7: How To Catch More Waves Anywhere (with Ryan Waldron)

 This episode is for anyone who wants to learn how to catch more waves in any lineup anywhere. Join Niki, myself, and premiere surfer Ryan “the Intern” Waldron as we break it all down and give you actionable surfing advice that will help you catch more waves starting NOW.
ALSO…
Find out where we’re going, who we’re talking to, and what the future of the Get Out and SURF podcast looks like. Hint: it’s freaking awesome!

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See you surfing, pura vida
Joe Walsh

Audio transcription:

Joe Walsh:
Hey, hey. This is Joe Walsh coming to you from Tamarindo, Costa Rica with the Get Out And Surf Podcast. I’m sitting here with my good friend and special guest, Niki Hurren. Welcome to the show, Niki.
Niki Hurren:
Special guest, that’s fantastic. First time I’ve been a special guest anywhere.
Joe Walsh:
It’s because it’s only you and I in this episode, in this show.
Niki Hurren:
Yeah, there we go. There’s a way to burst a bubble.
Joe Walsh:
Well, you’re special. I didn’t want anyone else here. Just wanted it to be you and I, hanging out, talking surf and maybe catching up for a few.
Niki Hurren:
Absolutely. Yeah, no. Right on. I got out and surfed this morning, so I’m very nice and relaxed.
Joe Walsh:
Yeah, what’s funny is that you texted me and told me that you were gonna surf the River Mouth on a longboard and so I got up and got my longboard, waxed it up, went down there, paddled out and you and [P Mac 00:00:44] were nowhere to be found. What’s up, dude?
Niki Hurren:
You actually went? I didn’t actually realize you went.
Joe Walsh:
I did, dude. I didn’t tell you that? No? Yeah, dude, I paddled right out in front. Had some fun little longboard waves and, yeah. There’s that left that’s kinda breaking out there, too, right now, on a higher tide and don’t ride the longboard too much, and I figured you’d probably went across the River. Is that where you guys went?
Niki Hurren:
Well, yeah. Outta the River Mouth, or over the river, and we were gonna go outta the River Mouth, but as we were getting ready, a few more people filled in, few more people filled in, and as the tide was coming up, it started to look a little fat, and so we’re like, “Right, we’re gonna cross the river.” It was still a little bit low for over there, but-
Joe Walsh:
There’re some waves.
Niki Hurren:
Oh, yeah. No, for sure. The shape we lost a few days hasn’t been that good, but today was good shape.
Joe Walsh:
Yes.
Niki Hurren:
It was a little off to more the safe end of it and these rights were coming in. It was blinding. But, one, when I came off the back of it at the very end of the wave, and it was a really nice wave, and got the biggest mouthful of sea water, sand, and the red tide algae. Honest. Almost threw up.
Joe Walsh:
Really?
Niki Hurren:
Yeah, almost threw up and the whole time I was out there just burping.
Joe Walsh:
That’s no good.
Niki Hurren:
Pat found that very, very funny.
Joe Walsh:
Well, I guess that comes with the territory. You were talking about the River Mouth kinda filling in with a few more folks and I paddled out there and got some waves, but that kind of leads me to thinking about what we’re gonna talk about on today’s show, when Ryan “The Intern” joins us.
Niki Hurren:
He’s back, ladies and gentleman, he’s back.
Joe Walsh:
Yeah, right. Ryan makes his debut on the podcast and although I think, well, the topic is catching more waves.
Niki Hurren:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Joe Walsh:
And it’s catching more waves wherever you’re at surfing in the world and your home break is one thing, but then, when you’re traveling to another spot and you don’t know anyone in the lineup, you don’t really have that much experience at all with that spot. Maybe you never even surfed there before. What are some things you can do catch more waves and get your wave count up? So it’s gonna be a good show.
Niki Hurren:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Joe Walsh:
But, I kinda thought that since we have now completed six episodes, we’re going to number seven, and we’ve been slating out all of the episodes that are coming in the future, it’s getting really exciting, and I feel like maybe we should let everyone who’s listening know a little of what we’re planning and maybe just kinda get people fired up. They realize we’re actually working pretty hard here creating some world-class content that’s aimed at inspiring people to get out and surf, ourselves included.
Niki Hurren:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Joe Walsh:
So here’s what we did. We made a list of a few spots that we’re very interested in checking out and surfing, maybe some places we’ve been, other places we haven’t, and these are places that are gonna be breaking this time of year. February and into March. Today is February 15th, 2019, and whether we go to these spots in the next few weeks or later this year, these are all spots that are slated for the Get Out And Surf Podcast. First spot, Taghazout, Morocco, land of the right point breaks in northwestern Africa. Apparently, something like 30 right points within a short distance of the surf town Taghazout. Actually, how do you even pronounce Taghazout?
Niki Hurren:
I’d say, Taghazout. Like Tagazoot, Tagazoot. Like Taghazout.
Joe Walsh:
I’m gonna play it on the computer here.
