5 – Riding Prone
The first step to surfing: Riding prone
Catching and riding prone (on your belly) in the whitewater is the first step to surfing. This step serves mainly to help you get used to the board.
You’ll notice that after a wave breaks it creates a wall of whitewater that rushes in towards shore. Some people need some extra time in the whitewater, and some might poo-poo it and say it’s stupid, but everyone should spend at least a little time in the whitewater.
Take your board under your arm and walk the board out into the water. Once you get to about waist high water you can rest the board on the water.
Important: Never let the board get between you and the waves. The waves are more powerful than you think, and will fling your board at you before you can blink. This is a great way to get hurt. Always stay to the side of your board, and always keep the nose pointing directly into the waves.
While you’re standing next to your board, keep a hand or two resting on the deck. When a wall of whitewater comes towards you, lift the nose of the board up and over the whitewater. As you do this, jump a little and then put your weight onto the board. Watch out, the whitewater can surprise you with its strength.
When you’re far enough out into the whitewater, turn around and point the nose of the board towards the shore and wait for another line of whitewater. Just before it hits you, push the board towards shore and jump on top of the board so you’re riding prone on your stomach. Hang on and enjoy the ride!
You have to get a little momentum towards shore before the whitewater hits, otherwise the board will get thrown around. The wave will also have to do too much work to get the board going.
Surfboards can be about as tippy as the tippiest canoe or kayak, so you might wobble a bit or fall off at first. Don’t get discouraged! You’re surfing! Go out and do it again. Riding prone like this might seem silly, but it’s a great way to get used to how your board moves around in the water. Experienced surfers often ride the whitewater in after their session on their belly.