Small Waves? 🌊 5 In-Water Drills to Improve Your Surfing
Summer time in our location means many days with small waves (knee to waist high) most of the time. Unless, there’s a tropical system in the Atlantic, which can occur from June to November (Hurricane Season), or some rare Northern swell.
On Macao Beach, during the Summer, you will frequently encounter small waves, short rides, shallow and super easy conditions. Therefore, it is a great time for practicing drills that will get you ready for when bigger swells come along. Small waves can be a lot of fun!
Here are some suggestions for beginner surfers:
1. PRACTICE YOUR PADDLE TECHNIQUE AND POSITIONING ON THE BOARD
Get in the water, hop on your board and paddle, paddle, paddle…
Paddle parallel to the shore beyond the break and watch what happens as you paddle in different positions on your board.
Find the “sweet spot” on the board (the position where you will have the highest speed and least water resistance).
Get off the board, back on, and paddle. Do it again and repeat as many times as possible, or until you can get in the right place on the board without much guessing. This drill will also make your chest, arms and back stronger as it will help you build strength.
This is also a good time to switch to a smaller board, so you can benefit from the increased resistance of the water, while getting a good idea of what paddling with a smaller board feels like.
2. LEARN TO SIT DOWN, TURN THE BOARD, LIE DOWN AND START PADDLING
While you are paddling, take the time to practice sitting correctly on the board while looking at the horizon at the waves approaching .
Practice spotting a wave, turning the board with your feet, hands and pivoting the board towards the beach, then lie down and start paddling to catch a wave.
Many beginners waste a lot of time and energy (and good waves), by struggling to manage the board in the line-up.
3. PRACTICE YOUR POP-UP (IN THE WATER)
For this drill use a board that will allow you to paddle and catch waves with as little effort as possible.
The idea is that you can practice popping-up and staying on the board as many times as possible, this will allow you to study your overall stance, feet positioning and what happens as a result.
It will be of great help to have video feed back, so recruit a friend to film you as you catch waves and you can make adjustments as you see necessary.
4. PRACTICE ANGLED TAKE OFFS WITHOUT POPPING-UP
Paddle to catch a wave, angle the board a bit in the direction that you want to catch it (left or right) and lift your upper body from the board (like a “cobra” yoga position) so you can learn to control the board as you take off.
The idea of this drill is to make you to catch waves with more awareness, control and sense of direction. It will also show you how to prevent nose diving (a major fear among beginners) using your upper body.
This is a great drill to slow down some beginners that pop-up too early and don’t properly study the wave and the direction they should take-off in, when catching the wave.
5. PRACTICE YOUR DUCK-DIVE AND TURTLE ROLLS
These are skills you definitely need to manage before you can venture into bigger waves. You do not want to waste most of your time and energy trying to get past the white water.
Save yourself a lot of suffering by practicing these while the waves are not too rough.
Here’s the video in our YouTube channel, that explain these drills.
There are many more drills and exercises that can done in and out of the water that will help your surfing in a big way.
However, there is no better way to improve your surfing than through surfing!! Even if the waves are small there is plenty of practicing to be done!
If you want to practice any skill with me, feel free to reach out and I’ll be delighted to help you with drills, video analysis and workouts personalized for your specific needs!