Computer: Taghazout.
Niki Hurren:
Taghzout.
Joe Walsh:
Taghazout.
Niki Hurren:
Taghazout?
Joe Walsh:
I don’t know. Let’s try it again.
Niki Hurren:
That’s like a French tiger zoo?
Computer: Taghazhout.
Joe Walsh:
Taghazout. All right, well, that’s the way it’s pronounced and Taghazout has epic right point breaks, it’s this Arabic, almost Middle East culture, I guess you’d say. We’ve both been there.
Niki Hurren:
Yeah, absolute. When I first turned up, I didn’t know, I mean I knew it was obviously had Arabic and Middle Eastern culture there, but I was not prepared for that. Very much I thought it was gonna be a little mix of Africa, but it definitely has its own culture.
Joe Walsh:
Yeah. You’re only supposed to eat with your right hand, they don’t drink alcohol, the further south you go, in turns into the Sahara Desert. It’s wild. There’s camels, you can ride camels.
Niki Hurren:
Yeah. The further down, the next country down is Mauritania, which I heard has got waves, too, but is way more dangerous, a little bit more sketchy.
Joe Walsh:
Yeah. Well, that’s the first spot. What are you doing over there? Oh, you’ve got-
Niki Hurren:
I’ve got the Encyclopedia Of Surfing, so I was gonna, sorry, it was just in front me. I was just reading it as we were getting ready for the show and so I’m turning the pages and every time one folds over-
Joe Walsh:
Why do you keep looking at Sally Fitzgibbons? What’s up with that? You’ve got a little heart doodle there.
Niki Hurren:
Who is Sally Fitzgibbons?
Joe Walsh:
Yeah, all right.
Niki Hurren:
I’m actually looking at Paul Strauch and when he does that Paul Strauch hang five-
Joe Walsh:
I can only see the heart that you doodled. That’s Paul Strauch?
Niki Hurren:
That’s not a heart.
Joe Walsh:
Okay. So, number two-
Niki Hurren:
No. Taghazout. That was my very, very first surf trip. My very first. I was learning to start surfing when I was about 20 years old on the east coast of England and the waves are not that good. It’s gets good, but not that often, and the guy who taught me surf-
Joe Walsh:
Save it for the show, save it for the show. You-
Niki Hurren:
Well, I thought we were in the show.
Joe Walsh:
No, no. Well, we are, well, we’re teasing them about that show. If you give away all your secrets, then the shows gonna suck.
Niki Hurren:
This show’s gonna suck now.
Joe Walsh:
This show’s great. Okay, spot number two, I don’t even know how to pronounce it. Hey-nan? Hey-man? Hi-nin. Hi-nan? I don’t …
Niki Hurren:
How about Hey-nan?
Joe Walsh:
Hey-nan, huh-nan, China.
Niki Hurren:
Hur-nan? Hi-nun?
Joe Walsh:
Okay.
Niki Hurren:
Get Siri on it, or something like that. I don’t know.
Joe Walsh:
I’ve got Alexa, but she’s in the other room. All right, I’m gonna bring it up here on the computer. This is how it sounds.
Computer: Hainan.
Joe Walsh:
Hainan?
Niki Hurren:
It sounds like a little old lady saying “Hi, Nan” to her own. Okay, does it get a lot louder?
Computer: Hainan.
Joe Walsh:
Hainan. I guess that’s how it’s pronounced.
Niki Hurren:
Hainan.
Joe Walsh:
Yeah. Anyway, so this is awesome. We’re talking about one of China’s two, I think the second biggest island, off the eastern side of China in the far western edge of the South China Sea, and most people don’t realize that China has waves and it does and it looks awesome. From what I understand, there’s beaches, there’s reefs, there’s points and there’s no one there. The only problem is no one speaks English, it’s really hard to find the waves, so we’ve got our work cut out for us, but it looks really exciting and I was looking at the map of the Caribbean and the map of the South China Sea. I think the South China Sea’s actually bigger, so when you think about how much water there is in that body of water and the size of the waves, the potential for surf. We get epic waves in the Caribbean side here in Costa Rica, so we’re still in the season now for Hainan. Hainan.
Niki Hurren:
Hainan. Yeah, well, it doesn’t look like it should get a lot of waves, but you’ve done your research and you can see a small body of water like that is obviously a large body of water, but it can produce really good swell and, like you said, the Caribbean has epic, epic beaches and reefs and points and every, so looking forward to seeing what’s going on over there.
Joe Walsh:
Yeah. I’m super, super excited. I actually ate Chinese food last night just to get ready, and I’m probably gonna be, it’s pretty-
Niki Hurren:
Oh no, yeah, that’s not real Chinese food.
Joe Walsh:
It’s gonna be just chicken heads and feet or, I don’t-
Niki Hurren:
Well, that’s the whole part of it, man.
Joe Walsh:
Don’t even know.
Niki Hurren:
That’s the whole part of it, you know? The exploration and the, you don’t know what you’re gonna get. That’s fantastic.
