One of the most important surfing techniques that you need to learn is the take-off at an angle. This is crucial because it sets the tone of the entire ride. The failure to do it properly will affect your momentum. You might end up immediately falling off the board and unable to chase the wave.
As many experts would say, the take-off is the bread and butter of surfing. However, it can be more difficult than what you have initially thought. Standing on the board is already a challenge, which becomes more difficult when doing it at an angle and when confronted with overwhelming waves.
If you want to learn how to improve your take-off, especially at an angle, keep on reading and learn from the insights we’ll be sharing.
1. Look Down the Line
Just like any other maneuver in surfing, it is crucial that you keep looking at the direction where you are heading. This is going to send your energy exactly on where you will be heading. Additionally, it also produces a chain reaction. This means that the rest of the body will follow.
Depending on where you are looking, angle your surfboard slightly in the same direction. You need to judge the waves and other conditions of the environment to know the best angle. Avoid angling the board too much. In the case of the latter, you will miss the wave.
2. Work on Your Paddling Skills
If you want to be better in angling your takeoffs, it is also critical that you work and build your paddling skills. After spotting a potential wave you want to ride, build up your paddling speed. At this point, slightly angle the surfboard in the direction where the wind will break.
Once you reach the last paddling stages, use your chest to lean on the side of the board depending on whether you are moving to the left or right. Paddle using the sweeping strokes using the arm that is opposite the direction you intend to go.
At this point, you are now ready to pop up. When this happens, point your head and body to the direction where you will be moving. Apply a slight pressure for the board to dig in the water. However, do not apply too much pressure as this can result in losing your balance.
Position your board properly in the wave, ideally at the top third or middle face.
When you paddle too much and end up creating a big angle, you will end up over the shoulder and unable to chase the wave. On the other hand, if you paddle without looking at the direction where you will be heading, you won’t know the speed and line.
Another important thing to remember when paddling is that your stroke rate must suit your speed. It is like driving a car and choosing the right gear that will match the environmental conditions.
3. Judge the Wave
One of the most important skills that you need in improving your takeoff is the ability to judge the waves. It is important that you know what waves you can realistically handle. Especially as a novice, do not just brave any wave if you know that you will end up being wiped out. If the wave is too big for you, wait for the next one before your take-off. By judging the conditions of the wave, you will have better control of your next moves.
By judging the wave, you are working on your timing. If you get the timing wrong, all your paddling efforts will just go to waste, and worse, you will end up falling off the board. Also, prevent taking off too late. When the peak of the wave has passed and you have taken off yet, it is best to wait.
4. Pop-Up Properly
Your pop-up is another crucial element of the take-off. This is not as easy as lifting yourself out of the board. Especially for beginners and when the waves are big, this won’t be easy. You might end up being wiped out even before you can get up.
When it comes to popping up properly, one thing that you should avoid is putting more weight in front. This increases the chances of nose diving. You should also avoid concentrating your weight on the back. This is crucial in improving control and stability. However, the pressure on the tail of the surfboard will make it harder for you to catch waves. The best thing to do is to find your sweet spot in the middle of the surfboard.
5. Take Note of the Follow-Through
While you are busy thinking of the best ways to improve your take-off, don’t forget to work on your follow-through as well. Without the latter, your efforts will be useless. Once you are up, flex your knees. Maintain a low position. This will result in a low center of gravity. In turn, it improves balance while also providing better control of the board so that you can easily steer it to the intended direction.
As always, look in the direction where you will be moving. This is important not only for the rest of the body to follow but for safety purposes as well. You will easily see if there is any surfer in front of you and you can change your direction instantly to avoid a clash. Make the most out of the wave and have fun!
6. Strengthen Your Body
This seems to be a general theme when it comes to improving techniques. During your time outside of the water, if you want to take surfing seriously, engage in a regular workout routine that will improve the strength of your legs, arms, shoulder, back, and core, among other parts that you will need. For instance, shoulder, arm, and chest are all important when you are taking off. You will use them as you get up on the board. Your legs, meanwhile, will be crucial in making sure that you stand firm on the ground regardless of the conditions of the wave.
Learning how to improve your take-off at an angle is one of the most important surfing techniques for every beginner. It is important to have the right timing. Your paddling skills are also essential. Plus, work on the strength of your upper and lower body to avoid being overtaken by the wave.