How to Ride a Wave: think before you paddleWaveriding strategy begins before you even catch the wave. You should decide which direction (right or left)you will ride as you begin paddling for an oncoming wave. Understanding and predicting wave behavior will come with time (or maybe be contained in my next article), but how you approach your drop-in will depend on the type of wave your are riding.
How to Ride a Wave: types of wavesIf you are surfing a mushy, sloping wave, then you may want to start angling to the right of left even while you paddle. To clarify, a mushy wave does not dictate that you follow your drop to the bottom of the wave. Angling mid-face is a more effective use of the wave's energy and helps you to stay ahead of the whitewater.
However, on a more critical wave (i.e. Hawaii or Australia), a surfer must follow his/her dropline to the flat trough of the wave in order to avoid digging a rail or nose and thus falling during the drop.
How to Ride a Wave: making your turnThe technique of turning the surfboard is relatively simple. While keeping a low center of gravity (legs bent at the knees),lightly lean your weight in the direction you choose and towards the wave face (but always keep your body centered over the midpoint of your board).This will push the rail into the water and create a keel effect, cutting into the water and directing the board in the direction you choose.
Remember, wherever you direct your eyes, your board will follow, so look to the location on the wave you want to end up. Eye up a point down the line and stay focused on that point. Keep your body over the midpoint of your surfboard and lean slightly on your front foot, and you are on your way.