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Old    Jeff D (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       05-01-2012, 8:56 AM Reply   
I haven't been too into wake surfing but my boat came with a "real" Rocky Xanadu 6' surf board which is reportedly a good short board for small waves. I can toss the rope and surf behind my boat with a little bit of carving back and forth action but that's about it.

Anyway, I'm taking the wife and kids to Pensacola later today. I figured I'd check the surf report just for fun even though it's not an area really known for surfing. Tomorrow actually looks pretty good though with 5.9' waves predicted in the afternoon.

I figure I'll bring my surf board and give it a shot. Obviously I'll have to figure out how to paddle and jump up to a standing position vs. dropping in from the swim platform or using the rope but does anybody else have any tips? I figure I should be good to go as far as actually riding the wave is concerned once I get up and in position but not sure how tough it will be to get there.
Old    Tom (boardjnky4)      Join Date: Dec 2011       05-01-2012, 9:29 AM Reply   
wave positioning is everything. You have to get to know the water, how the waves are breaking, where to be positioned to get into them easily, etc... After you get that down, PADDLE PADDLE PADDLE. Start paddling early when a wave starts to come at you. You need to build up good speed to catch waves. Pop-up fast. Try to go straight to your feet, forget about using your knees as an intermediate.

So, in conclusion.
- Wave positioning...Watch others, don't cut in front of people, wait your turn. Take their cues on where to catch waves from though.
- PADDLE PADDLE PADDLE like the wind
- Once the wave "takes you" use both hands flat on the top of the board and pop up to your feet.
- Turn down the wave and go. If you are finding that you don't have enough time to do this and you are getting tossed, then either catch the wave earlier or down the line a bit more, or try to paddle on a down-wave angle and catch/standup as you are angling down the wave(this is a bit more advanced but not THAT hard).

Godspeed my friend. I hope you like the taste of salt water.
Old    Anthonyv911 (tonyv420)      Join Date: Jul 2007       05-01-2012, 9:31 AM Reply   
practice jumping into the standing position on dry land, paddling is basic. Good luck!
Old    Jeff D (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       05-01-2012, 9:39 AM Reply   
Should I get some wax for the front foot spot on my board? It's really slick when wake surfing as there's not a full length stomp pad like on most wake specific boards. I've always just dealt with it. I need to get a leash too I guess.

Thanks,
Jeff
Old    Jeff D (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       05-01-2012, 9:47 AM Reply   
Also, I think by ocean surfing standards I'm a bit of a beast for this board at 6'1" 210 lbs. Is this going to be a big problem? It's 6' x 20" x 2 1/8". I figure if I can surf on a comparatively crappy wave generated by my boat I should be able to surf a much larger wave with more ease if anything. I'm guessing paddling effectively may be the biggest challenge given the insufficient buoyancy.
Old    Nick Wiersema (Chaos)      Join Date: Apr 2010       05-01-2012, 9:59 AM Reply   
Yes, get a leash, get some wax, and no you are not too big for the board (however, as a novice paddler, you will not be able to catch a wave as easily as you would on a bigger board). You will first need to learn to lay on the board properly for optimal paddling.... it is pretty obvious when novices get on a surfboard and paddle... the nose is usually way up in the air... for some reason people seem to think you kick with your feet. the only time you kick with your feet on a surfboard is when you need that extra umph to get into small waves..... You will need to get comfortable pushing through the white water and waves coming at you. Generally you will duck dive, but duck diving is a bit more intermediate skill, secondly, it is the Florida Panhandle.... the waves do not have enough power to send you flying over the top, so with enough arm strength and paddling you should be able to push through all the slop to actually get to one of the peaks.
Old    Andy Graham (ottog1979)      Join Date: Apr 2007       05-01-2012, 10:01 AM Reply   
^Yes, a 6'1" board is WAY short for 210 lbs. Not to dissuade you - It can't hurt to goof around and give it a shot with what you have. However, my advice would be to rent a long board 8.5-9' plus if you're just trying it out for a day or two and want to be successful. I grew up waterskiing with hours & hours behind the boat. Moved to CA when I was 23 and took up surfing. Ocean surfing is WAY harder than it looks. Timing, figuring out the bottom turn, etc. Basically, it took a full summer to learn & be a proficient surfer. Wakesurfing experience will help, but timing the ocean waves, getting up on your feet and then focusing on riding takes a while.