Joe Walsh:
Yeah, a little bit Anthony Bourdain, a little bit, I don’t know. Indiana Jones?
Niki Hurren:
No, I don’t want Indiana Jones. No Indian Jones. Just nice hanging out on the beach. It looks tropical. I didn’t realize it was gonna be that, I thought, looking at where it is, in relation to the equator, I didn’t know. But, it looks really tropical.
Joe Walsh:
Yeah, yeah. It looks amazing. Okay. Destination number three. New Zealand. We are in New Zealand summer right now. It’s almost autumn and basically end of March and into April is when it starts to be banging down there. There’s two islands. The north island, the south island. Raglan is the world famous left point break that we’re gonna go check out on the north island, but we’re doing both islands and it’s gonna be awesome.
Niki Hurren:
Yeah, it’s gonna be amazing. New Zealand, in itself, scenic-wise, is just stunning and the fact that it does have waves-
Joe Walsh:
I’ve never been.
Niki Hurren:
Me neither. We both have a good mutual friend that lives down there and he said it’s absolutely amazing and I’ve seen photos of just some epic waves, so I’m very, very stoked and excited about that.
Joe Walsh:
Yeah, it sounds like the vibe’s super chill, that there’s a lot of waves that are pretty uncrowded. You definitely need to bring a wetsuit, but that’s okay, and they filmed Lord Of The Rings, the whole Hobbit trilogy, or however many there were there, and it looks like a fairytale land. Amazing. The outdoors there, the mountain ranges, just beautiful, beautiful scenic photos and video. I’ve been looking YouTube and getting excited.
Niki Hurren:
Yeah. We’re gonna be able to Instagram you right up with some of those backdrop sceneries and stuff like that and I understand that you’re gonna be doing quite a bit of traveling. There’s a lot of coastline to cover, but you fly all that way, so a little few more miles in the car, I’m very, very looking forward to that one especially.
Joe Walsh:
Yeah and, okay, we’re also talking about going to the world’s longest left point break, Chicama, Peru, and Chicama’s amazing. I’ve been there more than once. Been to Peru many times actually and there’s a lot of left point breaks in Peru, but Chicama takes the cake. Longest wave in the world, and the wind blows off-shore all the time there. It’s amazing.
Niki Hurren:
Really?
Joe Walsh:
Yeah.
Niki Hurren:
I know it does in Nicaragua, but I didn’t realize Peru was kind of the same.
Joe Walsh:
Well, for different reasons, and I’m not really sure exactly why, but my understanding, every time I’ve been there, it’s been offshore and all the locals are like, “Ah, it’s always offshore,” so that’s pretty sweet.
Niki Hurren:
Well, we have the longest point break in the world and it’s always offshore. I know that sounds bloody lovely.
Joe Walsh:
Doesn’t even sound real. So these are the spots we’re going, they’re on the bucket list. There’re other spots we’re discussing, as well, so it isn’t set in stone, but you can expect boots on the ground coverage, insider tips, speaking with true locals that are there right now, tearing up these waves, giving us the lowdown on all these spots. It’s gonna be rad. I can’t wait. So, yeah, I’m getting pretty excited.
Niki Hurren:
When do we go?
Joe Walsh:
Well, good question. We’ve got all the sell report, all the forecasts up, looking at the spots. We’re waiting until the right window opens up to make a trip and we’ve also got that trip to Hawaii that we’re doing, Niki, so, besides doing these surf trip reviews, we’re doing some awesome, very uncommon interviews with some of the worlds fines watermen. Got some interviews lined up with Peter Cole, Mark Cunningham, Pancho Sullivan-
Niki Hurren:
You did it! You-
Joe Walsh:
Wingnut.
Niki Hurren:
You said that you weren’t, you were gonna keep it as a teaser, but you’re just laying it out there on the table.
Joe Walsh:
Okay, well, look, until it’s done, it ain’t done, but these have all been confirmed interviews lined up and of course we could do it on the phone, but if we can get out there and do it in person, it’d be even better. These guys are legends, can’t wait to meet them in person. Can’t wait to talk surf, so we’re taking the show on the road. It’s gonna be awesome. So stay tuned every Friday episode. Make sure you subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or however you’re listening and come along for the ride, because it’s gonna be rad. And, without further ado, let’s get on with the show. How to catch more waves anywhere.
Joe Walsh:
All right, well, welcome to the Get Out And Surf Podcast. I’m sitting here with Niki Hurren and special guest Ryan Waldron. Ryan “The Intern.” Welcome to the show Ryan.
Ryan Waldron: Hey, thanks Joe. I was wondering if you’re gonna call me Ryan “The Intern,” but I see it’s still alive and well, but I’m all for it, man.
Joe Walsh:
Well, we were talking about it before showed up and you got the name Ryan “The Intern” when we introduced you to our radio show years ago when you were an intern. Now I think, how long have you been working for Witch’s Rock Surf Camp?
