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How to Get More Speed

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How to Get More Speed

You can see that this guy is applying pressure to his back foot while lifting on his front. This wave is decidely weak and needs some serious pumping speed.

Jay DiMartino
This is in response to a recent e-mail asking how to pump a short board while angling down the wave. The writer asks, “I am trying to learn how get more speed to hit the lip becasue the wave keeps breaking before I reach the top. Is pumping as simple as pushing down on the front of the board? I need more speed. Help!”

This is a good question since there is no maneuver in surfing that is possible without speed (except maybe a wipeout). And pumping will give you all the speed you need. You especially need effective pumping when you are surfing small, mushy waves. These tips will help:

1. First thing is to get to your feet as quickly as possible and set your footing. Nothing is worse than watching the wave break on without you as you get your act together on the drop. Therefore, the second you feel the wave lifting you, jump to your feet and put your eyes on that point down the line you are aiming for. If the wave is small, aim your board down the line before getting to the bottom (If it’s bigger, you’ll have to get to the trough of the wave first and then make you turn down the line).

2. As you drive off the bottom (or angle down the face) you should apply more weight to your front foot (as you mentioned) but always realize that your core should be centered over the midpoint of the board for maximum stability. There is a blend here of applying forward pressure, staying centered, and pushing with your toes on the inside rail (the edge of your board closest to the wave) to stay connected to wave’s power.

3. If the wave is bigger, you will keep your back foot planted firmly over your fins, but on smaller surf, move your back foot forward in order to keep maximum pressure applied to a forward momentum.

4. At this point, you are moving fast, but you will quickly lose speed if you don’t grab a hold of the wave’s energy by veering up higher on the wave face. Do this by lessening the weight on your front foot and guiding the nose of the board higher on to the face. You will feel some tension from the motion and friction of the wave. That is stored energy.

5. To release that energy, again apply forward pressure to the front of your board and feel the drop like a roller coaster descending down the track. In fact, repeated pumping down the line is often referred to as a roller coaster for this reason.

6. Effective pumping down the line means not going too high on the wave or too low since either one will result in a loss of speed. Instead, you will learn to feel where the wave stores the most energy, which would be just below the falling lip and just above the trough. That is your speed zone.

7. Basic pumping requires that you follow steps 4-6 until you are ready to pull a maneuver.

8. Getting to the lip as you mentioned is as simple as using all that torque off the bottom when you are at maximum speed. Aim your eyes at the target on the lip, apply lots of weight to your back foot so to act as a pivot point, lift with your front and let the power of the wave do the rest.

Now…go rip!

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