Tom's advice above is really good. I'd emphasize thinking about paddling at an angle to the wave (vs. perpendicular) or thinking about making this turn from perpendicular going towards more parallel is key. You'll only have to "pearl" a few times before you realize you don't want to do that much more.

Have fun with it!
Old    Jeff D (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       05-01-2012, 10:19 AM Reply   
Ok, one more thing. The surf report calls for the conditions to be "choppy" (vs. Clean or Fair). Does this mean that even though the swells will be around 5-6' tall that they will be too inconsistent to actually surf on? Or is "choppy" ok?
Old    Nick Wiersema (Chaos)      Join Date: Apr 2010       05-01-2012, 11:07 AM Reply   
Basically, choppy on the gulf coast will mean, that you will be in a washing machine to some extent. The surf will be fairly unorganized and peaky, ATCE. The main thing to consider will be swell direction and the direction of your chosen beach. The wind has been blowing out of the east/southeast for the past few weeks, so actually swell has been laying down not just wind chop. This is not going to be some epic surf trip, where you a carving long clean lines.... it is going to be short shoulders, and a lot of white water.... but you will be able to catch a few and have some fun, along with probably a wicked sunburn, sore shoulders, stomach and arms..... Wednesday looks like a decent swell period for the Pensacola area, so if you hit it early before the afternoon winds it should be pretty fun.
Old    Greg Anderson (ReSession)      Join Date: Apr 2010       05-01-2012, 11:47 AM Reply   
I've been wakesurfing for years and went out West to Hermosa Beach last Spring to do some ocean surfing because I thought "hey, it can't be that hard!"...my suggestion: Leave the 6' board at home, call a local surf shop in Pensacola and arrange to take beginning surfer lessons. If you intend to go out on your own, never having experienced paddling out (which is about 85% of the game!), you're likely in for tiring experience. But PanHandle surfing is likely less work, so hopefully you make it out and catch a few waves!
Old    Edgar Ramon (jame04)      Join Date: Nov 2007       05-01-2012, 2:00 PM Reply   
I agree with the above but let me ask, are you beach surfing or paddling out? Beach surfing you can pretty much stand where ever your at. This is a bit less intimiidating, but still be carfeul as you might be standing and the board comes back and hits you. And one thing you can try is, your first couple of waves, don't stand up, just extend your arms as far as possible and concentrate on looking straight ahead and ride the wave in like that. A big mistake a lot of new riders make is looking down at the board or feet when trying to stand up. As far as the chop....watch the waves as they come in and count the time you have between the waves crashing. if its 10-20 seconds then you should be ok, anything sooner will be hard.

Last edited by jame04; 05-01-2012 at 2:07 PM.
Old    N L (drnate)      Join Date: Jul 2006       05-02-2012, 8:07 AM Reply   
They are two VERY DIFFERENT animals. If you insist on trying it, I would rent a long board and a lesson. It's not nearly as easy as it looks on TV
Old    Jo Shmoe (joeshmoe)      Join Date: Jan 2003       05-02-2012, 12:00 PM Reply   
"It's not nearly as easy as it looks on TV "
Thats why I want to do some pull in surfing with a jet ski!
Old    Edgar Ramon (jame04)      Join Date: Nov 2007       05-03-2012, 8:05 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by drnate View Post
They are two VERY DIFFERENT animals. If you insist on trying it, I would rent a long board and a lesson. It's not nearly as easy as it looks on TV
Very much agree!
Old    Jeff D (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       05-08-2012, 9:27 PM Reply   
So, this went pretty poorly. Between my lack of skills and the conditions I had pretty much zero success. The shops all wanted $50 per day to rent a board so I figured I'd run what I brung.

I went to a surf shop where I bought a leash and they recommended a spot with a good "inside break" (Whatever that means. Ha!). Went out there and nobody was on the beach or surfing. The wind was whipping around so bad I could barely hold onto the board. There was a sand bar about 150 yards off shore where the waves were breaking pretty good. The were in the neighborhood of 4-5'. They'd break on the bar then swell back up and break again near shore. I figured I needed to be out on that sand bar to catch them but it was so hard to paddle against the wind and waves I was exhausted after 100 ft or so. So, I tried catching them on that second break for a while without even getting so much as a push. I was trying to get my weight as far forward on the board as possible to get that push like I get when riding behind the boat but it just wasn't happening. I'd paddle as fast as I could as the wave approached, get my weight forward and it would just move right under me. I took some breaks and went back out with the same result.

