suggestions on taking the next step

t-rex's picture
t-rex started the topic in Tuesday, 1 May 2012 at 4:44pm

I am about to take the next step in my surfing that being taking on a heavy right hander and i was wondering what suggestions or tips other surfers have in reguards to preparation any thing I can do before taking off, that might help me prepare better for that heavy beating, or big blue bliss.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain Tuesday, 1 May 2012 at 5:36pm

Learn to hold your breath. Swimming from one end of a 25 metre pool to the other under water is good training.

Paddle HARD and early, take that extra stroke. You got a better chance of making the take off the earlier you can get into the wave.

And if you get smashed, no matter how much of a flogging you're getting, stay calm. Don't fight it, you'll pop up eventually (hopefully).

And if you're going to go- go! If you hesitate you will get smashed.

Go for it mate!

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Tuesday, 1 May 2012 at 7:57pm

You've already done a couple of things right T-Rex. First, you chose yourself a suitable name, and second, you appear to have the right attitude. You've got to want to surf bigger/heavier waves so making conscious decisions about it and seeking out info like you have is a great start.

Do all the things Zen said in his post but let me reiterate: Put EVERYTHING into your paddling and get into it as early as possible.

The thing I would add is to visualise yourself riding the wave. Sounds like you've already got your eye on the joint, you know the jump rock and which way the water moves etc etc. So now imagine yourself actually making the drop. Imagine how it will feel, when you'll transition from inside to outside rail, from back foot to front foot. Imagine the line you'll need to get through it. Play the whole wave through in your head. Keep thinking about what that view will be.

Surfing big and heavy waves is a confidence trick and the more confidence you can arm yourself with the better off you'll be.

Oh, and the inevitable wipeout? It WON'T be as bad as you imagine. Trust me...

southey's picture
southey's picture
southey Tuesday, 1 May 2012 at 9:25pm

All of the Above is very important . Having that anaerobic strength to really turn it on whilst paddling into it is key .. Especially the first time out ....
So fitness is handy , but having said that once you know what your doing ( ie had a bit of experience ) , then this will lessen .... If your more mentally confident at first go with having a " Fitness " edge then that will contribute to your overall confidence to push over the ledge ...

I presume you are talking about a wave that is a Barrel from go to wo .

The next bits' , more to do with if it'll be your forehand or backhand . They are bio -mechanically very different , but more similar with regards to body positioning over the board and in relation to where on the wave face .... So you'll need to have a very forward positioning with your shoulders and head almost directly over the nose of the board . An analogy would be to imagine a clock face and if you were watching yourself from the shore , the moment you contact the Board with your feet your head will be at 12 O'Clock .
And for a right , the tip of the board should be about between 4 and 5 . In the next split second as you release your hands off the rails/deck your torso/legs/and board should rotate under your head , almost to the point that your head doesn't move .

The easiest way to practice this ( or do it without thinking too much about it ) is to just look and concentrate on where you won't to be , ie 3-5 M's ( Further the bigger it is ) down the line mid to low face . And if its a really heaving slab/ledge , then no doubt as your releasing hands and contacting feet , the wave will already be throwing forward .... so leading with your head almost "diving/driving forward " then your body and board should follow .....
For legal / health reasons , don't try this unless your have already whole heartily committed yourself ... and if you do hurt yourself , then i didn't say squat ..... and you shouldn't really take advice from strangers on the Net .

anyhoo ....

Most important rule , ( for self appreciation first , and [crowds if present] second ) " Commit Early , And NEVER Pull back " ..... !!!
Good Luck Charger !!!

PS. the safest place is IN the Barrel , so atleast try and make the drop ( on or beside Board ) , so this is where the Never Pull Back come in Handy .

blow-in-9999's picture
blow-in-9999's picture
blow-in-9999 Tuesday, 1 May 2012 at 11:53pm

A few general comments.

As southey mentioned... ALWAYS pull in and commit** if you half ass it you will fuck up the drop or go over the falls.
**Within reason.

Have an exit point worked out if the wave gets progressively shallower.

The extra speed from paddling is important not just for the drop but getting the speed and positioning to make the barrel.

Remember most breaks (reefs/slabs) in Aus are blunt and soft as.

