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where do I sit when waiting for a wave?


where do I sit when waiting for a wave?

Waiting...waiting...waiting for a wave. It's an art in itself.

Jay DiMartino
Here’s a question from a reader that I thought might be helpful:

Hi Jay,

When looking at the wave to decide if I need to be out further or closer to shore, what part of the wave should I focus on? The top, middle of the wave face, the base of the wave or just the whole thing?

Usually, I'm paddling a little further out when people are paddling a little closer to shore. My brain tells me that I'm moving to the right spot, but I'm wrong usually too far out.

Obviously, I can sit with others, but I want to learn rather than follow everyone which is I guess one way of how to surf better..

Does my question make sense to you?

Thanks, Rich

Where do I sit when waiting for a wave?

Thanks for the question, Rich.

It makes perfect sense to me. Logically speaking, catching waves is as important as riding them (think about that for a second). Figuring out where to sit and wait for waves takes a little observation for sure. You are right that watching where other guys are sitting will get you in the area you want to be, but you never know...those guys might be idiots:-) So let’s analyze the issue a bit.

The answer to your first question is to pay attention to the top (lip) of the wave (Learn about the parts of a wave). When the lip stands up vertical, that's where you want to be getting to your feet and dropping in, so logic would follow that you want to be a few yards beyond the area where the lip starts to pitch up and over. You are better off being a little too far out than too far in (especially in big surf). It's much safer and you can always move in as a set moves through.

As with most aspects of surfing, finding the take-off zone becomes more of a feeling than and actual purposeful thought process as you progress. So I would say to start a little too far out. Then, use a combination of other surfers and landmarks to line up proper placement. Try to position yourself just outside where the average waves are breaking, and you will in the prime spot to catch a set (groups of the biggest and most powerful waves). Sets come in intervals, and you can time their frequency, so in between sets, you can move in and get some smaller waves while you wait.

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