Tips for Beginning Surfers, Surf Tip #6

TIP #6 -- Look for and paddle out in the “channels.”

Channels, you ask? Channels are where the water is literally channeling back out to sea (aka “the path of least resistance”). Paddle out where the waves are NOT breaking or where they are breaking less. This means pushing through fewer waves for you as you paddle out. More importantly, you will not be paddling out right where other surfers are riding the waves (and that’s another tip of its own to come involving “surf etiquette”).

Trouble finding the channels in some spots? Here’s a hint: Many beach breaks will have small channels that may be hard to see at first. Watch the water BEFORE you paddle out and find one. Also, watch what other surfers are doing...where are they having trouble, where are they having an easier time getting out there? Jumping in the rip current is an option some surfers do - it may help you blaze by your buddy who didn’t find the channel and is busy trying to fight the white-water. However, unless you’re a more experienced surfer and/or a fairly strong & skilled ocean swimmer, this could cause more trouble and danger for you than it’s worth.

Missed or need a recap on the last five beginner tips? Just click on the below links.

~ Tip #1
~ Tip #2
~ Tip #3
~ Tip #4
~ Tip #5
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Tips for Beginning Surfers, Surf Tip #4

  • TIP #4 -- Go body surfing!
  • Find your inner “waterman”. Or just go swim (preferably with swim fins) in the surf zone. This will help you to feel comfortable getting tossed around by the waves. Eventually you will figure out how not to get tossed around and may even enjoy a good thrashing. Bodysurf the waves. Figure out the timing and how to turn your body into a board and ride the waves to the beach. An old fav, pull into the barrel and throw a peace sign or a “shaka” at your buddy. This is a good workout and will help you to understand wave dynamics. In the end it will pay off with you catching more waves while surfing.
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