If you have been surfing for a long time, but are improving at a snails pace its probably because of this reason : you are not catching enough waves every session.
I get it. It's crowded, the waves are crap, you're unfit, you don't have time to surf often enough. These all may be true, heck - I experience all of these points above myself too sometimes, but ultimately, if we want to fast track our improvement WE NEED TO CATCH MORE WAVES.
This article gives you a couple of points on how to catch more waves each and every session.
1. Paddle with intention
Paddle like you actually want to catch the wave - paddle like you mean it. Don't bother with little half attempted paddles - its simply a waste of energy. If you see a wave that you genuinely think will be a good one for you, put all of your energy into catching that wave.
Often when people see you are a serious about a wave, then will back off. If you slowly paddle towards a wave, often people will take advantage over your lack of enthusiasm.
2. Sit on the inside, rather that right out back
Don't think that you need to sit at the head of the pack all the time to catch waves. Sometimes, the best waves are actually further in, and by waiting right out back you miss them all.
When you paddle out, notice if there are any fun smaller waves peeling through the inside. This could provide a good escape from the crowd and may double your wave count.
3. Learn about different types of surfboards
I'm all for the idea that a good surfer can surf any board well, and its not good to make excuses about why you may have had a bad session based on your equipment, but in reality sometimes you can simply be riding the completely wrong board.
If the waves are really small and fat, sometimes you should not be riding a shortboard, otherwise you will simply not catch any waves. Make an effort to learn about and ride different boards, as this can make a big difference to how many waves you catch in a session.
4. Keep Moving
Typically speaking, waves don't roll half way across the world right onto our laps, we usually have to work for them. Paddling around the line up, looking actively for waves, is a good habit to get into. Its like one of those corny life quotes from a self help book "Life is not predetermined, it's what you make of it."
5. Use your voice
Using your voice to communicate with others is a good way to ensure no waves are left to confusion and go unridden. Asking "are you going?" is a good way to see if you can catch the wave coming your way. Just because someone is in priority, doesn't mean they want that specific wave. Communicate to others when you want a wave - why not?
6. Watch the trends before hand
Spending 5 - 10 minutes to watch the trends of the crowds and the waves can make a big difference into how your session goes. Often people are sheep and will crowd together, not realising there are plenty of waves going unridden slightly down the beach. Keep your eyes peeled and your mind open.
7. Improve your ocean knowledge
If you want to catch more waves, understand the waves in full. The more you understand the ways waves work, the more efficient you can become in catching them (and of course the better you are at riding them.)
8. Be careful who you sit next too.
If you are at the intermediate stage, try not to sit next to a whole bunch of pro's. This lessens the likelihood of you getting waves, and this can sometimes erode at your confidence. It can be helpful, on the more crowded days, to sit next to somebody who is at a similar, or lower level than you.
This way you have the advantage of having more experience with positioning and can often catch more waves. Of course, sometimes it is good to surf with people of a higher level too though to gain knowledge and understanding - but pick your times for this.
The Surf Box | The Blog For Women And Girls In Surfing