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BIG WAVE SURFING
|Follow the dream of surfing the big waves and your perspective of life
may change, some big wave surfers become obsessed by their task
of travelling the world. Living off a few dollars they can get
selling a photograph, or their body to a magazine. Every year,
we read about big wave surfing injuries and deaths on the well
known breaks and peaks. Almost invariably, the surfer underestimated
the wave and then paid the price.
FEAR OF BIG WAVES.
Fear is something to deal with. The body demands an explanation of what has brought you to the thin edge of life of some of these places. If you've read and heard about Big Wave Surfing and are willing to commit to the necessary training. Equivalent to the preparation of a major Olympic class triathlon, you, too, can stand and surf the biggest waves this world has to offer.
Before you embark on the quest to surf the biggest waves of your life. You better make sure that your level of fitness is up to it. Below these big wave pictures are a few tips that might help you get into shape and give you an insight into what you must do to ride the big waves the ocean tempts us with.
Definition of Big Waves
How big is big ? Well that depends on what you want to achieve and where you come from. BIG WAVES are anything that you reckon. Some say 6 foot is big, some Hawaiins wont even go out under 10 foot, but who's the losers there? Big wave surfing generally starts at 15 foot for paddle ins and 20 - 25 feet for tow in surfers.
Tips to Big Wave Surfing
Holding your Breath in Big Waves
One of the most important tools when training to surf big waves, is the pool. You need to get into serious breath holding techniques and methods. One method for stretching those lungs are to simulate as best you can a wipeout. Run around the pool a few times and leap in under the water, blow out all the air in your lungs as you go under and then attempt to stay down and as long as you can. Try to work up to 30 seconds after you've expelled all the air you can. Try to stay as calm as you can. After awhile you should start to relax with this moment. Wiping out in big waves also involves getting more than once tossed and driven to the point you don't know which way is up and which way is down. You surface after you fall only to find the next wave is about to hit you. This can happen maybe three or four times. Anymore and your in serious trouble. Hence never take the first wave of the set. The biggest waves are usually in the middle of the set anyway. To simulate this in the pool is nearly impossible, all you can really do is after the first 30 seconds of holding your breath, push to the surface and take the biggest breath you can and dive straight back under again. Repeat this 4or 5 times going through the routine of your first dive. The idea of this is to train your body to be relaxed in what is normally a panic situation. You burn up far more oxygen if your heart is racing. Now it's easy to say don't get in a panic when you are working on your strategy for big wave surfing, however when faced with the biggest waves of your life out there in the stormy ocean it isn't the easiest thing to do. Remember fear is a self protection mechanism. It releases adrenaline for fight or flight. You have the ability to use this hormone in either way you choose, and of course in every big wave surf session there are times for flight, sometimes unwillingly out from the lip of the beast. All i'm saying is realise when it's time to go in, but while you are out there use the adrenaline to take you to places only the brave and the few can go. Free diving around your local beach or headland is also good way to prepare yourself for the hold downs the big waves on offer. Dive down grab a rock on the bottom and hang on there. Some guys will pick up a rock and try to swim or walk with it underwater. If you are serious about taking on the biggest waves, you have to be comfortable to the best of your ability with being out of your usual element.
Big Wave Surfing Equipment
Your surfing equiptment is also critical. When the waves are big it's no time to try the new surfboard. Be comfortable with that board, make sure you have ridden the board a few times on smaller days, around ten feet or more. Make sure your board has a heavy glass job. You don't want to be wafting around as you're taking the drop. If it's at the extreme end of big wave surfing you are chasing, that is 20 to 30 foot faces, the length of your board should be around 10 or 11 feet long . An 8 foot surfboard will get you into the 15-18 foot small wave stuff. The idea is that you need the the paddle speed to get you on as early as you can. Lets face it you aren't looking at doing tight arc turns here. A lot is about survival and joining the few surfers that have been able to achieve this highly skilled form of surfing.
Surf with a Mate
You may have heard about "the buddy system", well this is really important especially in big waves. Surf with someone. Always watch out for your mate and make sure this is understood that it goes both ways. Make sure you know resucitation techniques. Have a clear and focused atitude when you paddle out. If in doubt don't go out, know your limitations at your point of development. Keep watch for the waves that double up on eachother, the rogue wave. You don't want them on your head, you want to ride them or let them pass you by.
Big Wave Committment
Be committed, like on any size wave, you have to want the wave. Always paddle into the wave as hard and as fast as you can. Once you have caught the wave give a couple more hard strokes down the face. You don't want to end up being blown back up the face and over the falls. If you do end up wiping out it's better to go feet down first if at all possible. If you have a procedure it's important that you try and follow it will help keep your orientation and composure.
Finally travel to Hawaii and see first hand the home of big wave surfing, and you will soon realise that you aren't surfing at Noosa. Watch the few who surf Waimea over 20 feet. Nowhere in the world allows you more time to watch and associate with bigwave surfers from all over the world. Ask questions be cool and friendly, most are only to happy to share their thoughts and techniques with another keen surfer. Paddle out and sit in the channel for a while, don't be pressured by yourself or any body else that may be watching. Remember have regards to your limits without the fear of pushing them a little each time. Talk to the big wave guys out in the water. Cultivate a love of big wave surfing and join the lifestyle.