Learn to Catch Any Wave

How Nat Young catches an impossible wave in the closing minute of Round 5 in the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach contest - the three techniques he uses to catch the wave that eventually led him into the Finals

In the video below I analyze a wave Nat Young caught in the dying minute of Round 5 against Josh Kerr that propelled him into the next round and subsequently led him into his first World Tour Finals appearance.  I cover three key techniques Nat uses, how they relate to swimming, and how you can use them to improve your paddling.

Below the video I have posted swim sets and drills for you to practice a few of these techniques.  Enjoy.

I welcome comments and questions. Please share with your friends if you find it helpful.

See you in the water...


A warm up and warm down are required for each of these sets:

1. SWIM SET - purpose: to feel the difference between head up and head down freestyle

8x50, 0:20 rest, alternate half laps between head down and head up freestyle, 25 easy, 25 SPRINT.  Maintain the same pace for each SPRINT 25 in the set.

For example:

1st 50 = 25 easy (half head up, half head down), 25 SPRINT (half head up, half head down), rest 0:10

2nd 50 = 25 easy (half head down, half head up), 25 SPRINT (half head down, half head up), rest 0:10

Continue in this pattern for 8x50s

2. "SMELL YOUR ARMPIT" KICK AND BALANCE DRILL - purpose: to feel your balance in the water

8x25s, kick, get enough rest so that you only have to breath 2 to 3 times per lap, completed as follows:

Push off the wall with your left arm extended in front of you, your right arm arm to your side, body rotated so that your left arm is underwater and your right shoulder is out of the water.  Kick on your side.  Look at the bottom of the pool (like you are smelling your armpit).  Alternate sides at each lap.  Feel your balance in the water - push your chest down and bring your hips up.

To breath, rotate your head to the right and roll almost onto your back (like you are doing backstroke kick with one arm in front (see picture). The water line should be at your goggles. Stay here for a few breaths before you go back to having your face down:

3. "KICK AND DRIVE" DRILL - purpose: to feel the resistance of the water and work your legs, arms, and aerobic system

8x50s, 0:40 rest, SPRINT each one (not joking, SPRINT!!), completed the following way:

25 kick against a kickboard (with kickboard at 90 degrees, only 1-2 inches of the board is out of the water, arms locked straight), leave the board at that end of the pool and swim 25 head up freestyle back to where you started.  Alternate each 50 (i.e. 2nd 50 = 1st 25 head up free, 2nd 25 kick against a kickboard).  You can choose to kick freestyle against the kickboard or tread against the kickboard (using eggbeater kick or scissor kick) or you can alternate every 2 50s.

GOOD LUCK! Contact me with any questions.

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