Tips for Conquering Steep Waves

Amidst the beauty of San Diego’s coastline, the challenge of tackling steep waves will eventually arise. Whether an intermediate surfer or a beginner, dropping in on a steep wave demands control and strategy. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind for a successful descent.

Read the Wave:

Understanding the wave’s behavior is essential for a successful drop. Pay attention to its shape, speed, and direction as you paddle into position. Anticipating how the wave will break allows you to time your drop more effectively, maximizing your chances of a smooth descent

Angle Your Take Off:

The angle of your takeoff sets the stage for the entire ride. When approaching a steeper wave, positioning yourself at an angle to the wave sets your direction to initiate control. Aim to paddle into the wave at an angle that aligns best with it’s slope, allowing for a smoother transition onto the face.

Set Inside Rail:

Once you caught the wave, focus on setting your inside rail. This means adding pressure to the edge of board closest the wave with your body weight. By doing so, you increase your board’s grab on the face and minimize falling over the other or losing control.

Body Positioning:

Your body positioning plays a crucial role in maintaining balance and control during the drop. Keep your knees slightly bent and your weight centered over the board. Engage your core muscles to stabilize your body as you navigate the descent. By maintaining a low center of gravity and staying active on your board, you’ll be in a better position for a steep wave.


Dropping in on a steep wave requires commitment. Once you’ve angled your takeoff and set your inside rail, commit fully to the descent. Hesitation can lead to missed opportunities or a wipeout. Trust in your skills and the wave’s energy as you descend down the face.

Surf Lessons:

For those new to tackling steeper waves, investing in surf lessons can be invaluable. Qualified instructors can provide personalized guidance tailored to your skill level, helping you master the fundamentals of dropping in on steep waves safely and effectively. In San Diego, San Diego Surf School offer lessons ranging from beginner basics to advanced techniques, making it accessible for surfers of all levels to hone their craft.

Practice, Practice, Practice:

Like any skill, mastering the drop on steep waves takes practice. Spend time familiarizing yourself with different wave conditions and enhancing your technique. Embrace the learning process and don’t be discouraged by setbacks. With dedication and perseverance, you’ll gradually build the confidence and proficiency needed to conquer even the steepest waves San Diego has to offer.

Dropping in on a steep wave is as much about mindset as it is about technique. By approaching each descent with focus, commitment, and a willingness to learn, you can turn the challenge of steep waves into growth. Whether you’re a local shredding San Diego’s iconic breaks or a visitor seeking to experience its legendary surf culture, mastering the drop opens up a world of endless possibilities on the waves.