When I was a grom, I was told by a teacher that people trained to be a Ninja start when they are very young. In a spring when a bamboo shoot pokes through the ground, they start to practice jumping over the shoot. First day a few inches off the ground, and by the end of the year the shoot will grow into a 20-30 ft bamboo tree, and so goes the story that by then you will be able to jump over anything of that size. Obviously this isn't entirely true, and bamboo will grow several feet a day, but the morale of the story apply to surfing. On small flat days, we can practice duck diving techniques and paddling exercises etc. Also can you catch every wave when they are small, I think that there is still a lot of things you can learn such as turning around quickly and timing and selection of waves. We can continue to do the same as the season goes on and the waves gets gradually bigger. Before you know you will feel at home with double overheads just like you were doing on a hip highs in the early summer.