Tips for surfing bigger waves

Surfing bigger waves with be a constant challenge through your surfing career, this year especially. It is not possible for anyone near the Pacific Ocean not have heard the words “El Nino”, somewhere during the past few weeks. This winter is one for the record books. Even though you may be new to surfing you should get out there and take some enjoyment of these consistent bigger swells. Here are some tips for you to surf some of those gnarly bigger waves.

  1. Don’t ignore your gut. Trust your instincts. If you think it’s too big for your britches then it very may well be. There is a fine line between having balls and putting yourself in situations you shouldn’t be in. That decision can have some serious regret. Make sure you sit on the beach and watch the sets.
  2. Know everything you can about the conditions. Is the swell getting bigger? Will that incoming tide make it extra difficult for you to reach the peak? Look at the patterns, how many waves per set? How frequently are the sets coming in.
  3. Make sure that you are riding the correct equipment. If the waves are overhead and barreling, you may have trouble with your 9’ noserider. Look at what everyone else is riding.
  4. Surf with a buddy. Surfing alone is rad sometimes, but when it’s big, make sure you got a pal to go out with.
  5. Paddle out during the lulls or else you won’t make it out. So remember to pay attention to the frequency of sets.
  6. Try not to surf a place bigtime, that you haven’t already surfed when it is small. You want to be in a comfortable area to what you already know.
  7. Picking the right place for you is very important. Some beaches at 6 foot are much more difficult than others at the same size!
  8. Following the rules of surfing and etiquette is always important but it gets exponentially more important when the waves have size. So if you don’t have them memorized yet, (click here to refresh your memory:
  9. If you can’t make it out to the outside, and are getting exhausted in the impact zone. Turn around and take a white water wave back to the beach. It’s not necessarily giving up, just take a breather, let your arms recharge and wait for the lull and paddle back out.
  10. Do not paddle for every wave, choose wisely. Sometimes when it’s massive you may only catch one or two in a session. Be patient, it will be worth it. Take your time, be confident in your wave choice.

So hopefully this list can help push you toward the next step of your surfing career and get you into some bigger than average surf. It’s a bit of a conundrum for beginners in big waves. You don’t want to put yourself in dangerous situations but if you never surf anything bigger than waist high waves, how are you suppose to get to that next level? Please be safe out there, it’s an epic season and these waves/conditions don’t always happen. So enjoy your first El Nino and drop us a line sometime to tell us how you’ve been handling yourself in the bigger stuff.

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