by Michelle Michalak December 01, 2017

DALTON SMITH FROM NPI PRODUCTIONS TALKS ABOUT HOW TO BODYSURF AT REEF OR ROCK BREAK USING YOUR SLYDE HANDBOARD.


REEF/ROCK BREAKS HOW TO PADDLE OUT:

We're at the Radisson here in Satellite Beach and it's absolutely dumping behind me on the beach. We've got a big swell and it basically is gnarly as it gets here on the shore.  I'm actually predicting that the rock is gonna be buried for the most part. That's something you wanna keep in mind. If you go somewhere and you don't think there's rocks, it might change, the sand could move or vice versa.

When you show up here, the rocks are sticking up out of the water, but today I have a feeling when we get out there, a lot of it's gonna be buried. We're gonna have pretty much the same approach that we always do.

Get our fins, get our board, slowly walk down to the shore. We're gonna be a little bit more observant when we're paddling out. We gonna look to the north, look to the south. We're gonna see if we have any rocks sticking out.

PREPARATION FOR A REEF BREAK:

Look for boils, they are basically bubbles of air being released from underneath the rock. And it's a little bit confusing, because sometimes a big wave can barrel and capture air and let it up and it looks like a boil. But if you see it over and over in the same spot you got a rock right there. You need to be aware that, that's going to be something that you could potentially hit while you're out there. 


Let's say we've looked up and down the beach, we do or don't see rocks. If we do, let's say they're, you know, down the beach. We feel like, okay this is a good place to paddle out. We're gonna get our fins, slowly walk down to the shoreline and then we're making our way out, slow, take it easy, feel with your feet, step out and feel before you commit to a step.

The worst thing in the world is when you step and you follow through and there's a rock there and it knocks you down. You get hit by a wave. I'm telling you, go to Kookslams or Kook of the day on Instagram, you guys will see exactly what I'm talking about. You don't want to make those pages. 

At this point, let's say I'm out there. I'm like waist deep and the waves are breaking in front of me and I've got rocks underneath my feet. I'm gonna go slowly. I'm gonna pay attention to where the waves are breaking in relation where I'm at. You do not wanna be on a super shallow rock and have a wave break on you. 

TIMING THE WAVES:

You need to time it with the set. And that applies to anywhere, but here is really important. Watch the waves and wait for that break in the waves. When you've got an opening, go,  make it quick. But don't just dive in and take half of your chest off on the rocks.

You need to make sure that when you keep stepping, you're not gonna have a staircase in front of you. What I mean by that is it's not necessarily a flat rock all the way through. Sometimes there's a rock and you have to step up onto another rock and then up onto another rock. In some cases, you're neck deep, you take two steps forward and your ankle deep.  

You need to really play it by ear for each spot,  but more importantly you need to play it by ear for each swell and each session. Because when we get a big swell coming through, the sand is not gonna be the same. Nothing is the same out here,  and it changes every single swell.

There's places that you can surf or bodysurf and there are rocks, and it's not gonna be as dangerous. But there's places that you don't have any business bodysurfing. If you look and you see rocks sticking up out of the water and the wave is breaking right there, it's probably a horrible idea if you were to try to catch wave there.

Be aware, be smart and make the decisions on where you paddle out based on what you see. Show up at your reef break and it looks just out of control, there's rocks sticking up, go down to the beach break, find yourself somewhere that's a little bit safer.


With all that being said, reef breaks can be so fun. It can be a closer to shore like this where it dumps around the beach. Or it can break way outside, give you these beautiful a-frames, they could barrel, they could give you air sections. There's a million different ways that these waves break.

But you always have to remember that underneath the water you've got rock and reef and a lot of stuff that can severely injure you if you hit it. So be careful, be safe.

WATCH THE EPIC VERSION OF THIS SESSION BELOW:

Michelle Michalak
Michelle Michalak

Michelle's diploma reads BA Psychology with a minor in English, and her license plate reads #CaliforniaDreaming4Life. She begin her career in the NYC fashion industry working with fashion and internet pioneer, Bluefly.com However, due the constant "nagging" of her entrepreneurial spirit, her crush on surfing, and hardcore love for the ocean, she chosen to call San Diego home for the past 10 years. On the west coast she 's chased waves & enlightenment working alongside "Gurus" in the online marketing & personal development industries. It in May 2012 she found her true Zen & Stoke, and joined the Slyde Handboards Team.


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