4 lines of surfing
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Which Surfer Are You? The Four Lines of Surfing

🌊 Which Surfer Are You? Dive Into The Four Lines of Surfing! 🏄‍♂️ Ever wondered why some surfers just seem to glide effortlessly and rip through waves while others... well, don't?

 There’s a lot to be said for the line a surfer takes on a wave.


To the untrained eye, it might not look like much, but understanding how to tap into the wave’s energy can be the difference between average (at best) surfing and totally ripping.


Using our four lines concept, you can identify which type of surfer you are and start surfing with speed and power just like the pros. If you want to navigate the waves more efficiently, enhance your performance and enjoy your surfing more, it’s crucial you understand the four lines of surfing.

What is a “line”?


When we talk about the line in surfing, we’re referring to the path you take on a wave. This is crucial in generating both speed and power. By maximising the full potential of a wave’s energy, you’ll not only develop an effortless style but will have more fun every time you hit the water.

The four lines of surfing


Mastering the art of top-to-bottom surfing doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a progression that starts with absolute beginners and extends to the best surfers on the planet. You don’t have to be Filipe Teledo or Steph Gilmore to utilise the four lines concept; everyone can benefit from a deeper understanding of the line and how it relates to a wave’s energy.


Here are the four lines of surfing and their corresponding skill level:


Beginner – flat lines.


You’ve just started to catch unbroken waves and are learning to balance while standing up. You’re probably riding a high-volume board with low manoeuvrability.

Try our six-week beginner pathway program to get the fundamentals downpat.

Low-intermediate – small up and down movements.


You’ve got slightly better balance on your board and are trying to move up and down the wave.


Intermediate – figure eights.


You can generate enough speed to race out to the shoulder. You’re learning how to do cutbacks and bottom turns without getting too vertical.

Surf smart with 12 weeks of intermediate training sessions.


Advanced – top-to-bottom figure eights.


You’re harnessing the full potential of the wave, with lines extending from the bottom of the wave to the lip, allowing for more critical manoeuvres.  


What percentage of the wave are you surfing?

Think back to your last wave. How much of its surface did you actually use? Unless you’re a pro, you’re probably leaving money on the table when it comes to tapping into the full potential of the wave.


Once you understand the concept of the line and know where your skill level is at, it’s time to consider the percentage of the wave you’re surfing.


Why is this important?


Remember – maximising the wave’s energy is the key to unlocking speed and power. Therefore, the larger the area of the wave’s surface you use, the more energy you will have at your disposal for turns and manoeuvres.  


Just like the pro’s maximising wave energy


When you watch a professional surfer at the top of their game, they’re almost always using the entire wave surface to draw their lines. They gather power from the bottom of the wave and pick up speed from the top. This is where the beautiful top-to-bottom figure eight movement comes from, where they’re using almost 100% of the wave’s energy.

On the opposite end of the scale, a beginner is usually riding off the face into the flats without utilising the wave’s power. Because of the straight lines they take they’re probably only surfing around 5-10% of the wave. Intermediate surfers sit somewhere between the two, usually ranging from around 20-60%.


Breaking bad habits for optimal surfing


So, which surfer are you?


Hopefully by now you’ve identified your skill level and have a better understanding of the lines you can take on a wave. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced surfer, there’s always room to improve when it comes to harnessing the ocean’s power by adjusting your line.


The hardest part is breaking out of bad habits and stepping outside your comfort zone. This is where OMBE’s expert coaching team and amazing surfing community comes in. We’ve got a range of tips, techniques and courses to make sure your skills are always on the rise and you’re having fun doing it.


Check out our programs here. Or, if you’re ready to take your surfing to the next level, why not sign up for an OMBE membership for full access to our range of elite coaching resources? You’ll also become part of the OMBE community where you can connect and share ideas with like-minded surfers from all around the world.

Written by
Jeremy Dean
surf coaching