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Expert Tips For Catching More Waves

Expert Tips For Catching More Waves

A beginner surfer's greatest challenge is maintaining a high wave count during a session. We've all been there: we paddle out to the backline, spend 2 hours in the lineup waiting around, and then catch one wave that we end up falling off. It can be super annoying

In this post, you'll find some tips and tricks that will help you become a better surfer. Getting more waves each time you surf means more time spent on your board, and ultimately you'll improve your surfing. Let's get right to it.

Choosing the right board

This is another aspect of surfing that is hugely underrated. A surfboard is primarily defined by two features: volume and rocker. Beginners and intermediates shouldn't try and ride low volume boards that the pro’s ride.

You should avoid boards like these, which are low in volume and high in rocker, unless the reef is really hollow and the waves max out at 6 feet. In surfing, choosing the right board for the right conditions is so important, and that decision will have a significant impact on how many waves you catch.

As a beginner or lower intermediate, you're probably going to be surfing smaller, flatter waves. Getting into waves like these is the most challenging part. However, if you're surf fit and riding the right board, then you'll be in a great position to have a top session every single time.

catching waves


How do we know what the "right" board looks like? This question has no exact answer. As a beginner or intermediate, we recommend you don't surf a board that's under 29 liters.

Moreover, you should ride a board with less rocker than a traditional performance  thruster. Rocker is simply the curvature of the surfboard from tail to nose. This post provides a more detailed explanation.

A surfboard with relatively high volume will give you more buoyancy in the water, which will give you more speed. The majority of your board will be above the water.

A flatter surfboard (less rocker) has a greater surface area in contact with the water, which results in a faster ride. In steeper and hollower waves, a flatter board may dig into the face of the wave.

Paddle fitness

Surfing's most underrated aspect. Most advanced surfers don't talk about it since it's a given for them. However, most beginner and intermediate surfers lack the paddle fitness necessary to catch as many waves as they should.

You should train before you expect to be one of the main guys in the lineup, picking off every wave that comes your way. Swimming has proven to be the best way to get paddle fit.

Swimming helps one get into a better breathing rhythm while paddling, which means you can paddle at a higher intensity for longer periods of time. Most of the time, you have to paddle very energetically. Be careful not to be fooled by how the pro's surf. They make it look easy, but they are also paddling hard most of the time.

in the lineup

Sit on the inside

This is a slightly riskier move, but one that will certainly pay off. The term "sit on inside" means to sit a little deeper in the impact zone. It is better to implement this tactic on a smaller day because you will likely take some waves on the head. On the inside, there is more duck diving and less paddling over waves.

It does open up a whole treasure trove of nuggets that aren't found in the backlines. Many more wave types will be available to you. Next time you surf, pay attention to where people are positioned in the lineup. It's likely that some of the strongest surfers have positioned themselves on the inside. Although they may not get the biggest waves in the session, they will be exposed to the most waves in the session.

Moving around in the lineup

Ocean tides affect where a wave breaks. Tides are always changing. In other words, your position in the water should always change as well. We're not suggesting that within your session, the tide change will have a dramatic effect on where the waves break, but it can definitely have some effect.

Additionally, swell direction changes all the time, so it's possible for the waves to break in different spots during your surfing sessions, which is yet another reason to always move around in the lineup.

Look at what the incoming sets are likely to do and make your moves accordingly, rather than shifting around aimlessly. Neoprene gloves can aid you in paddling faster. Pay attention to the locals as they know when to move into certain spots based on the tide and swell direction.


Crowded breaks are more likely to go out of control when communication is lacking. One of the best ways to benefit from clear communication in the lineup is on an A frame break.

If you and another surfer are looking to catch the same wave, but they have priority, ask him which way they're going and split the wave with them.

It is common practice to go right when they say they are going left and vice versa. In California, Lower Trestles is a good example of a crowded wave where you can split the peak.

catching more waves

Late angled take offs

Not enough make use of this technique. It is simply catching an already broken wave by riding across the whitewater and across the open face. At first, it may seem impossible because it is counterintuitive. For starters, try this in smaller waves. When popping up, the most difficult part is keeping your balance.

You will feel as if the whitewater is throwing you off your board. Stay low on your board after popping up, and only stand up once you're out of the whitewater and onto the open face.


Catching waves is one of the most frustrating parts of surfing for a beginner, which is why so many give up the sport. There have been a number of beginner surfers who say if they could just have their surf instructor push them into every wave, they would keep surfing forever. These tips will help you catch more waves in each surfing session once you implement them.