If you’ve ever been in the water with a professional surfer, the first thing you’ll notice about what separates them from the rest of the lineup is the speed they surf. From take-off to kick out, professional surfers carry exponentially more velocity into and through the wave than their civilian counterparts. Learning to generate speed is vital to a surfer’s progression. To make the jump from intermediate to advanced surfer, you’ll need to learn how to generate speed while surfing down the line to set up maneuvers. If you’ve mastered riding down the line, but haven’t quite figured out how to make the most of each wave and carry your speed from section to section, continue reading below for JOB Surf Tips: How to Generate Speed While Surfing.
Read the wave
The first step towards generating speed while surfing is to read the wave and understand which parts of the wave contain speed. In your mind, split the wave’s face into thirds. The top and middle third of the wave are the most vertical portions of the wave that contain the most power. The bottom third of the wave (the flats) is less steep and contains less power. So, to generate speed on a wave, you’ll need to stay within the top two-thirds of the wave. If you’re surfing a more powerful wave that’s not breaking too quickly down the line, you may be able to bottom turn from the flats and rise to the top two-thirds of the wave. If you’re surfing a fast-breaking wave or a weak wave, you’ll need to take a higher line and avoid the flats.
Take advantage of gravity
When generating speed while surfing, gravity is your friend. Pumping down the wave or carving up and down the wave’s face both involve rising and falling up and down the vertical parts of the face of the wave to gain momentum down the line. As you’re riding down the line, aim to rise up the vertical sections as they approach and compress your body to descend.
Use your whole body to generate speed while surfing
To successfully ascend and descend the face of the wave and generate speed, you must surf with your whole body. To climb up the waves face, engage your inside rail, lean towards the wave, and elongate your body while throwing your arms in the direction you aim to go. To descend, engage your outside rail, turn your hips and shoulders at a 45-degree angle down the wave’s face, and compress your body by bending at the knees.
Surf rail to rail
Surf rail to rail to reduce drag as you pump down the line. Just like in snowboarding, you want to have the rail of your board always engaged. As we mentioned above, surfers use their inside rail to climb the face and their outside rail to descend the wave’s face.
Adjust your feet as needed.
Depending on the board you’re riding, you may want to consider moving your feet up and down the board to help carry your momentum forward. In surfing, your front foot is the gas, and your back foot the brakes. Putting more weight on your front foot or towards the front of the board will help increase your velocity down the line.
JOB Surf Experience is committed to educating the next generation of lifelong surfers. If you’re new to surfing, book your North Shore Surf Lesson with JOB Surf Experience for a fun-forward approach to learning to surf. If you’re an experienced surfer looking for the best surf guiding on the North Shore, check out the Ultimate North Shore Surf Experience. Book your next trip to Hawaii with the Turtle Bay Resort to stay close to the action on the North Shore.