How to Take Off Late on A Wave: Surf Like an Expert


In surfing, you must be knowledgeable about where to position yourself in a wave. Doing so allows you so maximize your tube time, whether you’re behind the peak, on it, or under it. Admit it, late take offs can be too complicated to perfect. On most occasions, late take offs are likely to result in painful wipeouts. However, what you can do is to quickly pop up to be able to optimize the bottom turn.

In this post, we will be discussing the three scenarios, in which you can fully utilize the late take offs. These can be very useful, especially if you want to master the skill of positioning yourself properly in a wave. By the end of this article, you must be able to know which one works best for you. Keep on reading if you want to know more.

Late Take Offs Behind the Peak

Late take offs behind the peak happen when you’re surfing a wave that has an A-frame and when you’re just behind the section that is breaking. Whatever direction you’re going, either left or right, keep in mind that you must never take off at the wave’s center top. The reason is that you’re likely to stall into the barrel if you’re closer to the peak. However, you must remember that it all depends on the wave’s size.

For instance, you might want to get closer to the peak as it allows you to take off and stall into the barrel. Therefore, maximizing your tube time in the shorter section. For bigger and heavier waves, on the other hand, you might want to position yourself a little farther from the breaking lip, where you’ll find it very easy to take off. What you need to do in these scenarios is to do one pump to be able to shoot through faster. Then, you may backdoor the whole section after.

Late Take Offs on the Peak

While late offs on the peak is very common, it’s not the situation you would want to be in. While it’s not an easy thing to do, taking off on the peak can still be perfected with practice. When forced into an airdrop, keep in mind to apply pressure on your toes, back foot, and tail. You know that the wave only wants to suck you up. What you can do is to lean back on your toes. Doing so allows you your board and fins to dig right in. In turn, you may also be able to catch the face and therefore, slow down up the wave.

Late Take Offs Under the Lip

Taking off right under the lip of the wave probably is one of the most challenging drops you can do. As you may already know, you need to be quick and precise when you’re under the lip of a wave that is steep. Here’s what you need to do:

  • The first thing that you need to be doing is paddling as fast as you possibly can. Also, it may help you if you try to beat the wave’s speed and stay just beneath the lip.
  • As the wave only wants to suck you up to its face, you must be able to position yourself in the middle or somewhere farther down the wave to the best of your abilities.
  • After, remember to keep your shoulders and arms parallel to the wave as soon as you’re standing up on your surfboard.
  • Once your surfboard is done with the drop and the fins finally engage, try pumping and pulling the surfboard beneath you. You might also want to avoid the foam ball that’s likely to be moving fast.
  • Lastly, keep in mind that with the freight train waves, you will be required to paddle as fast as you can at an angle. Try to catch up with the wave’s speed before you pop up and ride down the line.

Tips on How to Take Off Late on A Wave

  • The key to dropping in on steep waves and riding down the line is to angle your take offs. In fact, popping up with an angle allows you to get up on your feet with the right amount of momentum when you encounter a fast wave face while you beat a fast first section.
  • In most cases, not angling your take off can only end your ride before you even start.
  • When you feel as if the wave is getting away or it’s moving too fast, you might want to try moving your chin toward the surfboard. Doing so will provide you with additional paddling power when you apply more pressure down; thus, creating a planning surface.
  • You must never paddle at too much of an angle, as you are only going to come off your shoulder instead of into the wave. It would also be helpful if you don’t angle little too early.
  • You also need to remember that if you angle your take offs too slightly, you’re only going to end up dropping straight down the wave and back to the whitewater.
  • You must also never paddle into the wave and start angling your surfboard. The reason is that the surfboard won’t start turning until you start to move.
  • Leaning on the rails as you begin to drop down isn’t enough to angle your surfboard. If you want to create momentum, you must be able to make the last three paddles, as it encourages your body and board on the angle you want to accomplish.
  • Remember to keep your feet in the correct position. Not doing so would only cause your surfboard to go in a different way.
  • If you look down, you are also likely to go down. With this, never look down to your feet as you try to pop up. You must be able to look where you want your surfboard to take you.
  • Lastly, never arch your back little too much. The reason is that there’s no place your momentum should go but forward. If you do, you are only going to disrupt the forward motion.


Now that we’ve reached the end of the discussions, it’s now up to you to apply this new knowledge to your next surfing session. Taking late take offs, even when it takes a lot of time to master, is very doable and can be perfected with practice. You only need to remember to refer to what we have discussed in this post to be able to master the skill of taking late take offs.

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