By Tim Newark & Angus McBride

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Pick the right gear and choose the right sandy beach break with the right tide, wind, and wave conditions, and it will happen. You will quickly attain adequate proficiency to start having a ball—you needn’t be flashy to ride wave after wave and have a ton of fun. And the more fun you have, the better you will get. The first step, then, is to acquire the right gear, starting with a longboard, and rather than bore you with endless detail about alternatives, we’ll make very specific recommendations.

Note also that as we ride along the face of this malleable, constantly changing hill of water we call a wave, to a greater or lesser extent water is being sucked from in front of the wave, up into the wave, and then over the top, or crest, of the wave. This flow effectively increases the speed of the surfboard and rider through the water and helps keep the surfboard planing—that is, skimming lightly over the surface as opposed to partially submerging and plowing through the water. This facet of surfing is graphically demonstrated at water parks in the form of wave machines, which project a relatively thin sheet of water up and over a steep, fixed slope.

You don’t ever need any board other than that superb Robert August 9′6″ (or any one of a number of similar boards by other outstanding shapers). You can take on big waves and small waves, messy waves and clean waves, and have an absolute ball. The steeper and more hollow the waves, however, the more critical it becomes to take off on your longboard far enough ahead of that white plunging wave crest and to get the nose going sideways to the beach at a very early stage in the take-off. Otherwise the wave face bends, the back of your board cranks up, the nose sticks, and you pearl, or pitchpole.

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