Choose a Good Wave
One needs to learn how to select the right wave. Being selective will increase your chances of catching the wave and decrease frustration. You don't want to paddle for a wave that's not worthwhile. This can help a surfer save arm strength and maintain their position in the lineup and not miss the future rest of the waves in the set.
First the surfer to move from riding Whitewater waves to catching unbroken waves; there are a number of ocean cues that need to be recognized to assist surfers to consistently catch the waves that they paddle for.
First, they should position themselves in the ocean to be able to catch waves on the peak, where the wave initially breaks. This gives them the best opportunity to catch the wave and achieve the longest ride. The surfer should also be out far enough from the beach to catch the unbroken wave and not have the waves break on their head.
Second, they should paddle positively when positioning and paddling around the waves. Frequently surfers paddle tentatively and drift around the break. If a wave is approaching, paddle with purpose to position yourself or paddle over the swell, to seek a better way coming along.
How to decide which way to paddle for
A surfer must also decide which way to paddle for. There are three types of basic unbroken swells that surfers must recognize to make consistent and correct decisions whether it's appropriate to paddle and catch.
1. Surfers often paddle for swells that can be classified as flat swells. They are flat in appearance and haven't built up sufficiently for a surfer to catch. When a surfer titles for and misses a flat swell there are three consequences. They waste energy and effort, they put themselves out of position for the next wave, and the following wave can break on the head of the surfer, making it harder to paddle out and back into position.
2. Surfers also paddle for pitching waves, where the wave breaks over the surfer is the attempt to stand. This is a too late of takeoff and usually results in a wipeout on the take off with an unsuccessful ride and wasted effort.
3. Surfers should paddle for half built swells. These swells allow the surfer to affect a clean entry into the way which creates momentum and speed can be used to set up on the first move of the ride.