Our experts answer all your puzzling surfing conundrums – from technique and lingo, to equipment and etiquette. All correspondence is confidential and we’ll publish the best questions in each issue.
What does left and right mean?
- Ffion from Pembrokeshire, UK
In surfing terms, left and right refer to which way the wave is breaking, depending on its direction from the point of view of the surfer. If the surfer is paddling to catch a wave that’s breaking from right to left, then the wave is a left. (If looking at the same wave from the beach, it will be breaking to the right, but the surfer’s point of view is the one that counts.) Obviously, a right-hander breaks the opposite way – from left to right.
Are you supposed to catch most of the waves you paddle for?
- Lisa from Bremerhaven, Germany
If you’re a beginner or intermediate, don’t expect to catch every wave you paddle for. Often if you miss a wave it’s because you’re not paddling hard enough or you’re in the wrong position to catch it. As a general rule, if you think you’ve done enough paddles, do four more before you pop up!
Can you surf on your period?
- Naomi from Yorkshire, UK
Yes, surfing on your period is completely safe. Water-based exercise is, in fact, one of the best forms of exercise to do if suffering from menstrual cramps. Using the right sanitary products is advised, such as a tampon or – for the environmentally conscious surfer – try using a Moon Cup.
How do you ‘hang ten’ without nosediving?
- Melissa from Spring Hill, USA
Like anything, practise makes perfect. When practising to ‘hang ten’ it’s important to make sure you’re performing the manoeuvre on the correct part of the wave. You can’t do it on white-water, you really need to find a decent open face section of the wave. Resist the urge to lean over the surfboard; keeping a slight bend in your knees you need your body to be in line with the nose of the surfboard, placing your weight towards the inside rail. You will fall for the first few attempts, but don’t give up. What is a wildcard in WSL?
- Sarah from Cornwall, UK Every year the World Surf League selects three surfers who wouldn’t have otherwise qualified (two for the Men’s CT and one for the Women’s) to join the top 32 men/ 16 women and compete in the CT for the entire season. These are usually surfers who were injured in the previous season and therefore unable to re-qualify.