Mastering wave catching starts with efficient paddling, because if you can’t properly position yourself at the point where the force of the wave catches you, even the best stand up technique won’t get you very far. In this article, we will explore five essential keys that will allow you to always be in the optimal position and obtain the necessary power to initiate your stand-up successfully.

    1. Perfect Position on the Board:

The first step is to observe how your board floats and how you are positioned on it:

Your body should be located both longitudinally and transversally in the center of the table. Being too far forward will cause the tip to sink. Getting too far back will slow you down and make the lift difficult. Find your ideal position and remember it with the position of your hands on the board.

    1. Efficient Paddling Technique:

The rowing technique is similar to the front crawl in swimming and allows you to maintain a steady pace. We differentiate three key moments:

    1. Entry into the water: Throw the arm towards the nose of the board at a suitable angle so that the hand enters first, then the wrist, the forearm and finally the elbow and arm.
    2. Stroke: Keep your hand relaxed and let your wrist drop slightly downward. As you move forward, bend your elbow and push off the back of the board. It’s like you’re swimming in the water, but instead of sliding, you’re sliding your board!
    3. Getting out of the water: When it’s time to get out of the water, don’t forget to keep your elbow high. When removing your hand, do so at hip height. That way you’ll be ready for the next stroke!
    1. Relaxed in the rowing:

Avoid cupping your fingers when paddling, as this adds tension and drift. Keep your fingers loose and apart to avoid resistance from the water during the stroke.

    1. Balanced Paddling Pace:

The key is finding the right way to paddle and making the most of every push to go further. What you need is a smooth but steady stroke, so you’ll be making the most of your energy and avoiding tiring yourself out too quickly.

Imagine that you are on that board, in the middle of the waves, and you want to reach the perfect point to catch the best one. Instead of paddling like crazy, focus on that mechanic of the paddling. One stroke after another, keeping that steady pace. You will see how your board begins to advance efficiently!

Remember, it’s not about the number of strokes, it’s about the quality of each one.

    1. Select your waves:

Do not try to paddle in all the waves, choose the best ones and look for the exact point so that the energy of the wave takes you and you can surf it. You can paddle laterally, Ideal on beaches with several peaks to move and find the highest section. Or you can paddle explosively, powerfully to match the speed of the wave. Angle your wrist down more, lower your shoulders, and bring your weight forward to lift your tail off the board.

If your challenge is catching waves after a successful paddle to the peak, focus all your energy on the first part of the stroke for quick acceleration. Raise the front of your body for leverage, throw your hands forward, and pull hard.

If you want to learn to surf safely, do not hesitate to join us in Huanchaco, Peru. The Urcia Surf School team awaits you to take you out to sea.

Caballito tour

For thousands of years local fishermen have been using Caballitos de Totora (reed surfboard-like boats) to navigate the ocean and surf the waves. It’s how surfing in Peru started! During our Caballito tour, Santos Urcia – father of Juninho – will show you how a caballito is made and will explain about this tradition that is still very much alive today. Of course you will have plenty of opportunity to try riding one yourself and catch some fish! Afterwards we will have a traditional Peruvian Ceviche lunch where we will prepare the catch of the day together. The tour takes about half a day in total.

Caballito de totora tour by Urcia Surf School in Huanchaco


After some days of intense surfing a massage can pep you up again! Massages last 1 hour and take place at our masseurs. Let your masseur know which muscles you prefer to be treated.


Start or end your day with a relaxing yoga session! The sessions take 1 hour and take place at the beach. Your yoga instructor will adapt the exercises to your level.


Our hearty and healthy surfer breakfast includes coffee or tea, yogurt, cereals, fresh fruits, bread, cheese, ham and eggs. 

We cater for vegetarians, vegans and or alergies. Please indicate this in the comment area.

Breakfast at Urcia Surf House

Spanish Lessons

Combining surfing with learning Spanish
If besides surfing you are up for another challenge, we also offer Spanish lessons as an option for all our surf camp packages. It’s not uncommon for the friendly locals of Huanchaco to start a conversation or give you surf tips while waiting for the next set of waves. Thus you can directly put your new Spanish skills to practice. What better and more relaxed way of learning Spanish than doing so while surfing?

Spanish Lessons
For the Spanish lessons we work together with Manuel, a local spanish teacher with a lot of experience. In 1-hour lessons in small groups he will help build your confidence speaking and understanding Spanish, so that in no-time you will be able to chat with the locals, be it in the line-up or at the bar. The first Spanish lesson your current level will be assessed and based on that the focus for the rest of the course will be determined. At the end of every class you will receive some homework to continue learning in between classes at your own pace.