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How to Surf, Kayak and Wakeboard?

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Your confidence lets you glide in water fearlessly. But before facing waves higher than life, following ‘baby steps’ is mandatory. This is a beginner’s guide on how to Surf, Kayak and Wakeboard. Don’t forget to look at the ‘Tips for Beginners’ section. Also, hanging till last might sound passionless, but it will set your ground in water.

This article does not propose fancy bloopers of you riding the waves on the first go. It will take multiple trials before you find yourself upright on the equipment. Otherwise, be affixed on all kinds of faces you will register while falling and trying to get up. 

Without much delay, let’s summersault into Adam’s ale.

Surfing 

Surfing is a nexus of steps. Syncing all body parts along, hand-eye-leg coordination and multiple instances of plunging into water will make you a good surfer. It is also a complex sport since no two waves are the same, meaning you are hustling with a new challenge every time you catch a wave.

It’s a breathless experience with sun, sand and water keeping your adrenaline at its peak.

Anatomy of a Surfboard © Wikipedia

Surfing begins by getting in the middle of the water, where waves are predominantly forming. Once inside, the surfer matches the speed of the wave by paddling towards the shore. Once the wave begins to carry the surfer forward, they stand up and proceed to ride the wave. The basic idea is to remain ahead of the breaking part of the wave. 

Tips for beginners

  • Swimming is a must for surfing. Falling is inevitable while learning. To confidently learn the sport, you should better know swimming in deep waters beforehand.
  • Observe the waves for at least 20 minutes. Watch other surfers’ actions and places where they are catching the waves. Also, as a necessary etiquette, don’t fight for the wave. Generally, one wave means one surfer. In case of a brawl, let your position decide your wave; whoever is near the wave wins it. 
  • Don’t rush into the water as soon as you have the board. You will need a couple of hours of on-ground training.
  • Learn how to wax the board to develop resistance on the board. This prevents you from skidding. 

How to surf as a beginner?

All about Posture

  1. Learn about safety. Initially, all beginners practice on the ground. Learn all about the safety instructions, like tying the leash on your foot.
    How to tie lease on your leg. © Gfycat
  2. Paddle on the ground. Paddling is needed to match the speed of the wave. It is a crucial step while catching the wave. ‘Catching the wave‘ is the point when the wave touches the surfboard’s tail and starts to push it towards the shore. Lie down on the board and practice paddling to understand muscle motion in water.
    Practice paddling like this on the ground. © Coveteur
  3. Practice getting up. During paddling, when you can match up with the speed of the wave, it’s time to take off or get up. While lying on the board, bring your hands up from paddling and place your hands below your chest, palms on the board flat, while your fingers hold the sides of the surfboard. In one quick motion, push your body up with your arms, and place one foot where your hand pushed the board and the other one at least a shoulder’s width behind. Don’t squat. You should maintain the balance from side to side, not from front to back. Keep your hands outside both the rails; this will help you balance on board.
    Get up on a surfboard. © Tenor
  4. Learn to stand on the board properly. Standing up on the board is all about balancing your centre of gravity. Your centre of gravity has moved up. This means it would now be challenging to balance. Keep your knees bent, arms extended in the wave’s motion, and your torso leaned forward to lower the centre of gravity to keep this in control.
  5. Check your position on the board. You’re too far back on the board if the board’s nose is too high up. If it digs in the water, you’re too far forward. Paddle with long, deep strokes from as far forward to as far back as you can comfortably reach.

Time to Catch the Wave

  1. Maintain a point of reference on the beach and your target point. The reference point on the beach will tell you about your location. 
  2. Paddle to your target spot. Walk your board out until you’re waist-deep in water. Then lie on the board and paddle straight into the waves. While paddling inside, you will face small waves that can overpower you. Dodge this by staying perpendicular to the wave to cut through it.
  3. Turn your board and wait for an appropriate wave. Sit back on your board as you practised. Move your legs to turn the board towards the shore. Wait till you see a wave coming at you.
  4. Get ready to paddle. Get as close to the wave’s peak when you are satisfied that you are in an excellent position to catch the wave, paddle, paddle and paddle! Keep looking forward.
  5. Get up and roll. Just as you practised on the ground, use your hands to stand up on the board, balance and keep going.
  6. Try turning when you’re ready. Use your body to dip one rail of your board into the wave gently. This creates friction/drag that will turn the board. Once you catch the right angle, maintain balance and ride down the wave’s curl.
  7. Bailout. In case of instances that lead you to fall, bailout behind or on the side of the board.
    Always fall on the side or backside of the surfboard. © Surf and Chill

Surfing etiquettes

  1. When more than one surfer is paddling to catch a wave, the person who has floated closest to the peak has the right to take on the wave. 
  2. While falling off, you get to stay clear of the wave zone or anywhere you see surfers paddling towards the wave. 
  3. Busy beginner surfing locations have multiple people ride the same wave. This is referred to as a “party wave”. 

