Forums > Stand Up Paddle General

Ditching board in surf.

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Created by rgmacca Saturday, 9 Nov 2019
rgmacca
84 posts
Saturday , 9 Nov 2019 8:44AM
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A question for you guys.
Whats best technique to Not ditch board in surf.
when your paddling out and a big set is about to come down on you?
Or when your stuck in the heavy white water mid set?

Riding a long board stylemaster & Smik 9'2.
Thanks in advance.

jvriesinga
6 posts
Saturday , 9 Nov 2019 11:02AM
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If it's shallow enough to touch the bottom I push my board on a slight angle over the incoming waves. If there's no one near me and the water is deeper I duck dive and let the board go with the wave. If it's busy I take it on the chin and hold on for dear life. Take that with a grain of salt as I'm just a weekend hack. When in doubt I trust my instincts.

Seajuice
NSW, 545 posts
Saturday , 9 Nov 2019 2:50PM
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When I know the wave is too big to paddle through & over I ditch. What choice have I got other than kneeling or lying on the board, face to shore & going with the wave the same way as catching it.
But when I ditch its usually early enough for me to jump off, point board at shore & hold on to the strap part of the leg leash nearest the attachment plug at the boards tail. But hold it in a way that you can release it cleanly without any part of the leash wrapping around fingers hand or arm as this can be quite painful & can strip skin off bones. It lessens the possibility of the board getting away from you & hitting someone & or stretching the leg leash to a possible break.
If the wave is big & is going to break directly on my scone then I ditch & dive down. This avoids a long hold down in my experience.
My worst hold down experiences were thinking that I might make it over a pitching break only to go down the falls into the suck down vacuum that continues to push you down deeper making me wonder which way is up for a breath of air. Would have been better & safer for me to dive under like a duck dive without the board.
In all cases just make sure nobody is in the way between you & the shore to avoid being hit by your board.

Gboots
NSW, 713 posts
Saturday , 9 Nov 2019 2:57PM
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Just avoid busy breaks especially on a SUP. You can't win with a large number of proners (not all) who break all the rules even when it is busy. But if you are on a SUP you are always wrong .....that's the way it feels. Best to just avoid busy breaks

colas
3460 posts
Saturday , 9 Nov 2019 2:38PM
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Select to expand quote
Seajuice said..
hold on to the strap part of the leg leash nearest the attachment plug at the boards tail.



Never, ever do this!
You can easily lose fingers. I was lucky to only lose skin and flesh, and it was with a light shortboard, lesson learned.

Generally, trying to cling to your board can be very dangerous. And once you are hurt and disabled in the impact zone, your present a much greater risk to others anyways.

Like Gboots said, you need to be always aware of where surfers are, especially behind you, and just move to be always far from them in case trouble happen. And do not hesitate to let the foam bring you out of the impact zone, and retry getting out after the set.

And when I ditch I try to think of:
- having the board sideways (parallel to shore) in hollow waves so a falling lip wont break it in half
- having the board point to the shore so that it will not back up into the leash and cut it with the fins
- if possible send the board over the foam, while falling backwards, to spare the leash
- streamline myself in the water to minimize the pull on the leash

Tardy
3176 posts
Saturday , 9 Nov 2019 3:26PM
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One big rule is make sure the board in behind you as the wave hits...i had to tell a few newbies this as ,how they never got hit by their board was lucky .duh.
if the wave is big i always DITCH and DIVE .IF its smallish and i need to gather my board quickly as the waves can be close together
i turn my back to the wave hand over the kick pad and dive down extending the arm up ...

if the force is too great i let go ,but most of the time its ok ..the board actually pulls you up out of the water again for a quick turn around .
Always be aware of other surfers ..paddle away from them if possible ..on a SUP you have a big KILL ZONE in saying that so do longboards
a friend of mine rides a 9,6 mal ..it can hurt

ghost4man
322 posts
Saturday , 9 Nov 2019 5:39PM
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Preparation is a big key here.

When you are standing on shore get a feel of what the waves are doing BEFORE you enter the water.

I never paddle out and through sets because I know this is the impact zone.

Another key for me is a waist leash. I've been caught too many times in the worst positions and found my knees and ankles get twisted in all directions with an ankle leash. Waist leahes to my mind are much better.

The benefit of paddle boarding is going through a quiet section and paddling over to where the waves are with ease.

