Catchin' Waves was a surfing mini-game played from the surfboard (formerly the hut shack) located at the Cove. In this game, the player moves the cursor up and down to steer a penguin surfing along the wave. There are four game modes: Surf Lesson, Freestyle, Competition and Survival. Surf Lesson is a short surf with tips on how to surf. Freestyle mode is a normal surfing mode. In Competition mode, the player has to do as many tricks as possible in order to satisfy three judges, each of them likes a certain trick or move. In Survival Mode, the player has to surf through rough seas and avoid icebergs and sharks.
It was the first game in Club Penguin in which players could play with their puffle, although it was limited to red puffles.
Despite the Cove opening on May 24, 2007, Catchin' Waves was not playable for over two weeks later. This was done to coincide with the movie Surf's Up, which premiered the same week, as part of a small partnership Club Penguin had with Sony at the time.
Prior to the release of stamps, Competition and Survival modes could be played by non-members.
Prior to an update in November 2013, it was not possible to play with a red puffle and use a surfboard aside from the default one due to puffles taking up the hand item slot.
There are unused early versions of the judges in the game's .swf file. The sprites closely resemble the ones from Pizza Oven.
Red Puffles could not be brought to the Survival mode, as they would be scared. This attitude is not suitable to Red Puffles, as they are described in the Puffle Handbook as adventurous.
Players could bring a Red Puffle to the game, which could yield up to 3 points each time the player jumped.
In Freestyle, Survival and Surf Lesson, in the end when the water is going down, players could try to lose balance and fall, until they have no more boards left. They would be placed back a little, letting them earn more points.