spectators and new surfers.

From Basics To Pro Surfing

To become a skilled surfer, you need to master the basics. First, practice catching waves. Then, practice carving them. Remember, carving is a fundamental skill from which many of the intermediate and advanced maneuvers spring. Once you've mastered it, you can begin building your repertoire of fancy surfing tricks that will impress those around you. But, you have to learn to crawl before you can run. Learn the basics first. Worry about the tricks later.