How to Perfect Rock Jumps
Entering the surf through a rock jump is a very quick and direct way to get to the waves. It usually saves both energy and time, and often can allow instant access to the best part of the break. Rock jumps aren’t all butterflies and rainbows however…they can be dangerous resulting in broken bones, broken boards and shattered dignity. Below are some tips to ensure you and your board enter the surf, scratch free.
When scuttling across the rocks, keep low. This ensures a lower centre of gravity meaning you are much less likely to slip over. Have one arm out ready to grab onto rocks or other objects that will keep you stable, especially if climbing down.
Feel the Green Stuff
Test out which surfaces will have you head over heels, and which surfaces can support your weight as you move across them. Test out which seaweed or substance on the rock is the most slipperiest, and then look ahead to plan a route that remains slip free (if you can.)
Timing is Everything
Jump too early and you will get swept back into the rocks, jump too late and the wave will explode on you, shooting you backwards. Jump the very second the wave hits the rock beneath you and don’t look back.
Try Not to Hesitate
If you are going to jump, commit to this. It is very dangerous to go to the edge of the jump, begin to “um” and “ahh,” and abort mission. This will leave your back to the ocean, meaning if it crashes behind you, it will probably face slam you to the ground.
Ask and Watch the Locals
Does this jump only work at a certain tide? Is there a swell direction to avoid doing this on? Do they only jump on the bigger waves or the smaller waves? A locals knowledge is worth its weight in gold.
Jump Fins Up
If you are not sure about the depth of the water, jump with your fins up. Ensure you jump lightly and that your knees are bent. Sometimes jumping out like a starfish can help this. To be extra safe however, I would suggest not jumping at all if you are completely unaware of the depth.
If you have to stand there for 5 or 10 minutes until the sets die down then so be it. This will not ruin your surf. Making angsty decisions, resulting in broken fins, dings, torn wetsuits and bleeding limbs will. Chill, relax, wait and enjoy the view!
Though I make rock jumps sound very uninviting they can be very convenient. If you want to complete rock jumps safely however, it is necessary to have the confidence, experience and awareness to do them. Try going off rock jumps with a more experienced friend your first time round, as they can show you the ropes. Remember, the ocean is beautiful, but it is also relentless. Think before you jump, and enjoy your session.