Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pop Up Technique - Surfing

Myself and two buddies went out surfing yesterday at the surf spot out by my job.  The conditions were awesome!  We had sets with 4 - 6 ft waves with plenty to go around.  I have to admit that as a beginner, 4 - 6 ft waves still scare me but I just decided to give it a shot and I am glad I did.  At first we didn't realize how big the sets would get when we got in the water.  We made the long paddle out to the break with little trouble.  There was some chop but not too bad.  After we got out there a bigger set came in so my buddy yelled "outside!".  After I heard that I looked out and saw a nice wave heading straight for me so I got in my paddle position on the board and hit the turbo button so I can get out past the breaking point of this set.

Luckily, I managed to make it past the first big wave from the set but my buddies weren't so lucky.  I looked back after the wave crashed and they were carried in towards the shore and ended up having to fight through this big set to get back out to where I was.  I still wasn't completely past the break and had to turtle roll 3 more waves that were almost crashing right on me.  This was a good learning experience though because I had to pretty much wrestle the wave to remain in control of my board when the wave was passing over me.  After the waves passed I rolled back onto my board and took some time to rest because that really took it out of me.

I have not had too much success with popping up quickly so far.  I spoke to another guy I work with that surfs and stand up paddle boards up in Oregon where 15 foot waves are fairly common.  I explained that I was not able to stand up quickly and that the board seems very unstable as I am trying to push myself up with my hands.  He asked me where I was positioning my hands when I was trying to pop up and I told him that I grab the rails to try and push myself up.  He had to think about it for a minute to determine how he popped up because it is all muscle memory for him now but he figured out that he is placing his hands flat on the deck of the board to push up.  This made perfect sense so I gave it a shot yesterday and man what a difference something as simple as that made.

This may not be the best way, but it definitely worked great for me.  I would of never thought about it but it makes perfect sense.  My hands are closer in towards the center of the board so I am able to keep the board stable with less effort which in turn allows me to focus more on everything else that is going on, like where I am placing my feet.  The best part of the whole day was that I caught a wave that was reforming on the inner break and managed to stand up for the longest I have ever stood up before!  With this new technique I was able to pop up much quicker so I rode the wave in the standing position for at least 4 seconds.  For the first time in my life I felt what it was like to stand up on a surfboard with a wave behind me.  I am now hooked.


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