Wrong board??

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Wrong board??

Postby bakers » Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:49 am

Recently took up surfing and was sold a 7foot fish board. I am aprox 6'4" and weigh 96kg. Im getting into the water at every opportunity as I feel hooked. Every session ill get to my feet a few times but I feel like I should be getting up more often as the majority of the time I just drop out the back of the wave. Should I just keep on practicing or should I be looking into getting a longer board? Im asking because it sometimes feel like im whipping a dead horse, so should I cut my loses and start again with a new board or are my problems just general learner surfer problems. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: Wrong board??

Postby Alwayzthekook » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:14 pm

There are no short cuts mate. It's all down to water time - and it takes a lot of time in the water! And it takes everybody a long time of not getting it right. Remember its not just about balance - its about speed, its about positioning, and its about timing. That's a lot of variables to all get right at the exact same instant, and it takes a lot of practice and a lot of time sitting in the water and learning to read the bumps. Oh, and developing surf fitness (which cant be found doing anything else really).
In very basic terms - you could get a longer, floatier board. You'll find that easier in the short-term, but it won't necesarily make things easier for you in the long-term. The smaller the board you learn on, the harder it will be in the short-term but you'll reap the benefits further down the line. (that wasn't even meant to be a pun! :) )

I would suggest that you relate it to how often you're going to be getting in the water.Let's say it takes 300 hours to become relatively competent (for example). How long will it take you to spend 300 hours in the sea with your board?
If you're not surfing often, get a bigger board - you'll have more fun. If you're planning on being in the water at least weekly (if not more) stick with your board.

Check me out with the big post... I'm not being distracted from the 3 essays I have to write at all! :)
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Re: Wrong board??

Postby manbearpig » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:55 pm

enjoy every second of it too, it might not feel like it but every wave you take you are progressing.
please give us a follow up post in 10 years and let us know how stoked you are that you had the determination to keep at it
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Re: Wrong board??

Postby pootle » Fri Aug 19, 2011 1:21 pm

A real quick test would be to hire a soft top/foam board and see how you get on I guess, but I don't think it's the board (although I'm not really a good judge being a kookie beginner on a cheapo bic....)

If you are a relative beginner its probably a good time to get someone else look at what you are doing. If you get some good coaching early you should correct some bad habits before they become too ingrained, and it should give you some direction to what you should be working on to make the biggest improvements.

I had what sounds like a similar problem to you last year. Having got pleased that I had managed to get to the point that I could stand up reasonably successfully (say 4/5 goes) I got really frustrated by getting to my feet then watching the wave go cruising away from me. It felt like every time I stood up someone had pulled the brakes on. I had a couple of lessons shortly after that, and it turned out that my problem was that my stance was a bit rubbish (I'm still working on improving this!) and as I got to my feet a lot of my weight was going onto my back foot. I had a tendency to try to stand upright straight away which all pushed weight towards the tail. I was told to try to stay crouched forwards as much as possible once I had popped onto my feet, keeping my chest over my front knee. Having done this I was finding myself picking up a lot more speed from the wave and riding the waves all the way into the shore line.

One other thing that helped me a bit was to go back a step and mess around while laying down moving my weight back and forwards and getting a feel for how this affects your speed.
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Re: Wrong board??

Postby Rickyroughneck » Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:18 pm

bakers wrote:Recently took up surfing and was sold a 7foot fish board. I am aprox 6'4" and weigh 96kg. Im getting into the water at every opportunity as I feel hooked. Every session ill get to my feet a few times but I feel like I should be getting up more often as the majority of the time I just drop out the back of the wave. Should I just keep on practicing or should I be looking into getting a longer board? Im asking because it sometimes feel like im whipping a dead horse, so should I cut my loses and start again with a new board or are my problems just general learner surfer problems. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

I think you are doing what I did for a while, and that is popping up into a position too far back on the wave.

It sounds like you can get to your feet comfortably, and the problem is instead catching the wave. Of course getting a longer board would help, as it would probably be wider too thus more stable and would plane at lower speeds.

