Surfing line-up: know where to sit for waves | Photo: Quiksilver/Ducasse

Whether you're a free surfer or competitive wave ride, knowing how to position your surfboard in the line-up is critical. Learn how to get more and better waves.

All surfers are looking for the perfect wave of the day. Being in the right spot, at the right moment, may not be possible due to, for the example, the crowd factor.

Point breaks and reef breaks usually have an optimal and well-defined take-off zone. Beach breaks often present shifting line-up markers, due to constant alterations in the sandbars. Lining up is being in the right spot of the wave peak.

According to Jim Kempton's "Surfing The Manual: Advanced", there are four variables taken into consideration when you're picking the go-for-it square meter: peak observation, triangulation, fear factor and crowd.

Arriving at the beach, take your time and watch how waves are breaking. Register the small shifts in the peaks, confirm the tide times, and get a first idea of where you'll be paddling to. So, watch the waves carefully before hitting the line-up.

Triangulation is a basic exercise of calculating the coordinates and distance from the line-up to the beach. When in the take-off zone, you may fine-tune the wave peak by finding and recording reference points in your brain. Jetties, higher dunes, buildings, and other relevant landmarks.

Wave fear - and by no means cymophobia - obviously affects our line-up decisions. Bigger swells and steeper pyramid walls may keep you away from deeper take-off points. Get your confidence levels rising by taking harder take-offs step by step. From shoulder to vertical radness.

Last but not least, the crowd factor. Unfortunately, surf etiquette is not an universally accepted concept, so in a crowded line-up you'll always have to manage snaking, unacceptable drop ins, and the go-from-behind longboarders. Mark your favorite take-off zone, sit off to one side and, in the right moment, paddle for your spot.

A lined up surfer enjoys the best waves. Maintain a regular check and recheck routine of your peak coordinates, while waiting for the next set.