Taking off on a wave continues to be one of the most difficult part of surfing, and especially when you are trying to do this on a shorter boards. One thing though, I was just watching several of the top surfers and I was a bit relieved to know that they sometimes are struggling with that too, especially when the waves are smaller. This really makes the playing field level, and so gives chances to many surfers. To this effect, while surfing do require some strong muscles, it also requires a bit of creativity. I have met many surfers, but especially at recreational levels, I found that good surfers are in general very creative people, and they are usually are in a profession that requires that; in other words, they tend to be musicians, artists, physicists, programmers etc., (note that if you are not one of them, you probably did not explore deeper into "real you.")
But here are a couple of my observations.
If they go for a wave and if they take off, it is just a matter of 2-3 paddles into the wave when the wave takes shape. I am not including the counts of the paddles to get to the wave. I cannot define that here but if you go there and see it, you know what I am talking about. So I figure that if I need to paddle more than a few strokes, then I must say that I am not choosing the correct wave. The wave selection really is one of the key factors in a successful take-off. You might wonder what "wave selection" is.
To me they are;
+ Be at the right spot. Good surfers are actually on the move, and know when the next set is coming and where the wave is going to pop.
+ Know when is the right set to catch. This is where I often see some surfers going for every wave, and not catching any.
The time to take off and be up on the board is actually quite variable, I've noticed. There are times when the board does not quite get in the wave and surfers would "wait and see" if the board catches the wave. So getting up on the board quickly is not necessarily the norm. However, the true difference here is that they do get up on the board quickly when they decide that it is the wave to catch.
In the past two days, I have observed the world-class best surfers and also local-level top notches compete and I highly recommend that you go and check out the good surfers make the "best" out of the conditions that they are faced with. This makes the surfing very interesting because you cannot control the environment and condition like you could, say in professional Bowling. And of course, that makes surfing a whole lot more interesting than many other sports.