Don't do what I once did. I mistimed my jump and ended with the oncoming breaking wave crashing into my board which then hammered into my chest. End result fractured ribs.

Nugdam
QLD, 321 posts
Saturday , 9 Nov 2019 7:41PM
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Select to expand quote
Seajuice said..
When I know the wave is too big to paddle through & over I ditch. What choice have I got other than kneeling or lying on the board, face to shore & going with the wave the same way as catching it.
But when I ditch its usually early enough for me to jump off, point board at shore & hold on to the strap part of the leg leash nearest the attachment plug at the boards tail. But hold it in a way that you can release it cleanly without any part of the leash wrapping around fingers hand or arm as this can be quite painful & can strip skin off bones. It lessens the possibility of the board getting away from you & hitting someone & or stretching the leg leash to a possible break.
If the wave is big & is going to break directly on my scone then I ditch & dive down. This avoids a long hold down in my experience.
My worst hold down experiences were thinking that I might make it over a pitching break only to go down the falls into the suck down vacuum that continues to push you down deeper making me wonder which way is up for a breath of air. Would have been better & safer for me to dive under like a duck dive without the board.
In all cases just make sure nobody is in the way between you & the shore to avoid being hit by your board.


That's exactly what I do, I just couldn't put it into words.

I also notice it's a really good technique for getting back out in shallow water and the surfs big. You hold the back of the leash and it's extremely easy to lift the sup up over the wave

Seajuice
NSW, 545 posts
Saturday , 9 Nov 2019 8:44PM
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Agree with Colas. But danger is my business.
Yes better to hold onto back of kick pad or board. Which I do sometimes too. But when I do hold onto the leash I am always concious of the consequences so hold the leash in a certain way for quick & free release if needed.
But again agree with Colas don't do it & get in the habit of a different safer way.

cantSUPenough
VIC, 1845 posts
Saturday , 9 Nov 2019 9:26PM
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I have a similar technique that I think is effective and safe.

1. Put your back to the oncoming wave, board pointing to the shore,
2. Put one hand on the kickpad.
3. As the wave approaches, push down which lifts you up, pushes the tail down, and thus lifts the nose up
4. Then push the board away from you and sink back down into the water, under the oncoming wave, and as you do, try to point your toes towards the shore.

It may sound a bit complicated, but it has a few benefits:

1. If the wave hits the board with a taut leash taught it puts less strain on the leash than if the board is flung forward before it goes taut.
2. As the board is pushed forward you can ensure the leash is not tangled around anything (leg, toes, angle)
3. The board is sure to be streamlined - less resistance to the wave (less strain on the leash) and it is less likely to launch off in uncontrolled directions
4. You are streamlined (as must as possible) so if the wave is big enough you will get dragged with least resistance and thus less strain on the leash
5. The board is more likely to stay fins down - you can reach down your leg, find the leash, yank it back (carefully) and get back on your board in the least time
6. The wave is more likely to go over your head so you won't get tossed around and flung forward toward the board

Traff
SA, 87 posts
Saturday , 9 Nov 2019 9:24PM
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Select to expand quote
colas said..

Seajuice said..
hold on to the strap part of the leg leash nearest the attachment plug at the boards tail.




Never, ever do this!
You can easily lose fingers. I was lucky to only lose skin and flesh, and it was with a light shortboard, lesson learned.

Generally, trying to cling to your board can be very dangerous. And once you are hurt and disabled in the impact zone, your present a much greater risk to others anyways.

Like Gboots said, you need to be always aware of where surfers are, especially behind you, and just move to be always far from them in case trouble happen. And do not hesitate to let the foam bring you out of the impact zone, and retry getting out after the set.

And when I ditch I try to think of:
- having the board sideways (parallel to shore) in hollow waves so a falling lip wont break it in half
- having the board point to the shore so that it will not back up into the leash and cut it with the fins
- if possible send the board over the foam, while falling backwards, to spare the leash
- streamline myself in the water to minimize the pull on the leash


You are right on Colas. Especially about NOT grabbing your leggy. A mate of mine did this on a surf trip (he had a Longboard) and had the end of his index finger ripped clean OFF!

