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How to surf- Checking Your Speed

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How to surf- Checking Your Speed

  1. Learn wave positioning and weight distribution to speed up.
  2. Turn, extend your bottom turn, and increase friction to slow down.


I won’t go into the explanation to all the bits of equipment in this article (see How to surf broken waves), but this is what you’ll need:
Foam surf board
Billabong Foil wetsuit
Ripcurl Flashbomb
Surfing leash
Soft board rack

How to surf- Checking Your Speed

So you’re up on your feet surfing unbroken waves! Good for you buddy! One problem however, very few waves are perfect and break in predictable pristine lines of calculable order. This means that you’re going to have to adjust your speed at times in order to stay in the correct position on the wave. Ideally speaking, you want to try and stay on the steepest part of the wave just before it breaks as this is where the wave has the most power, however sometimes the wave may slow down or begin to break further down the line (passed the next section). Correctly reading the wave is a huge part of learning to surf and this skill can only really be acquired through experience. Where MGTE can help you however, is with the techniques that can be employed to position yourself where you choose on the wave.

If you haven’t already, first learn how to surf broken waves and then how to surf unbroken waves.

Photo Credit: Designlazy.com


1- Learn wave positioning and weight distribution to speed up. There are generally two ways to speed up on a wave, the first, being having a little weight slightly further forward on your board (although be careful not to nose dive!), is more subtle, the second, actively ‘pumping’ down the line, is an involved process requiring rhythm and skilled position on the wave. According to King Kelly Slater himself, the top third of the wave is where you can generate the most speed, so be sure to concentrate your efforts in this vicinity. Essentially what you’re trying to do is to utilise gravity and the push of the wave in order to generate momentum. To ‘step up’, you need to shift your weight slightly to the inside rail, push gently on the tail of your board in order to engage your fins whilst easing the weight off of your front foot, and square your body to look ‘down the line’ of the breaking wave. From this position you should literally be able to ‘step up’ the face of the wave, front foot first, and then ease the weight back towards your front foot in order to allow the back foot to follow suit. ‘Stepping’ down the wave from this position will generate speed and will require you to keep the weight slightly concentrated on the front foot, whilst easing the pressure off of your inside rail in order to let your board slide down the face of the wave. The transition between ‘step up’ and ‘step down’ should be smooth and fluid. Should you be chasing a fast moving section, effectively coordinating the movement will make the process repeatable.

2- Turn, extend your bottom turn, and increase friction to slow down. Again, the are generally 2 waves to slow down on a wave, the first being to ease your weight onto your back foot, although beware as doing this clumsily will result in you raising up the face of the wave towards the breaking lip, the second is to turn/perform a manoeuvre.


Stay low on your board. This allows for easier transition of weight between your feet and better balance!


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