NEXT LEVEL #1 –
GETTING ABOVE THE FOAM.
Words & Photos – Dave Ewer
Action – Blue Ewer
One thing that unites all sup surfers is that we all aspire to improve our performance. Usually the journey starts with learning the fundamentals on a 10’6 hard board, but your wave riding potential will significantly increase when you get down to a 9’0” or smaller.
This issue we have top UK SUP racer Blue Ewer showing what is possible with his 7’2 x 25” board when he’s not racing. There’s nothing more fun than giving the lip a good bash or projecting above it. Good wave knowledge and timing all come together when executing a powerful move like this, not only will this score great points on the competition circuit but also it will score points with your mates on the beach too.
Conditions to look for:
Bashing the lip just requires a reasonable bit of speed and commitment; any wave powerful enough to get you moving will be fine but the punchier it is the better. Sloping, slow longboard style waves are to be avoided; a nice dumpy shore break or close-out section are ideally what you’re looking for. Onshore, offshore it doesn’t really matter as long as you can get some reasonable speed up on it.
Ultimately, the smaller the board you can use, the faster and more dynamic your turns and hits are going to be. But bear in mind you have to be able to stand up on it for more than ten minutes so work your way down through the volume levels step by step. A good SUP surfer will be able to get down to a board with something like 10-20 litres more than their body weight in kilograms, this can take some time!
The best combo would be to have something bigger / wider for choppy conditions and a smaller/narrower board for good clean waves. Stiffer fins will give you more drive through your turn and a carbon paddle will get you into the wave earlier. Finally, try and buy the lightest board you can afford, you won’t regret it
“There’s nothing more fun than giving the lip a good bash or projecting above it. It scores points on the competition circuit and with your peers at the beach.”
Before you even get started, pick a wave that’s steep enough to give you some speed, the bigger the better to a certain extent, so look out for a set wave to deliver the energy you need. Now, assuming you’ve taken off on a liquid skate-bowl:
1. First, drive down the wave. If you can, pump your board to gain more speed – the more the better – although a well-timed hit will also help.
2. Eye up your section. You’re looking for a close out section or a throwing lip to hit. Bend down and drive hard off your bottom turn, you should have a wide stance with your back foot right on the tail in the centre of the board.
3. Once you’ve spotted your section you’ll need to focus on hitting it under the throwing lip if possible, ideally timing it with the break. As you come up to the lip you’ll need to carve hard on your back foot and re-direct the board back towards the beach.
4. This is where the fun begins! As you hit hard under the lip (if your speed and timing are there) the board will project itself up and over the lip. If it all goes to plan everything will go light as you float up and onto the white water. Keep your front foot light and bend your front leg, this will keep the board up there longer.
5. Now this is where it can all go wrong so once up in the air or on top of the white water you’ll need to turn your board back towards the beach so you can stand a chance of riding out of it.
6. Once the board is facing towards the beach, concentrate on getting your weight forward and over the centre line of the board. This will make the board more stable as you float back down and re-enter the wave descending with the white water. Use your paddle as a brace to help you ride away more comfortably.
7. Now you’re coming back down get your body weight low down by bending your knees and again use your paddle to help balance until you can stand up tall and claim it.
So, finally now the long warm days of summer have passed and the autumn waves are here start pushing your surfing skills. The power is in the ocean so embrace and progress, there’s plenty of time for flat water next season! SUP INTERNATIONAL
Blue Ewer is sponsored by JP Australia International, Neilpryde water wear and Reactive Watersports.