Tiny Whale

Searching Availability...

Tips to Increase Your Wave Count with Surfing

Meet Jan, designer and coach of both our intermediate Greenwave Riders Course, and our Advanced Surf Course. With 10 years of coaching experience in the Algarve, Oz and France, he’s brimming with advice for surfers who want to get a little better, ride a little faster, and importantly, catch as many waves as possible! Here’s some of his advice to get your wave count up…

Over to Jan...

Do you find yourself sitting in the line-up watching everyone else catch the wave you wanted? If this is you, you’re either really generous OR you’re in need of a few tips...

This is something that comes up pretty often in my courses. You want to be a better surfer. You need to practice and catch as many waves as possible to get your game up, but this just isn’t happening because everyone else is taking all the waves. You leave the water at the end of your session feeling robbed & no better than when you got in the water.

The good news is that there are a few really simple (and yes, maybe sneaky) tips to help you solve this problem. I’ll list them out…

TIP No. 1: Avoid being a sheep

This might seem obvious but you’d be surprised at the number of times I find a nice & almost untouched peak next to a really crowded one. If you see a crowd, avoid whenever possible. Even if the quiet spot further down the beach has fewer waves, you’ll actually end up catching more waves there in the long run. Plus, it’s always better to avoid hassling other surfers in a crowd. Save yourself and others the stress.

TIP no. 2: Understand your priorities

Position yourself in the right place and follow the priority rules. If you want to surf left and someone to your right is already surfing left towards you, they have priority (vice versa for surfing right). Sitting too much to the left or right will have you constantly giving priority to other surfers.

TIP no. 3: Get smart & scan

If the busy peak really is your only option you’re going to have to play it smart. Even in a busy area there can be overlooked opportunities. Give the area a really good scan paying close attention to where and how the waves are breaking. You’re looking for any spots with a nice wave that nobody is catching. Paddle to the spot, sit there, reap the rewards.

So you’ve scanned, there are no clear places for you to sit and you don’t have time to check the next beach? Here's one of my sneaky tactical tips…

TIP no. 4: Know your sets

If you understand the set patterns you can easily use it to your advantage. Here’s how: Look for the average wave that comes just before a great wave in each set. When you see that average wave coming, paddle for it as if you are going to take it. Typically other surfers around you will follow you lead (surprisingly the sheep mentality thing is real). Now, quickly turn your board back to a good position and paddle for the great wave coming up right behind the average wave. All going well, the other surfers are now in a bad position to catch the great wave & it will be clear for you to enjoy. Bon appetit! It has to be said, This is pretty cheeky but if the other surfers were paying good attention to the sets they’d surely wait for the great wave, right?!

Try these out & I'm sure you'll soon be catching way more waves. For more advice, tips & a great surf holiday check out our intermediate and advanced courses below

Happy surfing!


Published: 30 Dec by


Surfing in Algarve, Portugal in Spring: What's it like?
As surfers, we love surfing in the Algarve in the spring as it has the most optimal conditions with favorable winds and plenty of swells. Come and join us!

Learn How to Catch and Surf a Green Wave
For surfers, learning to catch a green wave can be a hard transition to overcome. The reality is there are many factors that go into the learning process.

Zavial Surf Spot Guide
Zavial is home to a famous wave in Portugal that deserves a great deal of respect, as do the locals. Learn the do's and don't in our Zavial surf spot guide.