How To Read A Wave w. Alessio Stillrich

Continuing on from our series with Stillrich, we pick up where we left off before the New Year and ask Alessio for some pointers on how to read a wave. Find out other tips on how to jump higher and how to tweak your pushloops by scrolling down to the bottom of this feature.

It’s possibly one of the hardest things to do right – reading a wave, yet when the pros line up a Ho’okipian bomb they seem to flawlessly charge from one section to another, often throwing down a repertoire of maneuvers along the way. So what exactly do they look for in a wave and what can you try at home to make the most of each line that mother nature throws at us. 

Over to Alessio…

1 – This is hard as it depends on the wave but in down the line conditions you want to be looking for the critical section, the bit that is right next to the white water where it is the steepest. These are the sections that not only offer the most points in competition but more importantly generate the most power for you to continue riding your wave with speed.

2 – Hitting the most vertical section is critical to give you the maximum power, spray and acceleration into the next part of the wave. Especially in lighter winds, you need every bit of energy you can get from the wave to get a full carve into the next section.

3 – Really try to make sure you go really under the lip and vertical with the board, pointing it at 12 o’clock up the wave face and follow this up with a fin release if you can.

4 – Choose your sections further down the wave, if you spot a bit that is breaking ahead then charge for it and try to air over it, this is where maximum points are scored in competitions as you clear sections and connect them with nice vertical, critical and powerful turns. 

5 – Don’t try to plan a wave, each one of them is different and you will only know what you can do when it starts to wall up ahead of you. Stall out, look around your sail by holding it in one hand behind you, then spot where it’s going vertical first, second, third and so on…

6 Try not to be too stiff, bend your knees more, bend at your hips and ankles, use the full length of the boom on turns and really try to be flexible on every turn. Exaggerate this even more so on the bottom turn as this will set you up and get you ready for a solid top turn.

7 – If you want to throw a move look for the sections and take your time to learn what sections will throw you back into the wave enough to do the move instead of an aerial or floater. The key thing here is just to hit it as late as you can, timing is everything and this comes with practice but if it is a move you are after then you’ll need to be able to get some good under the lip turns in first so as to work on the timing. 

Want to improve your wave sailing further then check out our other features with Alessio here:

Jump Higher: Size Matters – 6 Tips To Go Big

Tweaked Pushloops: 6 Easy Steps To Get Your Tweak On


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