Supnorte
197 posts
Saturday , 9 Nov 2019 7:51PM
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I ride small carbon boards, so I usually send the board flying over the foam, dive under and protect my head with my arms when I coming back to the surface. Usually the board is lying down right next to me. Already had some close calls on clean up sets on crowded spots but managed to send it flying with great effort. I imagine that with a bigger or heavier board it would be difficult, but still manageable in smaller conditions.
Sometimes, if I'm paddling standing up I just paddle against the wave and try to flip the board over falling back and pushing the board with my legs over the foam.

colas
3460 posts
Saturday , 9 Nov 2019 9:34PM
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Select to expand quote
Supnorte said..
I ride small carbon boards, so I usually send the board flying over the foam


I use the extra precaution to not send it straight on, but at an angle. If ** happens, it has less risk to get straight back at you or cutting the leash with fins.

Also, do not swim along the board with an arm over it. It can mean a dislocated shoulder on even a modest foam, and even on very small waves you end up with a sore shoulder at night, which surely means big trouble year later.

Basically, in breaking waves, your board is a liability that you should keep away from any human being, you included...

supthecreek
1806 posts
Tuesday , 12 Nov 2019 9:52AM
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Whenever you are surfing, knowing where people are, is part of your responsibility....

On solid swells, I surf crowds all the time.... but I keep a buffer zone around me by staying aware.
I let waves go by, that will put me and my board in an awkward situation with other people.

If you behave like this, you are more likely to have some room behind you when caught inside of breaking wave.
This allows me to:
Kick the board through the lip and fall back (pic 2)
Kick the board over the whitewater and fall back (Pic 1)
or
slip under the whitewater and let the leash do it's job.

My feet tell my board where to go.... they stay ON my board until I am sinking into the wave.
I hold my paddle in both hands and use it to protect my face, as I fall under the wave
pic 2 - clearly shows my feet controlling the board until I am under and my paddle protecting me

In a sketchy lip explosion, where the power of the wave can do mystical things, I kick the board towards a shoulder and fall the opposite way, for maximum separation.

I am very comfortable paddling into an OH throwing lip because I have spent a lot of time learning how to get out on SUP in OH conditions.
Being comfortable means I can stay on my board till the last second.... this gives me max control and best odd at getting the board past the wave.

In small waves I simply put my forearm on the tail pad, push the tail down and the nose up and over the wave.
Make sure you can control your board if you do this, because the fins can be pushed back into you, if you don't have control.

The problems I see are
People bail far too early, then float back up before the wave gets to them
OR
People wait to long, then actually dive, face first, towards the nose of the board. Good way to really get hurt.

I scanned my vids for some footage, and will make a video soon

Here are some pics that show a few scenarios.... these just cover a few of the likely situations.
# 3 is my buddy Kenyon showing how young guys just paddle over big whitewater
But the others are how this old guy does it












JoffaDan
VIC, 243 posts
Tuesday , 12 Nov 2019 2:01PM
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The above is exactly how it should be done - no exceptions! The surf would be a safer place if every SUP'r adopted this method
Less chance of taking out someone behind you or on the wave.
And it makes it so much quicker to get out of the impact zone as the board is already facing the correct way to paddle out, instead of having to - pull the board by the leash back toward you, flip it around, by the time you get on your feet and start paddling the next wave has already taken you out and you're back to square one (just more tired).

Emeboy
NSW, 270 posts
Tuesday , 12 Nov 2019 2:19PM
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Yep,
Definite words of wisdom once again STC.... especially the first 2 sentences.

I have managed the pop and paddle over a few times but even if you don't make that, it is easy to project the board over the wave.

Paddle safe everyone!!

supsean
40 posts
Wednesday , 12 Nov 2019 11:03PM
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STC, some great advice. Colas going at a slight angle is what I do. If I am caught in the water, and a big white water foam ball is coming in, I flip my board around so that the front is facing the shore, hold the tail kicker with my fingers (making sure that it will release easily if it the wave goes crazytown) and push down on tail will my body weight, This throws the tip up, and the pressure of the wave keeps both me and the board from going towards the shore. I don't do this in huge closeouts, though, just big foam balls. For the bigger closeouts, if I am not on my board (or on my board with nobody within 15' behind me) I swim as fast as I can towards the wave, diving under just as it is about to crash and keep swimming away from the shore until I surface. I also use a waist leash, so that cuts almost 3' on the radius of my boards destructive possibilities versus an ankle leash.



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"Ditching board in surf." started by rgmacca