Sports Tip: How to Surf

Saxon Rhodes has been surfing all her life.

The most important part of catching an awesome wave is to have fun, according to teenager Saxon Rhodes.

“Live in the moment,” the Malibu surf team member said.

Rhodes, 15 years old and a surfer all her life, said when beginners look to cruise on the surface of water with a short or long board they should paddle to a spot in waist or chest deep water where waves have already broken and look to catch a crush of water there.  

They must then turn their board towards shore, sit towards the back of the board with the board’s nose out of the water. Rhodes said surfers should get in good position–right before waves break–then once they see a wave rolling their way, paddle quickly. 

When the surfer has a good feeling of the rolling water’s speed and motion and have caught its momentum, they should quickly stand up on the board with their knees bent, arms free and watch where they are going. 

For new surfers, it is recommended they start simple and just ride the wave straight towards shore. Once they get more comfortable, they can start angling their board across the surface of the wave by leaning into the turn with their body, keeping their center of gravity on the board. Surfers should use their body to gently dip one rail of the board into the face of the wave.

Rhodes, who first hit the water at six months old, said she likes to “snap,” meaning ride the wave up and down, while it rushes towards the coastline. 


“It’s so much fun,” she said. 

Rhodes’s family is full of surfers–her dad is Pepperdine surf club coach Dale Rhodes and another relative is pro surfer Alana Blanchard–so she admits surfing takes up a big portion of her life. The sophomore hits local beaches multiple times each week looking for ride the perfect wave for her, which she says is one that doesn’t disappear too quickly and is taller than her five-foot-four frame.

“The moment you are on it and doing pull turns, and the wave isn’t dying out, is perfect,” she said.  

Rhodes encourages everyone to try the sport.

“Have fun,” she said. “Don’t go on too big of a wave to begin with. You want to be comfortable. Try your hardest and don’t give up.”