Foam climbing: a critical wave skill in surfing | Photo: Reed/ISA

Foam climbing is an essential skill in competitive and intermediate-to-advanced surfing. The "soup" is never the place to be, except if you're a beginner.

When you're caught in the white water, you're imprisoned. There's nothing to do in the flats; the wave face is where you want to be to progress and extend the ride.

Intermediate surfers usually struggle to climb the foam ball.

Two variables play into consideration when you need to pop over the whitewater to reach the next section - a powerful bottom turn and body technique.

Climbing Waves 101

Here's how to climb waves and reach another open wave face section faster:

  1. Build momentum by applying a good bottom turn, as it will give power and speed to get over the wave foam;
  2. As you target the white water, your surfboard should already be driving bottom flat, not on the rail;
  3. Then, prepare to use your upper body to pull you up, using your arms and shoulders to climb the whitewash;
  4. As you reach the unwanted foam, apply pressure on your back foot so that your surfboard handles the impact;
  5. Go for it with a low and balanced stance;
  6. Applying additional rear weight will bring up the nose of the board so that the whitewater gets channeled under the stick;
  7. Finally, release all foot weight over the board and eye the next pocket;

Basically, you want to project your body and surfboard forward while lift gliding over the foam ball.

A 60/40 weight back/front foot ratio will be enough.

Foam climbing is one of the most underrated maneuvers in surfing. If you are able to master it, your rides will definitely be longer and better.

Give it a go by training in waist-to-chest-high waves or right after a close-out.

Discover the best advanced surfing tips and techniques.

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