The other problem is that it was really just a bunch of big chop with no rhythm. So, I'd get like 3 "waves" right on top of each other then a few seconds break and then another seemingly random grouping behind that, etc. etc. I'd see huge swells breaking 30' to either side of me and just a little hump where I was. I'd eventually move over to where it seemed like they were breaking better and it seemed like they started breaking where I just moved from and I'd be back in a dead spot.

Anyway, I guess I need to go on a boy's trip with the intent of learning to surf over the course of a few days rather than trying to cram it in a couple of hours on a family trip when I can get away (We have 4 kids 6 years old and younger).

Last edited by Jeff; 05-08-2012 at 9:29 PM.
Old    Andy Graham (ottog1979)      Join Date: Apr 2007       05-08-2012, 9:36 PM Reply   
Like I said, it took me a whole summer.
Old    Edgar Ramon (jame04)      Join Date: Nov 2007       05-10-2012, 9:28 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff View Post
So, this went pretty poorly. Between my lack of skills and the conditions I had pretty much zero success. The shops all wanted $50 per day to rent a board so I figured I'd run what I brung.

I went to a surf shop where I bought a leash and they recommended a spot with a good "inside break" (Whatever that means. Ha!). Went out there and nobody was on the beach or surfing. The wind was whipping around so bad I could barely hold onto the board. There was a sand bar about 150 yards off shore where the waves were breaking pretty good. The were in the neighborhood of 4-5'. They'd break on the bar then swell back up and break again near shore. I figured I needed to be out on that sand bar to catch them but it was so hard to paddle against the wind and waves I was exhausted after 100 ft or so. So, I tried catching them on that second break for a while without even getting so much as a push. I was trying to get my weight as far forward on the board as possible to get that push like I get when riding behind the boat but it just wasn't happening. I'd paddle as fast as I could as the wave approached, get my weight forward and it would just move right under me. I took some breaks and went back out with the same result.

The other problem is that it was really just a bunch of big chop with no rhythm. So, I'd get like 3 "waves" right on top of each other then a few seconds break and then another seemingly random grouping behind that, etc. etc. I'd see huge swells breaking 30' to either side of me and just a little hump where I was. I'd eventually move over to where it seemed like they were breaking better and it seemed like they started breaking where I just moved from and I'd be back in a dead spot.


Anyway, I guess I need to go on a boy's trip with the intent of learning to surf over the course of a few days rather than trying to cram it in a couple of hours on a family trip when I can get away (We have 4 kids 6 years old and younger).
Conditions sound awful. 4-5 doesnt sound like much but those can be hard to learn on. So many variables to know if your weight forward was helping or hurting, my guess is with that board...hurting.

Where were you again? Nobody surfing is a pretty good tell tale that it wasn't the right day but congrats on trying, not many people are that brave.

That's always the case because of how you are positioned in the water. I have had pros out with me and these guys spot a good, rideable wave coming long before I see anything. That's from know the spot, conditions, etc.

A few days is right. One day isn't enough. Find a camp where you can do some beach and paddle out surfing so you get a feel for both. There are skills you can work on when beach surfing that you can't when paddle surfing......but know better feeling than paddling out and catching a nice wave to ride in!!
Old    Dan Fowler (kayakwv)      Join Date: Apr 2012       05-11-2012, 4:39 PM Reply   
I've been ocean surfing for over 30. Best way to learn is a big wide long board 9-10ft long, even soft tops are ok. You want clean glassy conditions, with no or little wind, and 2-3ft surf, max. Long breaks in the sets also helps u get set and get your timing down.

Learning on longboards, in small clean surf, is the way to go!
Old    Jeff D (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       05-12-2012, 7:55 PM Reply   
This was on Perdido key beach access #3.

Other than the West coast where can one, with some consistency based on the time of year, plan a 3-4 day surf trip? I can't really afford the West coast since I'm in Louisiana and a flight or gas alone would be $400+. I wouldn't really want to try to time the Florida pan handle right since it's usually pretty flat although it is only 4 hrs from my house.

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