Basic Concepts:We have two river surfing technique videos on You Tube that we made with Boardworks/Badfish pro Mike Tavares last summer. They go into a little more detail about surfing technique and move into advanced moves and tricks. For this post I will focus on the first skill associated with river surfing….getting to the wave. Once you’re surfing you will be stoked just standing up over the rushing water for a while. We can get into Ollie 180’s and pop shuv-its later. Please note that I am assuming you are trying to learn to get onto the wave on your feet, but you can make it easier by paddling from your knees and all the tips still apply.
I am going to break down getting onto the wave into two basic skill areas:
- Know the anatomy of the wave.
- Foot Position.
Anatomy of the Wave:If you are already a kayaker, then you have a leg up on someone just getting introduced to whitewater through SUP, but you will still be humbled when you first get into river surfing since you have to be more precise on a stand up paddle board than sitting down in a kayak. Before you jump in the water at a new spot take a minute to stand above the feature and get an understanding of what it’s doing. Things that I look for include:
- How big are the eddys?
- Is one eddy larger than the other?
- Once I fall off the wave is it better to swim one way or the other?
- What is below the wave?
- Is there a last chance eddy that I want to make sure I hit if I miss my first option?
- Where is the eddyline or eddy/wave interface?
- Where is the sweet spot of the wave for surfing and what is in between the eddy and the sweet spot?