Size of the Surfboard

© Wikimedia Commons

The size of the board matters according to your weight. The more weight you have, the bigger the board you will need. 

Beginners must go with longboards ranging from 8 to 12 feet in length. It is easier to balance and paddle on a longboard because of more volume. 

Get your wetsuit for Surfing.

A wetsuit keeps you warm in cold water by trapping water between the body and the suit. This thin layer traps the body’s heat and ensures it does not escape. 

Material of Surfboard and how to look for the perfect board for yourself

  1. Don’t buy the board in the first go. All gears are primarily available near the beach at rental stores. 
  2. Choose between fibreglass and soft boards. “Softboards” are much cheaper than fibreglass boards made of epoxy. Plus, they add buoyancy, which makes paddling and wave catching easier. 

Kayaking

Kayaking - Plan The Unplanned (1)

A kayak is a small, narrow watercraft that gives a sense of belongingness in water. It is close to water level and is suitable for a calming experiential takeaway.

Anatomy of a Kayak. © Paddle Camp

Tips for beginners

  • You should always wear a life jacket. If you are going whitewater kayaking, you should wear a helmet.
  • Use a correctly sized paddle.
    5 feet 5 inches or shorter – Use a 210 cm long paddle.
    5 feet 5 inches and 5 feet 11 inches tall – Use a 230-centimetre long paddle.
    6 feet tall – Use a paddle that is 230 cm to 260 cm.
  • Your hands are just the anchor. Most of the paddling is carried out by the torso. Keep your core engaged while rowing; your body should move sideways while rowing. Your stroke may be too intense if your paddle is splashing as it enters and exits the water. Try going easier, sliding your paddle blade into the water and pulling it back out again at an angle. Practice this motion slowly for both sides of the paddle.
  • Form an invisible “infinity” symbol while rowing. 

How to Kayak as a beginner?

  1. Carry proper equipment. Proper equipment for Kayaking involves kayak, life jacket, helmet and kayak paddle.
    © Gifer
  2. Find the area free from debris and rocks. While taking out your boat, look for a place where there is a gradual slope.
    Avoid debris or rock area. © Gifer
  3. Take the kayak in the water. Stand upright by spreading your legs and come in the middle above the seat. Paddle yourself into the water by walking. At the same time, hold the kayak with your hands.
  4. Sit-in Kayak. Although it may sound easy, getting into a kayak isn’t as simple as lowering yourself into the seat. To sit comfortably and stay balanced, you’ll need to sit inside correctly. Crouch downwards until your backside is touching the centre. Keep holding the front of the kayak to keep your balance.
  5. Adjust your legs. If it is an open kayak, you need not worry about anything; just spread your legs and sit comfortably. If the kayak is a sit-inside kayak, bring your legs inside. There will be two large padded sections by your legs. Press your thighs against these.
  6. Get comfortable. Further down in the hull, there are two feet braces. Push your feet into the braces until your legs are straight. You will hear the foot mounts click into place if everything goes right.
  7. Push yourself out into the water using your paddle and body weight. When you’re ready, raise your paddle vertically on your side. Dig it into the shore and repeatedly scoot your weight to push off into the water.
  8. The art of paddling. We hold the paddle with two hands to maintain balance and avoid it from slipping. Grip the paddle in the middle slightly away from the shoulders. Let the concave side of the paddle face you. Maintain the orientation of the paddle so that the edges are perpendicular to the surface of the water. Inspect the long sides of each blade. The straightest horizontal rim always goes on top.
    Form an invisible “infinity” symbol while rowing. © Gifer
  9. Raise the paddle and row calmly in the water. Tilt the blade you pulled back down 15 to 25 degrees as you start the stroke. Push the raised edge forward while lowering it towards the water.
  10. Take a turn. If you want to turn at 90 degrees left, paddle using only your right hand while keeping the left hand on the paddle intact. When the kayak is turned, use your hands to keep the boat straight to avoid further drifting.
    Similarly, follow to turn to the right.
  11. Find a rhythm. Kayaking is all about balancing the rhythm of both sides. You get to find a rhythm with your stroke to keep going forward.
  12. Get out of Water. When you find the dock and want to get out, position your boat almost perpendicular to the baseline. Now, row forward, slow down and reach the shore. Get out of the kayak using your hands’ support.