Ryan Waldron: It is February and I’ve been working, it was five years in January and I gotta say best five years of my life. Been surfing my brains out, working for a great company and, yeah, I love it. Now we’re about to do this podcast, bringing it to the next level.
Joe Walsh:
Yeah, man. Well, you’re still the intern even though you’re not. The name’s-
Ryan Waldron: Thank you.
Joe Walsh:
Ryan “The Intern.”
Ryan Waldron: Never escape it.
Joe Walsh:
Okay. Well, this is a pretty cool episode because absolutely every person listening would love to catch more waves and this episode is all about that. How to catch more waves anywhere. You’re home break, traveling to the other side of the world. Let’s just dig right in. Tell me about how I can catch more waves.
Ryan Waldron: All right, absolutely. First thing, surfing is a sport that’s a little bit different than skateboarding or snowboarding, for example, where you go and you hit the slopes. You might go snowboard for two hours and you’re getting a solid hour of riding your board time, where in surfing, you paddle out for two hours, you get a nice session. You might get five minutes, if you’re lucky, of actually practicing and standing on your board, so the ability to catch five or ten waves versus 20 or 25 waves, really makes a difference in your progression and how quick you can build on the skills that you’re learning and that you’re improving, so the strategies to catch more waves are really important. It’s something that you should be mindful when you’re out there surfing.
Joe Walsh:
Because, basically the higher your wave count, the more opportunities you have to practice every single thing with your surfing. The more waves you get, the more chances you have to fall, the more chance you are to have to stand up, make that section, pull that floater, get that tube ride. So 20 waves versus 10 waves in a session means twice as many opportunities.
Ryan Waldron: Exactly, exactly. And sometimes the failures are the best waves, the ones that you wipe out on and eat crap on. They’re the ones that you’re gonna learn from and you need some good wipeouts in your life. They build character and it’s good stuff.
Niki Hurren:
And plus, as all sports, everything’s muscle memory, so the more you do something, the more your muscles will remember and your memory and yourself and so, the more waves you get, obviously the more you’re using that muscle memory, so it’s beneficial.
Joe Walsh:
Okay, well, I’m sold. You don’t have to convince me that catching more waves is a good thing and I’d love to catch more waves, so give me some techniques. Let’s dig in here. What do I gotta do?
Ryan Waldron: All right, so whether I’m going to my home spot or a place that I’m traveling to-
Joe Walsh:
Never surfed before.
Ryan Waldron: Never surfed before. I like to stand on the beach for at least five, 10 minutes and kind of look at the break. Where am I surfing? Am I surfing a beach break with peaks everywhere? Am I surfing a point break with a designated takeoff zone? Am I surfing a reef break, et cetera? So the first thing is to just kind of be aware of what is the wave you’re surfing, and what I like to do is map out, when I’m in the water, where I wanna sit, where the waves are breaking. Are they breaking outside? Are they breaking inside? And just, in mind, just develop a Google Map almost of where I am in the water and always be able to locate myself.
Joe Walsh:
Sure. Kinda like when I surf here out at the Tamarindo River Mouth and that sand bar is very pronounced. You could see right where the wave comes in and hits that sand bar and it peels right across it. You could be 30 feet off of it and not be anywhere near the peak. You could be 30 feet deep and be in the right spot.
Ryan Waldron: Exactly. What’s your secret marker out there? What are you looking at when you’re lining yourself up?
Joe Walsh:
Here in Tamarindo?
Ryan Waldron: Uh huh.
Joe Walsh:
Well, if I tell you my secrets, well, okay. If the tide’s going out and there’s a strong current, I try to get maybe waist, stomach deep water, and actually stand. That way, I don’t get sucked out to see and everyone I’m surfing with maybe gets outta position fairly quick, but it’s always changing a little bit. There’s a crane up there right now building some house on the hill over at, I don’t know, El Tesoro I think, or Tamarindo Heights, and it’s a big, tall, yellow crane. Been there a few months. And I think lately the sand bar’s been breaking right about there, but over the last few weeks, those northwests that were coming in, it was pushing over kind of far, almost lining up between where you normally sit and all the way over to the surf camp. It’s sand and it changes, but that’s the characteristics. That’s why I think it’s important, like you say, before you paddle out, is to spend a few minutes and just watch the conditions to see where the wave continues to break and where the waves are breaking. So you paddle out and you sit in a favorable spot.
Niki Hurren:
Especially a place you’ve never been before. It’s really, really important that you stand there and you check it out and see where you’ve got rips and currents and hazards and rocks and stuff like that, but also to see where that wave is breaking.
Joe Walsh:
Sure. So you might spend five or 10 minutes even at your home break, but if it’s somewhere you’ve never surfed before, double or triple that. Take your time, because there’s a lot of, ask the locals in the surf parking lot when you’re suiting up or just checking it out. Are there any underwater structure or anything that’s causing the waves to break in certain spots or anything to look out for? Things like that.
