As a surfer, you absolutely need to know how to read the waves. The reason why advanced surfers always seem to be in the right place at the right time and beginners don’t is simply because the advanced surfers know how to read the waves. If you can see which waves are coming, how to approach, which ones to choose, etc., you will get your moment of magic. Here is how you can learn to read the waves.
Consider the tide – Find out which tides you can expect when. You want to choose the right tide for the spot you want to surf in and you also want to know whether the tide is going out or coming in. You need to learn to understand the tides and how they influence waves in the areas where you surf. This will help you choose the right times to go for a surf.
Find your mark – This means that you need to find a spot on the beach to align yourself with once you’re in the water. You also need to know how far in you need to paddle. You will determine this by studying the waves and identifying where they start to break.
Know the different wave shapes – Before you go in the water, look at the waves. Identify the shapes, the size, where they break, swell direction, etc. This will help you know what to do when you are in the water.
Watch the surfers around you – This is especially helpful when you’re a beginner. Watch what the other surfers are doing and how and where they line up. Try to identify why they choose their spots and how they approach it.
Basically, you need to observe before you do. You can learn a lot from other surfers, but you also need to learn to read the waves yourself. Observe them, feel them, and learn to understand them. Once you have an understanding of the waves, you are ready to go.