Wakeboarding

Mulki wakeboarding

Wakeboarding is a sport that will wake you up from slumber. We like to say this: if there is anything that gives beginners the highs like surfing, it is Wakeboarding. It is fun and doesn’t take long to learn.

Tips for Beginners

  1. Take your time and try to keep your body relaxed at all times.
  2. Don’t pull on the tow rope too hard or let too much slack form, or you may fall.
  3. Always wear a lifejacket. 

How to Wakeboard?

  1. Choose your Wakeboard. Look for a longer wakeboard; longer wakeboards are easier to control, and their landings are softer than shorter boards. The size of the board also depends on your weight: the more you weigh, the longer your wakeboard should be.
    © Sniff Outdoors
  2. Decide which foot you want to face forward. Your active foot will keep you balanced and stay intact on board. If you have never tried a board game earlier, think about the leg you use to kick a ball; this is your dominant foot. Your dominant foot goes at the back. 
  3. Land drill. Sit on the ground with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Stretch your arms straight ahead with your knees in between, as if you’re holding onto a tow rope.  
  4. Get in the water on your board. Sit on the edge of the boat’s platform. Your board should be floating on its side with the front edge at the water’s surface. Bend your knees, so they’re touching your chest and stretch your arms out in front of you to hold onto the tow rope handle.
  5. Get up on the board. Keep your knees bent, and your arms stretched out in front of you. Your knees should be close to your chest. Make sure your body is relaxed. The front edge of the wakeboard should be perpendicular to the tow rope and just above the water’s surface.
  6. Let yourself be pulled up to a crouched position. Once the boat starts moving forward and you feel the tow rope pull, let yourself be pulled up onto your board. Keep your knees bent and stay relaxed. Don’t rush to stand up. Moving too quickly may cause you to lose your balance.
    © Giphy
  7. Gradually stand up. Bring the tow rope handle around to your side. Line the handle up with your leading hip and turn your head to look over your leading shoulder.
  8. Ride the wave like a pro. Look straight ahead. Avoid looking down at your board; you might lose your balance.
  9. Keep the tow rope handle in line with your hip. Keep your palm down and hold the tow in front of your hip and between your knees. 
  10. Take a turn. The most common terms to describe turning on a wakeboard are toeside and heelside. On a heelside turn, you put pressure into your heels, digging the back edge of the board into the water. Toeside turns are putting pressure on your toes, digging the front edge of the board into the water; these are more difficult. Getting a feel for these turns lays the foundation for riding the wake.

Essential Hand Signals in Water

  1. Thumbs Up – Give the boat driver a thumbs up if you want to go faster.
  2. Thumb down – Give the boat driver a thumbs down if you want to go slower. 
  3. Pat the top of your head when you’re ready to stop. 

We conduct multiple watersports at different locations. Mulki is a hotspot for watersports lover. It is especifically famous for Wakeboarding, Surfing and Kayaking.

Have a look at the Mulki Adventure Tour

Read Ultimate Guide to Mulki

Frustrating at times, these water sports will challenge every ounce of you; however, once you win a wave, you will possibly be already addicted to catching others. 

That is it from the how-to guide for Surfing, Kayaking and Wakeboarding. From here, don’t stop. If you are a newbie at swimming, learn it. If you are a swimmer, book your session. And if you have already tried these sports, tell me in the comment what your first fall was like? Did your kayak get overturned? How did you bail? Where did you first try these watersports? Anything that you would recommend to our readers? 

About the author

Supriya is currently based in Bangalore. She loves the art of observing things and wants to fill all her days with poetry and travel. Her works have been published in 2 books namely - The Fragrance of life and Ikigai. Her articles have also reached the audience through the Women's Web, Asailor and Tripoto platforms. Know her better: https://linktr.ee/emo_travellin.

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