Ryan Waldron: Something I love to do, as well, is if there’s any point of elevation, if there’s a big sand dune or something that I can get on top of, even if I’m just raising my perspective five feet, checking the waves, you can really see a little bit of how the waves are bending towards the beach and you can get a better idea of where to sit. I don’t know. I really like stretching, being at a little elevated spot and just doing it all on the same, and kind of mapping out my surf session before I even paddle out.
Joe Walsh:
Okay, so it sounds basic and it seems like something that everyone should already know and already be doing, but surprisingly don’t. Take the time, before you paddle out, to study what’s happening. It’s gonna increase your chances of getting waves. You’re gonna paddle out and you’re gonna have an idea of where you wanna sit. Okay, so how about in the water, Ryan? What are some strategies that our listeners can implement right now to help them catch more waves in any session?
Ryan Waldron: Sure, absolutely. So when you’re out there, you have to pay attention to two real things. The consistency of the waves and the crowd. Sometimes when there’s a heavy crowd and people are fighting over the waves, all the good ones, I will sit a little bit closer to the beach and use the bottom feeding strategy.
Joe Walsh:
Ah, the bottom feeder.
Ryan Waldron: The bottom feeding strategy.
Joe Walsh:
I like that. So you sit further inside. You catch the waves that either weren’t big enough to break outside or that people missed or maybe people fell on?
Ryan Waldron: Exactly. You could get the best wave this way. I feel like half the time I’ll get really great waves after I’ve already caught one of the set waves and I’ll just catch a little popup nugget that doubles up and is perfect, so that’s a good strategy to use, the bottom feeding.
Joe Walsh:
But, then the downsides might be that you take a few sets on the head or you might be in someone’s way that’s coming in from a set wave on the outside.
Ryan Waldron: Yeah, exactly. You really gotta be pendiente. You gotta be alert when you’re doing the bottom feeding. You gotta get outta people’s way, look out for the big sets coming out the back and another important thing, when those big sets do come and the very best waves do come, definitely, if you’ve been catching 20 waves to everybody else’s one wave, let the guys that’ve been waiting have those good waves. You gotta pick one of the other strategies. Yeah, and sometimes that’s the risk that you take. For example, you’re surfing a good wave, for example, the Tamarindo River Mouth, on a good day, you can either sit and catch the two to three foot little runners on the inside or if you’re the local guys and you surf that wave all the time, you wanna sit out the back, you wanna catch the bigger waves because, really, at the end of the day, you’re gonna only remember two or three of your greatest waves. So do the practice strategy, bottom feeding, get as much board time as you can, or you can the strategy where you wait out the back, be patient. You’ll see a lot of locals doing this, waiting for those perfect waves, the ones that they’re waiting for, and really get five or six, but very, very good tapered, some of the best waves that come through in the session.
Joe Walsh:
Yeah. But, your wave count would be down.
Ryan Waldron: Exactly.
Joe Walsh:
Maybe they’d be better quality waves, but there’d be less of them, so it’s a trade-off.
Ryan Waldron: Exactly. I surf the waves around here quite a bit. Even though I might be considered a local at some of these spots, I sit close to the beach, I catch all the insiders. I really like just getting on my feet. I don’t really have a huge window of time to surf.
Joe Walsh:
Unless I take you out to Witch’s and all these, you seem to get all the waves whenever we’re on the boat trips together.
Ryan Waldron: Yeah. Well, we’ve got a couple of different strategies to go over. So we’ve got the bottom feeding strategy. That’s just one.
Niki Hurren:
And you can do both of these in one session. You can try one for a little bit and then try the other and sit at the back, especially on tide dependent, as well, you’re getting those little scraps that are coming on the inside, but you don’t have to pick one or the other, you can-
Joe Walsh:
Okay, so one strategy would be to sit further inside and get the waves that get passed up or people fall on or that weren’t breaking on the main peak, or to actually sit further outside and just wait for the gems?
Ryan Waldron: Yeah, sure.
Joe Walsh:
Is that what you’re saying?
Ryan Waldron: Yeah. For example, that kind of comes down to the consistency of the waves. For example, if the waves are really consistent and there’s a lot of waves coming through, maybe it’s not the best idea to bottom feed in that situation. If there’s a bunch of waves and you can kind of play the patient game and get the very, very best waves while everybody else drops in the crummy ones, that’s a good strategy, as well.
Joe Walsh:
So then maybe you don’t catch as many waves, but the waves you get are such high quality that they’re worth three smaller waves. Or something like that.
Ryan Waldron: Sure, yeah. I guess, at the end of the day, it really just comes down to ride time, whether you get five minutes of surfing on 10 waves or you get five minutes of surfing on 30 waves, but it’s really about getting to your feet, getting your feet into the wax and building the muscle memory like Niki was saying and just feet on board time, I guess.
Joe Walsh:
Okay. You mentioned earlier about where I line up when I’m out here and I think that’s another good strategy to discuss on the show, like triangulation. People tend to look at the shore on one marker and try to line up with one thing and don’t realize that you can drift down the beach quite a ways and still look like you’re lined up in the same spot. You need to pick two spots to line up with.
