In smaller waves like we have here on LI, it matters a lot less than in larger waves elsewhere. I figured that out after catching waves in just about any place in them.
With a large board that has a lot of flotation, the wave that is starting to break will take it with it.
So I'm simplifying my approach down to just paddling into the wave as fast as I can.
Even if I don't remain level on the board, the wave is still taking us with it and in. Even if I wipe out, I'm still headed in.
So the goal becomes remaining level, lined up and fast enough so that the board is stable to pop up on.
Next post I'll talk about how I finally made some progress with this.