The take off, is it the most important part of your ride on a wave? Well position means possession so when you get that wave you have been waiting for, don’t blow the take off…
If you make the late drop, specially if its a free fall then they might think twice about dropping in on you. Kneeboarders have a huge advantage, I have always thought at places that a double up, suck rock take off is the entry point onto the wave, rather than a few meters further down the line where it might be easier to enter.
How do you paddle in? Chin down, arms going like egg beaters, kicking your flippers like a cut cat!! We all have a mate like that. Hey it doesn’t matter he got the wave. Momentum paddling in is vital no doubt as you can use that like a whip like drive into your first turn. So if you can delay your take off for optimum drive and speed out of ur bottom turn that’s great, you really have to go with the flow and surf each wave as it presents itself, but I am sure you would agree on how vital the take off is.
My friend Carlo on his NL pin tail, takes the drop.
If you remember about position then you can stealthy slink around without drawing to much attention and always be where the waves peak at there optimum and this means being a good reader of the sea. That comes from time in the water in a smorgasbord of waves and breaks. Hawaii has no continental shelf to slow swell down it just charges in, have a look at the majority of the take offs on the footage there or you may have been there done that, there is certainly no time to make a mistake.
Places like Margaret River in Western Australia is very similar a lot of wind blowing off the land up to 15 knots holding you up as u paddle in, and quite honestly many times I just pushed my self over the ledge totally blind as I couldn’t see a thing with the strong offshore blowing the top of the wave into my face and free falling and then landing half way down the face then drop, drop, drop as you come out of your bottom turn you come into the section called the “surgeons table” and you will end up on it flat on your back if your judgement is wrong.
These were large waves and so you have to commit paddle in positive and confident and launch yourself, there really is no other way. So the take off is vital in any size surf, get placed on your board correctly is a must cause you might have zero time to adjust once you are committed. Those waves where you take off and can just pull straight into the tube are about as good as can get for kneeboarders as the wave pitches out you come in from behind as the lip goes over your head, yes pretty hard to top that type of take off. Specially backlit waves, now we are getting into it, colour coming thru the roof of the wave, sparkling, translucent a moment so brief and yet indelibly imprinted on heart and mind from your take off and that particular wave you caught. A moment in time . It maybe a late take off or a casual drop, a white water take off that doubles up on an inside reef or sandbar, these can be some of the most exciting ones as you place yourself for maximum tube time. You may have 5,4,3,2 or 1 fin in your board whatever feels good for you, take off with your heart pumping blast off. Enjoy the drop, take it all in and feel the wind and spray in your face as you launch into the next wave.