How to Read and Catch the Right Waves


How to Read and Catch the Right Waves

Reading waves is a crucial part of being a surfer regardless of the type of surfer you are beginner, intermediate or advanced. If you have time to observe or follow the waves and their patterns you as a surfer will catch the best waves amongst other surfers and avoid wipeouts. A surfer with knowledge of how waves break and bend will become a better surfer because of this. Knowing the bends and breaks will let you know which waves to paddle out for and which ones to just sit out, but knowing the bends and breaks will not help you one bit. In regards to closeout waves or tunnel waves where the whole waves goes over you. When observing waves watching the unbroken ones, how is one supposed to know if the wave will break left or right well, according to some advanced surfers the answer is to pay close attention to detail.

For example; firstly keep your eye on the horizon line, secondly when there are multiple waves following suit keep your eye on and compare the waves’ angle and skyline, thirdly point out the tallest point of the wave, fourthly whichever side deepest part of the slope down is the direction of the break and lastly, the way the direction breaks is the same direction the surfer should ride. Next what about the rear of the wave it can split into two at a break, this is known as an A-Frame it looks like a V frame heading towards you out of the water, if this happens it’s your call on whether you want to paddle out to the left or to the right. Closeout waves are hard to surf and can’t be done by many always watch for the tallest point and this is where the wave will break and where you should be prepared for when it happens. By: SL Member Mari D.


It takes more than surfing the wave itself to be a surfer besides the basics of paddling, standing, safety, flag warning, weather and water conditions there is much more to know such as watching and reading a wave. As a surfer you have to know how to measure a wave, time a wave, eye your target, set a goal, find the peak of the wave and figure out your mistakes. As far as watching the waves you want to sit back and watch are they coming in from the east or west . The timing of the wave is important also what is the duration of the wave and approximately how often does the wave arrive is it every two minutes or every ten minutes. It is good to know so you can position yourself accordingly and give yourself time in between waves. Knowing your target wave is good and setting a goal to conquer, it is encouragement and a quest for the surfer. Once you set your target and goal it makes it easier to deliver on performance and if at first you don’t succeed you try and try again by analyzing your mistakes before during and after catching the wave.



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