Sean Poynter’s Pro SUP Surfing Tips: Completing the Wave

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Sean Poynter on his way to a solid completion. Photo: Luke Schram

How to Finish Every Wave Strong

Riding a wave to its bona fide end is the sign of a good surfer. Tying in maneuvers between the beginning and the end of the wave determines just how good. But we’re building the foundation here, so riding a wave to its fullest potential will be the focus of this fundamental tutorial.

What is the end of a wave? The end of a wave comes after you’ve covered all the rideable wave-face until there is no more face to ride. If you can clear sections to get more wall, then you do that. If you ride it until the very end when the wave fizzles out or shuts down then you’re job on the wave is done. BUT your transaction with the wave is not done yet. You have to get back out. As learned and taught by SUP ‘n’ Surf Retreat Coach Ian Cairns, a completed ride is A to Z. “A” being the take off and “Z” being the line-up. So A to Z is catching the wave and taking it all the way back to that point (the line-up), standing. The previous installment of this skills series, Climbing Whitewater, will help you make your way back out smoothly.

Typically there are two type of waves: slow waves and fast waves. Some slower waves can be quick and some faster waves can be slow. That’s the challenge of waves of course, every wave is different and waves change by the second. We need to understand the movement of each wave. It’s this movement that determines our movements, because the goal is to ride the wall until there is no more wall to ride.

Poynter makes the most of a small wave by cranking a critical top turn into the closing maneuver to finish the wave strong. Photo: Luke Schram

Given these two different wave speeds, we need to adjust accordingly.

Simply put, fast waves, or fast parts of a wave, need to be surfed in the middle to top parts of the wave. The middle of the wave is our fast track, our jet stream. This zone allows us to move at the pace of the wave and quicker. If you can work up and down between this middle fast track to the top of the wave and back down over and over we can create more speed than the speed of the wave, otherwise known as “pumping”. Pumping is critical for making quick waves or quick parts of a wave.

On slower waves, or slower parts of the wave, we can utilize more of the wave. From the very top of the wave to the bottom of the wave. This is where more critical maneuvers can take place. The reason being because we can have deeper bottom turns which make for more powerful top turns.

Understanding where to be on a wave to complete waves of all speeds is going to help in you completing the full length of the ride. Give it a practice and complete those waves!


More Pro SUP Surfing Tips with Sean Poynter

This installment of SUP surfing tips with Sean Poynter is part of a monthly series brought to you by SUP ‘N’ Surf Retreat.


About SUP ‘n’ Surf Retreat

Led by two-time ISA SUP Surfing Gold Medalist (USA) Sean Poynter, the SUP ‘n’ Surf Retreat provides an exclusive paddle surfing and wave coaching experience in beautiful Punta Mita, Mexico. Retreat highlights include coaching by several world-class athletes, private cove with uncrowded waves, panga trips, all-inclusive luxury resort accommodations and more. Rated the best paddle surf learning experience. Adult (18+) paddlers of all skill levels are welcome.

The next set of retreats are taking place May 1-5 and 8-12, 2018.
To learn more or to book a retreat, visit the SUP ‘n’ Surf Retreat website.

See also: SUP Surf Trip Tips with Sean Poynter

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The article was originally published on Standup Paddling

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