How to Get Out Through the Waves with a Longboard


Surfing is 90% paddling. Until you develop good strong paddling skills, getting to ‘the outside’ will be a problem. Some days, some places, you won’t make it at all.
First of all, Don’t be misled by those sexy video’s of girls duck-diving thru clear blue water in bikini’s: Duck-diving is for shortboards, and shortboards are near impossible to learn on.

Here at Banzai Surf School, WE NEVER START ANYONE ON A SHORTBOARD! It may be months before you ‘graduate’ to that. Also, bigger boards are better suited to small waves anyway – There’s no shame in a bigger board. For that reason, we’ll concentrate on getting out on a big board – a board that you can NOT duck-dive or sink under the wave. (usually anything over seven feet)

• Develop STRONG PADDLING skills.
• Keep open space around you, especially in front and behind.
1) Most small waves can be plowed through using good, fast paddling skills – Simply paddle hard, straight into the whitewater – and do a pushup as the wave hits, letting it pass under you instead of smacking your face.
2) In larger waves, the advantage of the big board is great paddling speed – Use it! It’s always best to race to the ‘green side’ (outside) of the waves BEFORE they break. I can’t emphasize this enough. If you see other surfers moving out, MOVE OUT! Don’t stop to rest in the ‘impact zone’ – You can rest when you’re dead : )

With larger whitewater waves, there are several choices when you’re ‘caught inside’:

• Most common method – The Kick-over: As you paddle towards the oncoming whitewater, just before the wave hits, stop & quickly sit near the tail of the board lifting the nose. Just before the whitewater touches your board, scissor-kick both legs in the water, pushing the board forward, as you grab the rails towards the nose, throwing your weight over the wave. This takes practice, and you’ll sometimes get knocked over backwards.
• The Tombstone: Another big wave idea is to turn your back to the wave, and sink the board’s tail with your foot, grabbing the rails. This helps you from getting pushed closer to shore.
• The Hail Mary: If the water is less than chest deep on a sandy bottom, you may actually jump off, stand on the bottom, and THROW your board over the whitewater, as you quickly duck under the wave. Hands over your head as you come up – you can’t be sure where that board landed.
• The Ditch n Dive (for BIG waves): Of course, you can always just ditch the board and swim under the wave. Well, not always: This is dangerous if anyone is behind you. And it’s the mark of a ‘kook’ if it’s done at the inappropriate moment (like, in tiny surf). It’s better to keep your board in-hand in smaller waves.
• The Turtle Roll: The ‘turtle roll’ (flipping the board over on top of you and hanging on for life) is rarely useful. It’s best used when the lip of the wave is about to crack right on your head. Part of the problem with the turtle-roll is the recovery time – getting back on your board.

That should be your arsenal. Learn them all, and know when to use which!

(.. OH, Wait a second, … is that a deep channel over there? .. where everyone paddles out with dry hair?? Why didn’t we see that in the first place …. : )

keywords: Paddling out with a soft surfboard, getting out with a soft-top surfboard, get thru waves with big board, get through waves on a longboard

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *