You're Probably not angling your board enough

One thing I'm constantly reminding myself is to take more angles with my board when I'm taking off.

Unknown surfer

Angling Your Board
I'm surfing a spot with a barrel section, complete with a large, shallow rock that pops out at low tide at the end for extra fun. One of the keys to mastering this wave lies in angling your board correctly. The angle is crucial as it positions you down the line, high on the wave, with your rail engaged so you can make the fast section. I was with a friend who was a bit newer to surfing on a smaller day and told her to paddle almost parallel to the beach. She was confused, but after paddling for one and getting stuck way behind as the wave ran off ahead of her she paddled back out and was like ohhhhhh I get it.....

Tailoring Your Angle to the Wave
The steeper and hollower the wave, the more angle you can generally take. While with softer waves you might take less angle because it's harder to get into them, for a gentler angle, you still generally want a good amount of angle to maintain your position higher on the wave, translating to increased speed. Beware of overdoing it, as too much angle can lead to missing the wave altogether. However, the more frequent mistake is not angling enough, which often results in being overtaken by the wave.

Self-Assessment for Improvement
To refine your technique, assess whether you typically find yourself stuck behind the wave or if you're paddling too parallel. Most people struggle with the former more often with the latter.

I recommend pushing the limits of your angling to the point where you're on the verge of side-slipping off the wave or missing it entirely. Then you can dial it back and find the sweet spot. Remember, the ideal angle varies with each wave, so observing good surfers at your local spot can help you determine how much angle to take.

Angling your surfboard is a foundational skill that can significantly elevate your surfing performance. By understanding the nuances of this technique and practicing diligently, you'll soon navigate waves with greater speed, precision, and confidence. Happy surfing!

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