Question. I've been surfing everyday (depending on waves) for the past 3 months. I am riding waves and its great! Today, we actually got bigger waves, and I don't know how to power through them if I get caught right in front. I see short-boarders duck diving through it all but how do I get through the big ones on a longboard, Help!
Answer. I have a few tips for you on getting through big waves on a longboard. First, there are a few ways to get through the wave. The one that works best for me is a turtle roll (check out this video).
If you are surfing on a hard board (not foam), it is essential to gain ramming speed and not turn over until the last second before impact.
If you turn over to early without enough speed you will subject yourself to the full force of the wave. It is also very important to stay close to your board, otherwise there is a good chance the water will over power the gap between you and your board and rip it out of your hands.
I have experienced this personally in big waves, and it is not fun!
Of course, practice in small waves first, so you and your body get the muscle memory down.
Then there is duck diving, it is the same as doing it on a shortboard, you just have to account for weight and and length of your board. The more surface area of your board, the harder you have to push—and the more control required to bring your board through the back of the wave.
The method of "pushing up" and letting the wave pass through you and the board, is what I use in small to medium surf, or on unbroken waves.
I tend to gravitate to using the turtle roll method when I am in the "impact zone" on big days, and when the whitewater coming at me is really strong.
Using this method will deflect the power blast of the curl or white water past your board, while you are able to guide through the back underneath.
It also helps sometimes to do a big scissor kick with your legs once you feel the wave to help with an extra push on those extra big days.
I hope this info was helpful to you, and if I can help you with any more questions or clarifications on any of the methods.