Block out the reef in front of you, you need to be focused on the wave instead.

Work out how you are going to about if from the land and catch one *EARLY* and you'll be set up for the session.

A few saftey things...
Try to avoid solo missions, big / inexpreinced crowds aren't ideal either tho and have some stuff to patch you up in the car.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain Wednesday, 2 May 2012 at 12:48am

The info supplied by Stu, Southey and Blow-in is spot on except that I try not to analyse too much. The common thread is get in as early as you can and commit to the take off, everything after that hinges on that one split second.

I forgot to add and this works for me:-

Don't keep staring at it when it's macking, suit up and get out there. The more you look at it, the more the self doubt creeps in.

Have the right gear- new leggie, not a 5 year old comp-cord, a wetsuit that is snug and comfy, booties and gloves in good nick if in colder climes. You want to be as comfortable as possible.

The right board. Sorry, but your 5'4" Fishcuit aint gonna cut it when it's double overhead and detonating. You want something you know and trust and can find the sweet spot as soon as your feet hit the deck.

Finally, if you dry retch a couple of times before paddling out, that's cool and entirely natural- just don't let your mates catch you.

I'm amping for you man, we got 8ft @ 12 secs due here Friday with light winds, I've got my 6'6" ready to go in the hallway.

blow-in-9999's picture
blow-in-9999's picture
blow-in-9999 Wednesday, 2 May 2012 at 2:36am

*One last thing

Depending on the wave shoulder hopping &/or the smaller ones are actually harder... Quite often the normal take off point is easier.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Wednesday, 2 May 2012 at 8:12am

All great advice T-rex.

This is Derek Doerner's dictum for charging big surf.

Training i is the solution.
Diet is the Key.
Equipment has to be the best you can get.

I will add, that sooner or later you will get a wipeout that is FAR WORSE than you imagined. It's after you've spent a bit of time in the Emergency Room and recovering that you will get more calculating and figure out whether you really want it.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Wednesday, 2 May 2012 at 8:33am

Oh fuck Steve, put The Fear into the young grub why don't ya? He's talking about a first foray into big waves not a paddle session at Peahi.

Chill T-Rex, it won't be that bad. Take small steps but keep on climbing. Despite his fearmongering Steve is kinda right, sooner or later you will find yourself in a heavy situation - not necessarily leading to an Emergency Room visit - and you'll have to decide how far you want to chase big waves. That'll be a personal decision to make, you won't find the answer on a public forum.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot Wednesday, 2 May 2012 at 9:03am

If its a wave you can either paddle or tow into, I reckon paddle. You may not get as many waves but the ones you do get will be much more memorable!

charles-barkley's picture
charles-barkley's picture
charles-barkley Wednesday, 2 May 2012 at 11:04am

Southey - sorry mate but you got me totally confused! Sounds a bit like a game of twister while doing a handstand on a surfboard with afternoon tea at 4 or 5 oclock? Coupled with some good advise at the start and end of your post tho.

T-Rex at some point you WILL go over the falls and/or wipeout on your bottom turn and/or get caught inside after missing a wave and get cleaned up by a set. Then you'll realise that you survived and what you thought would be a nightmare wasn't really that bad and you'll amp yourself up to go and get another one!

non-local's picture
non-local's picture
non-local Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 7:19am

mate all you want to do is check out the frequency of the sets and go for it, make sure that you take off on the first really big one that comes your way. One of two things will happen, you will either get the wave of your life or the flogging of it, the best way to calm the nerves is to go! That first wave will sort out all as the flogging will be bad but it will also be done and you will be sorted. Just ask RCJ

gannet's picture
gannet's picture
gannet Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 9:46am

Three good bits of advice gleaned from many years of magazine reading (who said I was wasting my money?).