I would try popping up into your bottom turn. As you catch the wave position yourself as far forward as possible (so the nose would sink if you stop paddling) and as soon as you pop up, really drive it into your bottom turn. You need to generate the speed, because it sounds like you are surfing gutless waves (as I get most of the time).

If you try the above and still drop off waves, I would get a longboard for the smaller days (plus longboarding is awesome :D).
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Re: Wrong board??

Postby Jim Birtwisle » Sat Aug 20, 2011 5:25 am

I certainly don't think you have the wrong board, maybe it's just not quite the right time. Judging by your size I would say that it would be a perfect board to go down to after getting the basics on something a bit bigger. As some of the advice above says, it sounds as if you just need time in the water to get used to where you need to position yourself and maybe work on some exercises to bost your paddle power whist out the water.

Here's my two pence worth...keep the board, but if you're getting frustrated and want to learn about getting into waves a little quicker (not really a 'short cut' but in terms of increasing wave count) and you can afford it, go spend a little money on something like a second hand 8ft+ mini mal (you can usually pick something up for not more than £200). This will up your wave count and be more stable for you in the early stages of surfing. Plus it will be a great board for smaller days and retain it's value if you keep it in decent nick and want to sell it on. I started nearly 2 years ago now on a ridiculously short board and wasn't getting anywhere. Within a week on my second hand mini mal I had learned more than I had in the previous 5 months. I've now got a couple of shortboards thanks to the progress I made in that time (I still had to spend a lot of hours in the water and did a lot of fitness training) but the mal still comes out for the microscopic days and it's great fun. If you don't have that kind of money to spend then you just have to make the most of every swell and spend as long in the water as you can.
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Re: Wrong board??

Postby bakers » Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:24 am

Yo guys. Thanks for all the input, much appreciated from everyone. Got a lil bit frustrated and felt like id hit a wall. But from the input ive recieved im ready to get back out there and smash it. Luckily I live quite close to the beach so can commit myself to the surf. Unluckily enough I dont have enough cash to get another board so im just gona push through with this 1. Im feeling as if its my positioning and timing with catching the wave is the main problem. Ive tried putting more wieght towards the front of the board when im popping up which is great when im on the smaller waves but on the bigger waves itll usually cause quite an extreme nose dive.
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Re: Wrong board??

Postby Jim Birtwisle » Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:51 am

bakers wrote:Im feeling as if its my positioning and timing with catching the wave is the main problem. Ive tried putting more wieght towards the front of the board when im popping up which is great when im on the smaller waves but on the bigger waves itll usually cause quite an extreme nose dive.


When it's a bigger day you might need to just try catching the wave from a little further back to avoid a nose dive, this is where your paddle strangth will really come into it. You need to be planing in by the time the wave starts getting steep and pretty much already popped up by then. If you think you're going to be in a situation where you're catching the wave a little late and it's getting a bit steeoer then there's no harm in being a little further back on the board and keeping your head back as opposed to forward to avoid a dive. Don't worry, if you get lot's of water time it will all come together in the end.
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Re: Wrong board??

Postby pootle » Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:07 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVyatMUYwZw

I got this link from another thread - really good video - nose diving is yet another common problem for beginners. I thought had it nailed until I went out back into some bigger surf and had a frustrating time either not catching waves or diving deep! Once you get out back you suddenly get educated that however good you thought your paddling was, it is not good enough.....A few days/weeks of sore shoulders and you'll soon get it :)
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Re: Wrong board??

Postby skimmer2 » Sun Aug 28, 2011 7:03 am

I'd keep the fish but also get a bigger board - maybe find a second hand minmal or longboard. I'm of the the theory that the more waves you get the better you get. So, a floatier board will get the wavecount right up and you'll learn quicker. Keep the fish for when you want to downsize...that is if you want to downsize....surfing longboards is great fun and a real skill and you get a glide that you'll never get on a wee stick. Your fish sounds like a good all round size by the way but you are tall so might find a bigger board easier to handle at the start.
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Re: Wrong board??

Postby swoop720 » Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:47 pm

yeah some good comments there - keep the 7'0 and go for a bigger board 8ft + which you can use on small days too, form follows fun and all that
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Re: Wrong board??

