619 How to Surf
Mitchell, from Hawaii, gives Joel advice on how to learn to surf.
Joel: So, Mitchell, I only surfed for about a year and I never got very good at it. I wonder if you could explain how a beginner goes about learning how to surf.
Mitchell: Well, that's a tough question because I was surfing ever since I was small so it came natural to me, surfing, but since I know I surf. The beginning is put your board in the sand, lay on your board on the sand, pretend that you are paddling and then push yourself up like a push-up and then stand. You repeat that over-and-over again and eventually you enter the water and you get a friend to hold the board for you and then you stand up in the water while your friend pushed the board to gain balance.
Joel: The part I had the hardest time with was when there were big waves, it was so hard to get out far enough so that you could actually catch a wave. What do you call it, "duck diving"?
Mitchell: Duck diving, yeah, it's key to surfing. If you see a wave, the thing is that you have to see the wave before it comes. That's the secret, like where's it crashing and when it's crashing. We call it "crashing" when it's coming down. Duck diving, you put your knees on the board if it's a big wave...
Joel: Oh, you get on your knees.
Mitchell: You get on your hands and knees and you push the nose of the board down
Joel: OK, push the front part down.
Mitchell: Yeah, and at the same time, after you push it down, you also kick your hips, and push with your hips, like how you dive in water, like a dolphin.
Joel: OK, and then when the wave crashes over you, do you lay down on the board.
Mitchell: You get back up. You pull your nose back up.
Joel: OK, you pull the front and back, back up, and that helps you to back under the wave. And what about when you're...
Mitchell: But the key is, you don't want to duck dive when the wave is crashing on you because you are already screwed.
Joel: OK, you have to duck before the wave.
Mitchell: Before the wave or when it's crashing on you, like we call it white water. A lot of times you duck dive in white water. White water is when the wave crashes. The water looks like it's all white like white cotton candy, so you duck dive underneath that.
Joel: And when you're catching a wave, how do you know when to stand up?
Mitchell: Like when the wave, when you see the wave coming you start paddling to get with the wave and before the wave even starts curling, you're already getting ready to stand up. It the wave is already curling, and your standing up, it's too late.
Joel: It's too late. OK. So you have to stand up...
Mitchell: Before it starts curling.
Joel: I see. I see.
Mitchell: And going the direction where it's crashing.
Joel: Well, I'm going to have to go surfing with you sometime so I can have a private lesson.
that's a tough question
That's a tough question to answer, because I can't explain how I learned how to surf.
Something is a 'tough question' when the answer isn't easy to give for some reason. Notice the following:
- I don't know what I would do in your position. That's a tough question.
- What's my favorite food? That's a tough question.
I was surfing ever since I was small, so it came natural to me.
When something 'comes natural' to you, it means that you learn it easily and quickly. Notice the following:
- Swimming comes natural for me, but running is very difficult.
- Does learning a language come natural for you?
Just lay on your board and pretend that you are paddling.
To 'paddle' you put a long piece of wood with a flat side, or, in this case, your hand, in the water and move it away from the direction that you want to go to move yourself around in the water. Notice the following:
- I can spend hours just paddling around in the pool.
- My shoulders are really tired from paddling all day.
get out far enough
It's hard to get out far enough when there are big waves.
To 'get far enough out' means to get to a distance that is far enough away from the shore to be able to surf properly. Notice the following:
- If you don't get far enough out, you will hit the sand when the wave drops.
- There is a strong current under the water that makes it difficult to get far enough out.
Before the wave starts curling, get ready to stand up on your board.
A wave 'curls' when it gets to its highest point and then folds over. If the waves are tall enough, you can actually surf inside the curl. Notice the following:
- The waves aren't tall enough when they are curling today.
- If the wave doesn't curl the right way, you can't ride it.
Below are some more great lessons!
far enough • curling