Ryan Waldron: Yeah. Usually one. Generally, what I’ll do is I’ll find a marker in the foreground and then I’ll find a marker in the background or little bit past my first marker and I might try and line these two markers up as I’m in the third position in the water. That way I’ll know exactly where I am when those two markers go on top of each other. But, yeah, it’s really important. When you’re out in the water, don’t just be looking at the horizon. Don’t just be looking for the lines coming through. Pay as much attention as you do to what’s going on in the outside to your positioning. Look towards the beach, see where you are. Just be constantly like a freaking tiger, or something, just on the prowl to catch these waves.
Joe Walsh:
Is that what you do? You paddle with intent and you always seem to be getting tons of waves. Do you emulate a tiger? Is that your spirit animal?
Ryan Waldron: Maybe a tiger might not be intense enough for my spirit animal when I’m out surfing.
Joe Walsh:
All right. Cool, Ryan. So I’m getting lots of great advice here. Everyone who’s listening is getting some great advice. Before you paddle out, overview the waves. See where the waves are breaking. Watch where they’re breaking consistently and paddle out with intent. Make sure that you’re paddling out to where the waves are breaking, but both frequently, that’s gonna help you get more waves. And then, once you’re out there, you have a couple strategies. You can sit further on the inside and the get the smaller runners, but you might take a few on the head. Or, if it’s super consistent, then that may not be the best strategy, but sitting outside and waiting for the better waves that produce the longer rides will give you more ride time, so I get that, and I understand triangulation. It’s the super important concept of lining up with two points, not just one, in order to ensure that you’re sitting right on that sand bar or right where that wave breaks
Joe Walsh:
I also notice, from I guess 25 years of surfing, that after a wave that breaks consistently at the same reef or sand bar, will leave a little bit of white wash and a lighter foamy patch of water where the wave breaks, so whenever I’m giving a lesson or taking some friends that don’t have as much surf experience, I tend to point that out. You can see where the wave just broke. If you’re aware of that and you sit accordingly, your chances of getting a wave breaking in the same area, the same type of wave, are very great.
Niki Hurren:
Yeah. You might have to move out or move in or chase it a little bit, but I use that strategy, as well, where you got out and try to look for that foam or that coloration and the discoloration in the water and you know you’re gonna be within that area, you’re gonna be consistently breaking wave there.
Joe Walsh:
Yeah. All right. So we’re already getting lots of great ideas. What else have you got for us, Ryan? What else can we do?
Ryan Waldron: Yeah, touching really on seeing where the white water is, is watching the waves from behind when you’re out there and maybe you paddled for a wave, you pulled out last minute, watch that wave, see how it breaks, see how it hits the sand bar. Was the wave makeable? Was it a good idea to pull off on it? That way, the next time a wave comes in and it looks similar to that, you’ll know, “Okay, I’m just gonna go or, okay, I’m not gonna catch the close out,” but especially if you’re surfing a wave like the Tamarindo River Mouth, the point break, a reef break, where it has a similar, the wave has similar form each time, watch as many waves as you can from the back just to kinda map out where the reef is, where the sand is in your mind and just be able to line yourself up.
Joe Walsh:
Yeah, that’s super smart. Don’t just pay attention to the wave that you might get or that your friend’s riding, but every decent wave that comes in so that you more of what look for. What about the other surfers in the water? What about the surfers that are in the water, the ones that seem to be catching all the waves? What do they know that I don’t know or, better yet, how can I use the better surfers in the water to help me get more waves?
Ryan Waldron: Hmm, that’s a good question. Obviously, you can look at them and see how they’re positioning themselves. Something that I like to do is if I’m paddling back out after catching a wave and obviously the surfers on the outside have a better perspective than me, I will watch a good surfer’s head and I’ll watch his body language. If he’s starting to freak out and paddle out, even though I can’t see the wave, I will start to paddle out hard, as well. Sometimes the good surfers tend to catch all the waves, especially if it’s a local crew. They’re not gonna be very kind to someone kinda just working their way in, so sometimes, with all the good surfers, they tend to huddle together and clique together, so it’s actually a good opportunity to maybe even escape the crowd. The good surfers generally tend to attract more people around them because everyone sees them catching a wave, so you can use this to your advantage and escape the pack. So if everyone’s catching this big, perfect right, maybe go to the left, see if the left is working.
Joe Walsh:
All right. So, on one hand, I you are near some really good surfers, maybe someone who’s further out than you that can see over a wave that’s coming that you can’t see and you see their body language and all of a sudden they’re paddling, they’re scrapping for the outside, you know waves are coming. So paying attention to other surfer’s body language and then also, if there’s a pack of really good surfers out, maybe staying a little bit away from that pack and finding another peak, simply because your chances of getting more waves are gonna be a lot greater when you’re not competing with semi-pro or professional surfers that are all egging each other on and that’ll happen. You’ll get a few of them surfing together and then, boom, they get pretty much every wave that comes through.