1. If you think its a bit out of your league, paddle out anyway , sit on the shoulder and watch. You'll learn something and gain confidence for next time. You might even end up snagging a couple of smaller ones (Thanks to Jodie Cooper)

2. When you paddle for a wave, get your chin right down till its touching the deck. This shifts your weight forward and helps get you in early (Thanks Mark Matthews)

3. When you decide you want a wave, paddle like your life depends on it.

So its not: "oh yeah I'll paddle for this and see how it looks"

its more like: "I AM GUNNA FUCKEN CATCH THIS WAVE !!!" (Thanks AI, RIP)

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 9:58am

Gannets right. Watch footage of Andy in big hollow waves, the most ballsy, fearless tube rider ever! And he did it all with the best style goin around.. No one even came close

thelostclimber's picture
thelostclimber's picture
thelostclimber Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 11:23am

Not really sure what size you are talking about, but in my experience in the last few years where I went from surfing head high to double overhead + is like everyone else.
just go for it.

Some locations I made it 1st wave and once you have that adrenalin going you just keep on performing well.

Other spots I crashed and burned 1st up, but recovered, the wipeout was done, i didn't die so the next wave was all good.

Don't take too long (as others say you may lose your nerve), but sitting to the side, watching a 2 - 3 sets and getting an idea of where you want to be doesn't hurt.

It always seems much bigger once you are out there.

T -rex please let us know how you went.

blow-in-9999's picture
blow-in-9999's picture
blow-in-9999 Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 11:58am

Strongly disagree with the sit in the channel for a while advice... It just make me less likely to go hard IME.

gannet's picture
gannet's picture
gannet Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 12:28pm

Yeah, depends on your initial attitude I reckon blow-in.

If you're looking for a reason to pike out, watching and waiting may give you an excuse (not you personally of course)

If you want it bad enough, watching and waiting will give you a few insights and hopefully a bit more success!

Remember, proceed softly and ride a big stick.

blow-in-9999's picture
blow-in-9999's picture
blow-in-9999 Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 5:09pm

I suppose I'm cheating here riding a lid, I find in most cases if I have the balls to pull in it'll be all fine.

gannet's picture
gannet's picture
gannet Friday, 4 May 2012 at 10:23am

ha ha ha!

all power to you mate

i dips me lid to the lids.

thelostclimber's picture
thelostclimber's picture
thelostclimber Friday, 4 May 2012 at 6:50pm

I find that normally the big waves are off the beaten track and it has taken me a lot of money, time, travel and effort to get there.
So if having second thoughts remind yourself how much of all the hassle you went through to get there, then do it.

southey's picture
southey's picture
southey Friday, 4 May 2012 at 11:40pm

@ Charlie B .

My explanation is a little wayward in conveying the message .
Basicly the board will start behind you ( in relation to the direction you Travel [ right or left ] .... so I'll change the clock theory to one of being on a Swimming starters blocks , and instead of Diving fully in , imagine just before your feet leave the edge , that your feet come forward with the blocks ( in reality the Surfboard ) and again it would be at angle ( L or R ) ....

If this is too hard , just watch old Video's of A.I. adnauseum , as mentioned by Gannet above ...

All i know is I wish I'd payed more attention to the Mechanics of things a long time ago .... Instead of being a Human Crash Test dummy for years , atleats a almost a decade ago ... Atleast onlookers Nation wide would have had enjoyed the Comedy of Trial and Error ....

And as tlc , says above . When you've travelled halfway across the World , with 6 Flights over 30 hrs Travel time . Are faced with a Mirror Image twin of average Double O'head Teahupoo lineup and have to have a Dig on your Backhand after being out of the Water for Months .
Then you can have the Comfort that Over analysed Knowledge will get you thru the day alive , riding the Barrels of your life .
A considered preparation to match just as well as , if having surfed 4 times a week , for a Year. And owning that complete " surf Fit " confidence ....

It's 80 % Mental ..... And if your 100 % committed and calm , then that 80 % can be transformed to 95 % .... Fitness can play second fiddle , as controlling your Heart Rate will accomplish much in the way to combat a lack of Fitness...

mrsbradpitt's picture
mrsbradpitt's picture
mrsbradpitt Friday, 1 Jun 2012 at 7:16pm

start robbing banks like bodie does on point break

droktagon's picture
droktagon's picture
droktagon Sunday, 17 Jun 2012 at 6:34pm

Don't drop in on the lid that is most likely already scooping through the slab. In all seriousness, watch where they take off and the lines they draw. Bodyboards are really functional in XXL hollow pits.