How do I approach surfing?

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  • I'm looking at making a modified space/surfing game based on the classic California Games. There were various versions but one of the most simple was the NES version:

    I'm having trouble getting my head round the basic player control and momentum.

    When isolated you can see he simply goes up and down. The background wave speeds up as his momentum increases.

    What would be the best way to control the player? Platform behaviour with gravity that enables when he 'jumps' at the top?

    Also how can I speed him up according to the angle of descent, making him turn faster and jump higher accordingly?

    I have a feeling Construct may have something more sophisticated to achieve this effect than was available at the time of the NES.

    If anyone can help me getting my head round the basic approach i'd be very grateful TIA

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