Ocean Module: Bumpy Water (Rebound)


When paddling in bumpy conditions near a headland, rock wall or anything that allows either wind chop or swell to rebound and come back out at another direction in can be increasingly difficult to balance let alone understand what is going on. The trick to paddling in these conditions is understanding what is going on and why the conditions are the way they are. 

Take time to sit and watch how the wind and swell bounce off the coast and mind surf the bumps that are heading in towards the coast and then rebounding back out to sea. 

Generally speaking longer period swell will rebound more than shorter period wind chop. The wind chop will stand up and sit down whereas the swell will hit in a line and rebound cleaner back in a line. The trick to navigating through these turbulent parts of the ocean is not so different from navigating through windy conditions:

1) Accelerate when your nose is pointed down into the trough. Exactly the same as normal. You can get overwhelmed by all that is going on but all that really matters is what is right in front of you and what your nose is doing.  Break it down and you will notice extra glide albeit with the occasional speed bump.

2) Bend your knees. This doesn't mean you need to throw your technique out the window but just setup your foundation with more than a quarter squat, you may need to go as low as a half squat. This will allow your knees to act as shock absorbers so when you ride a bump up and over a rebounding bump you can handle it.

3) Turning. You need to be able to manoeuvre your board to make the most of all the different angles you are being subject to in the backwashy conditions. By being able to rail steer, sweep and draw stroke you can put your board in the perfect position all the time. Continue to work on it and you'll get there.

4) Get closer to the source of the rebound. Now common sense needs to prevail here, you don't want to get so close you are putting yourself at risk but generally the closer you are to the source of the backwash the more drawn out the bumps are. This means there is more room to fit your board in the trough and it is easier to navigate. Conversely the further away you are from the rebound the more jumbled the conditions get. Again this comes down to how you read the conditions. 

 Move onto the Surf Zone Chapter here