Small Waves? 4 in-water drills to improve your surfing

Summer time in our part of the Caribbean means small waves most of the time. Unless,  there's a tropical system in the Atlantic which can occur from May to November, or some rare northern swell. 

On Macao Beach, during the summer you will find mostly small waves, short rides close to shore, shallow and super easy conditions.

Summer is a great time for practicing drills that will improve your surfing. Small waves can be equivalent to a lot of fun!

Here are some suggestions for beginner or intermediate level surfers:

✔️ Practice your Paddle Technique

Get in the water, hop on your board and paddle, paddle, paddle... 
Photo: Punta Cana Surf Adventure

Paddle parallel to the shore beyond the break and watch what happens as you paddle in different positions on your board. 

Find the sweet spot on the board (the position where you will have the highest speed and least water resistance).

Get off the board, back on, and paddle. Do it again and repeat as many times as possible, or until you can get in the right place on the board without much guessing. This drill will also make your chest, arms and back stronger as it will help you build strength.



✔️Practice your pop-up (in the water)


On small waves use a board that will allow you to paddle and catch waves with as little effort as possible. 

The idea is that you can practice popping-up and staying on the board as many times as possible, this will allow you to study your overall stance, feet positioning and what happens as a result.

It will be of great help to have video feed back, so recruit a friend to film you as you catch waves and you can make adjustments as you see necessary.


✔️ ️Practice angled take offs without popping-up

Paddle to catch a wave, angle the board a bit in the direction that you want to catch it (left or right) and lift your upper body from the board (like a "cobra" yoga position) so you can learn to control the board as you take off.

The idea of this drill is to make you to catch waves with more awareness, control and sense of direction. It will also show you to prevent nose diving (a major fear among beginners) using your upper body. 

This is a drill that we use to slow down some beginners that pop-up too early and don't properly study the wave and the direction they should take-off in, when catching the wave. 

✔️ ️Practice your duck-dive and turtle rolls

These are skills you definitely need to manage before you can venture into bigger waves. You do not want to waste most of your time and energy trying to get past the white water.

Save yourself a lot of suffering by practicing these while the waves are not too rough. 

Here's a video that explains in more details these drills :)
There are many more drills and 
exercises that can done in and out of the water that will help your surfing in a big way. However, there is no better way to improve your surfing than through surfing!! Even if the waves are small there is plenty of practicing to be done!

If you want to practice any skill with me, feel free to reach out and I'll be delighted to help you with drills, video analysis and workouts personalized for your specific needs!

Saskya is the owner of Punta Cana Surf Adventure and can be found eagerly sharing her surfing experience and teaching on Macao Beach, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. She can be reached through her profile on this blog.