Postby bakers » Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:31 am

Yo guys O.P here! been a while since i posted but jus wanted to drop you all a message to say ive upgraded and started getting the green waves! Thanks for all the advice. Much appreciated!
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Re: Wrong board??

Postby monkeystyle » Tue Nov 01, 2011 11:15 pm

What did you get? Something about 8 foot? be good for other beginners to know.

Don't forget that board thickness and width is even more important for buoyancy than length.

a 5"10" fish can paddle like a 9 footer if it's got enough foam in the right place.
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Re: Wrong board??

Postby bakers » Wed Nov 02, 2011 10:25 am

I did look at getting a new board but just couldnt afford it so stuck with my 7foot fish.
As with all great past times persistence is the key!
To any beginners having trouble I would advice to look through the above posts. All great information!
The points which helped me the most were;
1. Positioning on the board - I was always dropping out the back of the wave due to being so far back on the board so I spent a lot of time experimenting with my positioning. Once you find what can only be described as "the sweet spot" youll notice the difference.
2. Paddling speed - Getting enough speed before tring to catch the wave is crucial, when I first started out I seriously underestimated how much speed you need to catch the waves. I think this is a major downfall for most beginners! So get those arms moving!
3. Position of the wave - Had to spend a lot of time watching other surfers with this one. Monitoring where they are in relation to the wave they are trying to catch and when they start paddling etc.
Still got a long way to go but getting there bit by bit and loving every second of it!
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Re: Wrong board??

Postby Veos » Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:06 am

Alwayzthekook wrote:There are no short cuts mate. It's all down to water time - and it takes a lot of time in the water! And it takes everybody a long time of not getting it right. Remember its not just about balance - its about speed, its about positioning, and its about timing. That's a lot of variables to all get right at the exact same instant, and it takes a lot of practice and a lot of time sitting in the water and learning to read the bumps. Oh, and developing surf fitness (which cant be found doing anything else really).
In very basic terms - you could get a longer, floatier board. You'll find that easier in the short-term, but it won't necesarily make things easier for you in the long-term. The smaller the board you learn on, the harder it will be in the short-term but you'll reap the benefits further down the line. (that wasn't even meant to be a pun! :) )

I would suggest that you relate it to how often you're going to be getting in the water.Let's say it takes 300 hours to become relatively competent (for example). How long will it take you to spend 300 hours in the sea with your board?
If you're not surfing often, get a bigger board - you'll have more fun. If you're planning on being in the water at least weekly (if not more) stick with your board.

Check me out with the big post... I'm not being distracted from the 3 essays I have to write at all! :)


I was thinking of changing my board for a longer one as I find it hard to pop up, but after reading this Im now dedicated to sticking to my board..
I guess your right, nothing good is easy.
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Re: Wrong board??

Postby bombie » Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:03 pm

Beginners usually start paddling too late and make weak strokes - with the result that they fall off the back of the wave. Paddling like that is fine when you are on a foamie in the shorebreak (due to the massive buoyancy of a foamie) but no good once you want to snag clean waves on a normal board.

Once you get your timing and paddle sorted you'll be able to pull in with less strokes required; until that point, paddle hard and early.

The point is that you need to be travelling at the speed of the wave at the time you want to pop up.
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Re: Wrong board??

Postby Jim Birtwisle » Thu Feb 16, 2012 4:16 pm

One of the things I read which helped, which I hadn't considered before was getting the nose of the board to point down the slope of the wave when paddling and trying to drop in. Kinda simple when you think about it but it helped me when I started puting it into practice.
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Re: Wrong board??

Postby bakers » Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:41 pm

i ended up getting a new board. i went to r.cooper and had a chat with him and he sorted me out with a 7'10 minimal and my surfing has improved massively in the last 2 months. im catching unbroken waves but struggling to get much of a ride by the time ive made my turn the wave comes crashing into my face, im guessing this is due to getting up to late? but im struggling to get up any earlier.
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Re: Wrong board??

Postby ATTMFKH » Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:48 pm

^^ angle your take-off
Are We Too Deep ...............
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