WAVE WATCHING. Surf Tips with Devon DeMint of The Mermaid Chronicles.
How to Watch the Waves and Become a Student of the SeaBy Devon DeMint of The Mermaid Chronicles Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate The most important thing I think I can pass on to anyone about surfing is that you must become a student of the ocean. This means using every opportunity you have when you are down by the water to study what goes on. Know the beach • Is it a point break, beach break or reef break? • Notice where to get in and out safely. • What is below the waves you want to surf? Sandy bottoms are softer, but reefs and rock bottoms are more predictable. Read Surf and Tide Forecasts • Know the direction of the swell and the tide before you arrive. • Develop an understanding of what the swell direction and tides mean for the spot you plan to surf. Watch Other People • How do they get in and out? • Assess the skills of those out so you can avoid hazardous surfers and be mindful of experienced ones. • If you plan to surf a more localized spot, try to learn who the locals are. It is respectful to give them priority on waves. Watch the Waves • Are there only rights, only lefts, or both? • Estimate wave size and difficulty. • Identify hazards such as rip currents or sharp rocks. • Understand where the small, medium and larger waves break. • Determine which waves you will most likely want to ride and where you need to sit to catch them. • Is there a channel you can paddle out in or sit in if a set comes?
Surf Terms • Beach Break: a sand bottom surf spot with a combination of left and right breaking waves. • Channel: a deep spot in the lineup where waves break more gently or not at all. • Point Break: a rock, reef or sand bottom spot where waves wrap around a point and break in the same direction. • Reef Break: a reef bottom break which could consist of live or dead coral; may have a combination of lefts and rights or it could be a point break. Have fun out there and be mindful!