Small wave surfing

Surfing small waves is really hard work. Often the crowd level will be low as people take one look and declare it “piddly.” Fortunately for us, it provides the perfect opportunity to practice your manoeuvres, and get your wave count up. Here are some top tips to surf your best in small, dribbley waves.

Photo: Roxy

Paddle into the waves on an angle

Because the wave is small it will be moving with less force than a sucky four ft barrel (obviously). By paddling into the wave on an angle, you are giving yourself that extra second to remain higher on the wave without wasting your momentum on a tiny bottom turn lacking speed and drive.

Paddle with force

Although the wave may be going slowly, it does not mean you don’t have to put effort in. In fact its almost the opposite. The wave here is not going to do the work for you. Once you decide on your wave, commit to it, and get up as much momentum as possible before you are up and riding. Remember, every millisecond counts in small waves, you need every opportunity to create speed that you can get.

Quality over quantity

Try and aim on working on your speed. Getting up as much speed as possible to work on one turn is better than doing 3 piddly powerless turns. Try to generate speed from surfing rail to rail rather than flapping along (this admittedly is a hard habit to break but it looks and works so much better.) Because the waves are small and frequent, this allows you to practice again and again, so be ambitious with your turns. What do you have to lose?

The good thing about surfing in small waves

Is that it really forces you to refine your technique. To complete manoeuvres you really have to think about the speed you have, how to use it, and in what section you can use it in. Surfing small waves gives us the luxury of attempting new turns without the fear of missing out on “what could have been.” Besides, when you do head back out into sizeable waves again, it will feel bloody amazing.

Surfing in different conditions is always going to be beneficial for performance.

It gives you an opportunity to read different types of waves and it hones your decision making skills when choosing what manoeuvre to complete.

Make the most out of the next drought in swell and choose a couple of things to focus on specifically for small waves. You will be surprised at what you can achieve when you have something to work towards in an otherwise grovel session!

Article by Ruby at

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