Leucadia Surf School, surfing lessons and camps in Encinitas, Leucadia, Carlsbad in San Diego, California

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Paddling Through Waves (Progessive Skill 3.)
There are three skills which will help you paddle through waves and
progress through the break zone.

(1) Pushing Up - used on smaller broken waves or unbroken waves that are close to
(2) Busting through - used on unbroken waves that have just started to peak.
(3) Eskimo Roll - used on bigger broken waves.

It is important to have good paddling technique and body positioning on the surfboard (refer stages 1 and 2), you will need to achieve a maximum thrust from each paddle to gain and keep momentum. The more power you go into a wave with will help you maintain your position and not be dragged backwards towards the beach. You must understand that the wave is not going to stop, by paddling hard and fast into it is your best chance of getting through.
When paddling through a wave make sure you approach it with the nose facing directly into the wave, if you end up sideways or slightly angled the wave will get underneath your surfboard and force you backwards. While you are in the break zone and paddling through waves you should keep a forward momentum, keep the arms paddling, if you get knocked of your surfboard always climb back on and keep going until you have paddled beyond the breaking waves. It is then that you can sit, relax and have a rest.
As mentioned there are three skills you will need to practice and use, in all skills what you are ideally trying to achieve is keeping the surfboard flat and horizontal so it will pierce through the wave. It is when the wave gets underneath the surfboard that it picks you up and carries you with it towards the beach.
Used on smaller white wash waves or when paddling over peaking green waves. Similar to the skill practiced back in Stage (1) of this booklet but now you are paddling through a wave. Paddle hard and fast directly into the wave, just as the wave hits the nose of the surfboard, grab the rails next to your chest, push up and and raise up onto either your knees or toes. It is important to hold your weight with your upper body and NOT transfer it into your legs. Pushing Up
Keep the surfboard as horizontal as you can, once the wave has passed half way down your body you should lower your chest down and straight away resume paddling and start to gain forward momentum and prepare for the next wave.
This skill is used when a green wave has just peaked and is about to start breaking. Paddle directly up the face of the wave, as you see the top (lip) of the wave start to break or crumble grab the rails of your surfboard at the chest line, but, rather than pushing up, keep your chest on the deck of the surfboard, hold on tight, elbows up, keep your head tucked in, looking down, and "bust through" the top of the wave. Busting Through
This technique will help you come out the back of the wave, however you are now in a critical part of the wave. You must start to paddle immediately after "busting through" otherwise the wave could suck you back as it starts to break.
On bigger waves that have more power you will not be able to "push up" and over or "bust through", you must roll the surfboard over and attempt to pierce through the bottom of the wave. This technique requires effort and confidence, with a properly sized beginner surfboard this technique is your best chance of progressing through broken waves. Rolling Under a Wave
You should practise this technique on the beach first before attempting it in the surf. Once again paddle hard directly towards a broken wave, just before the wave hits the nose of the surfboard grab the rails, but
this time slightly higher than the chest line (about shoulder height). Roll the surfboard over and hold it tightly and as a close to your chest as you can.
Try and keep the surfboard horizontal, the wave will pass over the top of the surfboard and then you will come to the surface out the back of the wave.
It is important now to flip the surfboard back over, climb on as quick as you can and then continue paddling.This technique requires you to use a lot of upper body strength to keep your body close to the surfboard, at times you may feel you are wrestling with the wave for control of your surfboard.
You may see other surfers on short boards duck diving under waves, although this looks easy it is a more advanced technique and not suitable for beginner sized surfboards.
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