Positioning > Power
When it comes to catching waves, it isn’t necessarily about how hard or fast you can paddle (though having good paddle technique certainly helps) but is rather more about your timing & positioning.
In fact, I’d say positioning is more important than paddle power.
So the way I like to think about it is “calibrating” yourself to the wave.
Most of the “work” involved in catching a wave is actually putting yourself in the right place at the right time.
Sometimes this means paddling in or out, or paddling left or right to get closer to the peak. Or sometimes just sitting & waiting for the wave to come to you before you start paddling to catch it.
The point is, you’re trying to put yourself in a position so that you only need to take a couple of strong strokes just before the wave begins to break. This also means you need to be constantly checking in with the wave & adjusting to it.
Check out this example where @jesslowcher is paddling out to better position herself for the oncoming set wave. Once she’s in position, she turns & barely takes 2 strokes to actually catch the wave.
Or in this example where the opposite takes place & I take ~5 or 6 medium-strength strokes towards the beach to a) move myself in to be in a better position & b) start building up some momentum. Then once the wave catches up to me, I only take 3 strong strokes to actually catch it.
I know it looks like I’m paddling for the wave the entire time, but I like to distinguish between “calibrating” & actually making an attempt at catching it.
Reading waves & knowing where to be takes time & experience to learn, but hopefully this mindset shift of “calibrating” to the wave will change your approach to catching waves & allow you to conserve energy in the process.
💬 Any tricks or frame of mind you have when it comes to catching waves?
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