Once you've mastered paddling and standing, it's time to climb to the next level of waveriding. The real aim of any surfer is to angle along on the open face of the wave parallel with the beach, getting the longest possible ride with the greatest amount of speed. You should decide which direction (right or left) you will ride as you begin paddling for an oncoming wave. Understanding and predicting wave behavior will come with time, but how you approach your drop-in will depend on the type of wave you are riding. If you are surfing a mushy, sloping wave, then you may want to start angling to the right of left even while you paddle which is a more effective use of the wave's energy and helps you to stay ahead of the whitewater.

However, on a more critical/hollow wave, a surfer must follow his/her dropline to the flat trough of the wave in order to avoid digging a rail or nose and thus falling during the drop. The technique of turning the surfboard is relatively simple. While keeping a low centre of gravity with legs bent at the knees, lightly lean your weight in the direction you choose and towards the wave face. This will push the rail into the water and create a keel effect, cutting into the water and directing the board in the direction you choose. On a longboard the principle is the same but you will need to use the rear section of your board to turn, if you lean whilst too far forward the rail will dig and its end of ride.