Ryan Waldron: Yeah, exactly. And they do some blocking strategies and there’s a big group of them, so-
Joe Walsh:
As though they’re in a contest.
Ryan Waldron: Yeah, exactly, exactly. But, whatever. The locals generally, whether it’s right or not, have a little bit more priority than everybody else out there.
Joe Walsh:
That’s true. So if you’re traveling to another spot, always keep that in mind. It’s very good advice. Moving on to more strategies to catching more waves, I know another strategy that I tend to implement, and Ryan, I don’t know if you do this, as well, but I never really stand still for that long. I try to keep moving around. I’ll stay in the same area where if I think the waves are breaking there, but if I’m sitting there for a bit and waves aren’t coming in, I’ll paddle 50 meters to the north or south. I’ll mix it up.
Ryan Waldron: Yeah, absolutely. You don’t wanna be too stubborn out there. You don’t wanna be sitting out the back 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes still not catching anything. After 15 minutes, and I’m not catching anything, I’m over it. I’ll cut my losses.
Joe Walsh:
Especially if you see other people catching waves.
Ryan Waldron: Exactly. Especially if there’s waves coming in, waves to be had, if you go for about 15 minutes without catching anything, change your strategy. Try the bottom feeding, try paddling way out, try to paddle to a different peak or, yeah, just do something just to kind of shake off the dust that you’re in. Don’t be so stubborn. Just keep trying to implement new strategies because you never know when that secret little wedge is gonna come your way.
Niki Hurren:
I’ve even gotten to the point where I’ve actually gone in, gone back to the beach. If I’ve been out there and I’ve been really confused, not being able to find a peak, not being able to find my spot, I’ll either go back in on the beach and look at the rises, find a higher level and suddenly the tide might have changed, so therefore you can maybe see if there’s another little peak that you couldn’t see from where you were at the back. So definitely going in, reevaluating the situation.
Joe Walsh:
Yeah, resetting.
Niki Hurren:
Yeah. Reset. Yeah, exactly. Reset. Because you’re just having a bit of a funk and you’re not getting the waves you want, you’re not getting anything, do not be stubborn, do not be stagnant. Move, keep fluid.
Joe Walsh:
Yeah, it’s like pushing reset.
Niki Hurren:
Be like water. Yeah, yeah, start again. Start again. It’s all little mini sessions. You can get out sometimes and you can get four or five waves off the bat and then nothing, and sometimes you’ll be sitting out there for ages, but don’t get frustrated.
Joe Walsh:
Yeah. I think there’s a bit of a rhythm that you can get into and out of with surfer.
Niki Hurren:
Absolutely.
Joe Walsh:
And if you’re not in rhythm and you’re not in sync then, seriously, you can get out, you can reset and go back in and have a completely different session. And that kind of comes with another thought. Paddling out.
Niki Hurren:
Generally, surfing is majority, what?
Joe Walsh:
Paddling.
Niki Hurren:
Paddling, yeah.
Joe Walsh:
And sitting.
Niki Hurren:
Paddling and sitting and stuff like that. So, generally, if you’ve had a really good wave and your instinct is to use that adrenaline and that energy and to paddle out as quickly as you possibly can and use a lot more energy. You’re gonna use-
Joe Walsh:
You’ll be winded. You wanna get out there, but then, if a wave comes right away, you might not even be able to catch it because you just burned all your energy up paddling out.
Niki Hurren:
Yeah. This all depends on the consistency and conditions, as well.
Joe Walsh:
Sure.
Niki Hurren:
But, I always try to take my time. I don’t try to rush, nice, strong, and pace myself. I’m not trying to rush back out there, because sometimes you’re paddling back out for the lineup and you get an opportunity when someone falls on a wave or they don’t make it and you can do that turn and burn, you can quickly go. And so, if you were going out at a calm pace, you’ve got a little bit more time in your head and I just feel like, over a session, you’ll just save that energy. But then, also, I know what it’s like when you’ve had a really good wave and you know that there’s another set coming. You’re like, “Get out the back! Go!” And you just go for it. But, take your time paddling back out. That’s what, you know.
Joe Walsh:
Yeah, and that probably leads me to say that staying in really good paddle shape and surf shape is another way to catch more waves, for obvious reasons, because if you catch that great set wave and then you can excitedly paddle back out and maybe catch another wave of the same set, you’re gonna go for it, but you’re not gonna be able to do it if you’re out of shape.
Ryan Waldron: Yeah, that’s huge. I’ll be giving a lesson, or when I used to give lessons, and we’ll catch a wave, we’ll catch two waves and then the person’s out there and they’re exhausted, is because they don’t have the muscles that you need for surfing built up quite yet. So to have the endurance and to be able to just sprint a marathon can be handy, but you don’t want to be the guy out there just going crazy like you just drank frigging eight espressos, but to be in-
Joe Walsh:
Is that another tip? Drinking eight espressos?
