Everyone has to start somewhere. In our wonderful sport, there’s no better place than the one that makes many people want to quit as soon as they begin¿catching a wave. Some of the more experienced rippers reading this may say, “Dude, I already know how to catch a wave.” But some of those same people have a little glitch in their standing-up style we like to call “surf mongo.”In the skateboard world, skating mongo is pushing with your front foot instead of your back foot. In the surf world, it’s straightening your back leg, pushing your body up, then putting your front foot under you¿it just doesn’t look right. Your front foot should always be placed down on the board first.So for proper education in the matter, we’ve enlisted the newly crowned NSSA Open Men’s Champ Greg Long to help show everyone the proper procedure. After reading it, a good way to learn how to catch a wave is to simply practice on the floor with an ironing board, your board (careful with the fins), or no board¿anywhere, anytime. There’s obviously a huge difference, but being prepared helps you drastically later on. You also need to figure out what stance you’ll be: left foot forward (otherwise known as regular foot), or right foot forward (otherwise known as goofy foot). Another useful tip is to ride a bigger, wider board¿around seven to nine feet long. Using a high-performance, ultra-thin pro model will get you nowhere, as it’ll tip you like a kayak. The volume and width of a bigger board provides you with enough stability and time to get to your feet. Oh, yeah, one more thing: when practicing how to catch a wave, always try to do it away from other surfers¿in fact, really far away.¿A.C.
Steps One Through Five:Paddling is obviously the first and foremost priority. As boring as it may be, having a fluid paddling style takes practice. You’ll definitely need to take your board out past the lineup (again, away from everyone else) and simply paddle around. Following Greg’s example, make sure you’re using one arm at a time in a consistent motion¿the more practice, the more waves you’ll catch. If you feel you’re ready, make sure you’re sitting approximately ten to twenty feet out past the impact zone. Once you see a wave approaching, turn around and smoothly stroke until you feel the wave start to lift you up and give you momentum. With the right momentum (this is the tricky part), you can quit paddling, aim your board toward the beach, and set your arms evenly on each rail about halfway up your torso.
Steps Six Through Eight:With each hand in place, slowly push your body up and focus your eyesight down the line. Your board should be somewhere near the top of the wave without going out the back. Your shoulders should begin to twist in the direction you choose as you prepare to get your front knee underneath you.
Step Nine:Keep both hands on the rails¿bend your front foot and knee underneath you and start to push up. Your back leg should still be straight, but twisted toward your stance position. As you set the front foot in the proper area, push your body up.
Step Ten:With your front foot in place, follow up by twisting the shoulders more, and setting the back foot in its proper place. As both feet are set, bend your knees, prepare to bottom turn, and get ready to do whatever the hell you want. Now go rip!