Whether you're first starting out or have been surfing for a while if you're not sitting in the right spot then you're already halving your chances of catching that perfect wave. Quite often I observe surfers paddling for waves on the shoulder or in the channel with no chance of catching a wave and not realising it. So here are a few simple tips to keep you in the right position and increase your chances of catching more waves.
1) Start by sussing out the break from shore, observe where the peak is by looking for the sandbank. You can find the sandbank where the white water is breaking furthest out. The water will be lighter in colour and therefore shallower.
2) Triangulate: Once in the water, paddle around to catch a few waves on the peak that you have located from shore. When you find the perfect spot locate an immoveable marker on the shore that lines up with your position, then triangulate yourself with a relevant marker to the peak, like a groyne or headland so you know how far out you are to sea. Remember that the water is constantly moving and you could get swept down the beach from your peak without even realising. Keep looking back to make sure your lined up with your markers and in the right position.
3) Observe which direction the waves are peeling better. Which is the most makable, lefts or rights?
4) If there are a few peaks make sure you pick the peak that best suits your ability.
5) Try to pick the best wave in the set.
6) Find the best access point to the peak, such as rips or rock jumps.
7) Keep Moving: Sand is constantly moving on the bottom and this shifting will determine the best peak. You'll find you will catch more waves if you paddle around to meet the peak for varied size waves. Don't just sit and watch the waves go by.
8) Working the Crowd: In many ways purposeful direction and movement can establish wave rights. Make sure you are on the inside but where it is makable. If your catching all the waves others may base their position on you. Sit wider and paddle into the wave towards your take off spot.
9) Sit Up on Board: So you can see the sets coming and where they are breaking, use your legs to egg beat and spin your board to shore to catch the waves. Don't just lie down on your board and wait for the waves to come to you.
We hope this helps you catch more waves in the water, keep moving to stay in the right position and find that perfect peak to catch that perfect wave.