Niki Hurren:
No, I get the jitters, man. If I have too much coffee before I go out, I sit and I start to shake and, no, I wouldn’t …
Joe Walsh:
I think we’ve outlined a ton of very actionable advice.
Ryan Waldron: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Joe Walsh:
When you add it all up, if you were to take into consideration all of these tips that we’re discussing on the show, you’re gonna get more waves. Yes, you need to get in paddle shape. If you’re not in paddle shape because you don’t surf that often, there’s things you can do, like swimming, going to the gym. Keep your body, especially the muscles you use in your arms and your shoulders and your back, keep them ready for when the surf does pick up or when you take that surf trip. And then, all these tips that we’re talking about, watching the lineup before you paddle out, sitting on the inside and catching the smaller, yet almost as good waves and getting maybe two or three times as many waves, triangulation, watching better surfers and what they do, watching people’s body language. If they see a set you don’t see. Watching waves that broke that you didn’t even go for just to see how they break. Paddling. If you’re sitting somewhere and you’re not getting a wave, paddling over just a few yards in another direction or just getting to another spot where you think it might break. That might just change up the rhythm.
Joe Walsh:
They’re all really good ideas and I think if you take them all into consideration, you might double or even triple the amount of waves you get in a session. What do you think about that, Ryan?
Ryan Waldron: I think that that’s really what it’s all about. I’ll be checking the forecast a week in advance, just getting so happy, so happy, just hyping myself up, and then what I really want out of my surf session is to catch a lot of waves, to get a lot of time on my board, to practice, to get better. So, yeah, really catching more waves, more ride time, is what it’s all about. You’re gonna come out of the water feeling exhausted, feeling like you have been productive and be able to go through the rest of your day with a clear head space, not having this crazy wave hunger that hovers over you the rest of the day, or at least me. If I get a good session in the morning, I catch a ton of waves, I can go about my day in a normal human state and not have this monkey on my back all day.
Niki Hurren:
Use that wave hunger. Use that wave hunger to go out and surf and do this, because there’s, it’s a desperate situation when you’re sitting there and you’re just hungry and you’re famished. Famished for waves. Sounds like the east coast of England.
Joe Walsh:
Well, I hope, for everyone listening, you really enjoyed this episode on how to catch more waves. I know, for me, it’s really good advice, even though I’ve been surfing a long time, because I’m getting ready to take a few surf trips. I’m gonna go to some spots that I’ve never been before and this is applicable to me. I need to make sure I stay in surf shape. I need to really understand the wave before I paddle out and maybe at my home break, where I know every one of the lineup and I’ve been surfing the same wave for years, it’s different. You catch more waves because you know how it breaks, because you know the other people that’ve been surfing there a long time, too. But, when you go to a new spot, you don’t have those advantages. You’re at a total disadvantage. But, when you’re paddling out at a new spot you’ve never been to, you probably shouldn’t paddle out to the main peak anyways. You probably should sit a little bit further inside. Watch what the guys that are out there are doing. Watch what they’re doing, where they’re sitting, and slowly work your way into the lineup, but don’t just paddle out to the main peak because you saw the waves breaking there. Start on the inside and slowly work your way up.
Ryan Waldron: I’d say that’s some pretty good advice, Joe. I think the listeners are gonna be stoked next time they surf. At least, even if you can keep one of these things in your mind, just one thing that resonates with you, I think that you will considerably up your wave count, and that’s what matters. If the conditions are big and gnarly and there’s really nice glory waves coming in out there, then I only wanna catch five waves. I wanna get the one. This is kind of to catch more waves when it’s playful, fun, chest, head high, foot over head. If it’s double over head and you’re just trying to survive out there and get the one wave, then this stuff’s not so applicable. The triangulation thing, of course applicable. Watching the wave. But, yeah, if the waves are big and gnarly and you’re just trying to get that one glory wave, you definitely don’t wanna bottom feed. Just trying to say that.
Joe Walsh:
Ryan, you’re an amazing surfer.
Ryan Waldron: Thank you, Joe.
Joe Walsh:
Yeah, well, you deserve the accolades. You surf really well, you’ve been surfing for a long time, obviously, and you’ve got very good advice. So I just wanna say thank you for being on the show, for bringing your ideas to the Get Out And Surf Podcast. Our whole goal is to get people out there stoked, surfing lots of waves, get people inspired, and I think these tips are gonna help all of us.
Joe Walsh:
You’ve been listening to the Get Out And Surf Podcast, brought to you by Witch’s Rock Surf Camp in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. Special thanks to Ryan Waldron. If you like Get Out And Surf, do me a favor. You can give us a review on iTunes. That’s awesome. That way other people can find us. Make sure you’re subscribed. You can do that through iTunes, Spotify, however else you’re listening to the podcast. Hopefully, I see you surfing in Costa Rica or somewhere else around the world. Por la vida y nos vemos.

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