Generating speed is key when you learn how to surf. At the core of staying in front of the breaking wave and every surfing maneuver, is surfing’s most important facet: speed control.
Here are a few key surfing tips for generating speed and maintaining it:
1 WAVE SELECTION
Different waves have different possibilities in riding them. The first step in having full control over your speed is understanding which waves will allow you to go fast and which don’t. Walled up waves produce faster sections while slow waves are usually flat and soft. To read a wave and to stay in the sweet spot takes time and practice in the water. Watching other people surf or watch clips on youtube can also help understand different waves and their speeding potential.
2 BOARD SELECTION
Another factor that has more to do with knowledge than your actual surfing is the selection of your board. Generally speaking the more foam a board has the faster it will glide. Different surfboard designs, tail shapes, concaves and rail types also affect the drive of the board.
Surfboards with less rocker (the curvature of the surfboard’s foam) generate more speed than curvier boards. A flatter board will work very well on smaller waves when there are no larger waves to help generate speed.
3 PUMPING & TRIMMING
Pumping describes the action of going up and down the wave. It usually happens on the steep section of the wave. The higher you are the more speed you will generate when going down. Once you are down decompress your legs and spring back up the wave. Repeat this a couple of times and you will be generating sufficient speed for your next turn or move.
To trim the surfboard transfer weight between your toe side and heel side. This will pull you up and down the face of the wave and help you in maintaining and generating speed.
4 BOTTOM TURN
A good bottom turn is the basis of lots of surfing maneuvers. With a good bottom turn you can actually gain extra speed. If you find yourself losing speed or even stalling when you do a bottom turn, you probably came into the turn too hard, too square. You’ve lost all your momentum that you’ve gained from coming down the wave.
The key to maintaining your speed is to draw a wider arching line with your knees bend and staying low. If done perfectly you will actually be generating speed with your bottom turn.
5 CLEAR WAX
Be sure to scrape off any surf wax from the bottom of your board. The smoother your surfboard, the more fluid it will glide through the water.
6 CHANGE FINS
Different fin designs and fin set ups also have an effect on a surfboard’s speed. A twin-fin will offer more speed than the traditional thruster set up, although you will lose some control. Surfboard fins with a large sweep will generate more speed and rigid fins can also help you to go faster.
Featured image by Sunova Surfboards