Lack of progression and fatigue leads to frustration which then leads to an unpleasant lineup. Nobody wants that. The first step in thwarting this downward spiral is to improve your entire surfing experience, from the pre-surf ritual, paddling out, deciding on a spot to surf, making adjustments, choosing the wave for you, riding with flow, kicking out, sharing with others, and finally exiting the water to talk story with others afterwards. At its root, to have more fun means to improve. It doesn't matter where you start in this journey of progression, from novice to pro, you can always improve and enjoy the experience of surfing just a little ... bit ... more.
A somewhat last minute strike mission to Waco Surf led to some tired bodies. Not so much in the arms and shoulders, but the entire body, because we were surfing a tremendous amount of waves.
Our hearty crew of five started with a few public sessions to get warmed up and wash off the air travel. After that we jumped into our first of three private sessions the next morning, calling up a wave profile that provided a little more time in between waves within each set.
This was the first test.
We still got a ton of waves, and I was a bit nervous about what was to come. I had to stop myself for a moment though – I was nervous about our group having too many waves (and hence waves going unridden)! What a problem to have.
After that first private, we felt we had a good plan with the wave profile we selected, especially since the next day we’ll be getting one more surfer in our group. Yes, we each had a ton of waves because even with that wave profile, there were three...
Another Surf Ranch Coaching trip done, and even more interesting results compiled. Once again, our group, with the pre-training we provided and the online course used, resulted in a group average 81% takeoff make rate at the priority takeoff areas. This is once again well above the average from trips without the pre-training (58%).
But that won’t be the point of this article as I’ve covered this twice now in the previous two trips (see Gaining An Advantage At Surf Ranch and Pre-Trip Surf Ranch Takeoff and Paddling Training Increases Probabilities of Making Waves).
Something new became unearthed. A question Barry and I had discussed a little on one of the podcast episodes (Skill Acquisition Methods, Benefits and Limitations) about learning curve with all of these new wave pools / training experiences.
One of the members of the recent trip to the Kelly Slater Surf Ranch had asked me if it was at all possible to not have two night sessions during the trip. Due to the...
I wasn’t expecting much for our first recon mission to Waco Surf. In fact, I was almost writing it off even before we arrived.
After running co-coaching trips to various locations, I’ve found that each trip exposes deficiencies and strengths in different surfers. I felt at that point, between Baja, Kelly Slater Surf Ranch, Indo, Costa Rica, Lakeside, and Boat Surfing behind my boat, I had all the bases covered. There were waves for beginners, intermediates, and advanced surfers. There were rights, lefts, tubes, rippable sections, slow sections. You could ride longboards, mid-lengths, and shortboards.
I didn’t think there was anything left to cover.
But Waco Surf and the Perfect Swell technology changed my mind.
The variety of waves and the repetition was what I was expecting. I hadn’t expected the number of coaching opportunities that it presented.
I invited a small group of close clients and...
As a consultant for WSL/KSWC to analyze why surfers were missing waves a few years ago, I always held onto the thought that with some proper training, surfers could improve their takeoff make rate. Our last co-coaching trip to the Surf Ranch (with CenteredSurfing's Barry Green - February 2022) showed evidence that was the case. I was curious to see what might happen on our next trip – would the make rate stay the same, go down, or what I hoped, go up?
With the provided Surfing Paddling Academy Takeoff and Paddling training conducted before surfers arrived at the Surf Ranch, they were as prepared as they could be (as long as they actually performed the exercises provided).
Observing many of the surfers during the trip, providing on-site, in the water coaching, I thought that the make rate might have gone down.
However, I was gleefully surprised when I compiled the data from the most recent trip.
To remind you of some of the data from the last trip as...
On my first trip to Indonesia, when I was 19 years old, I experienced a huge culture shock. I felt an immense gratitude for where and when I was born after watching one local washing clothes in a brown river, just downstream from another local relieving himself in the same river. I spent the remainder of the summer in a small town in Costa Rica which solidified the realization that I was a pretty darn lucky guy growing up where and when I did.
Since those trips, when I travel to another country to surf, I often times bring with me something to leave behind that could enhance the community in which I’m traveling. Generally, my donations are clothes (often times boardshorts) and/or fishing/spearfishing gear.
This isn’t an article about patting myself on the back, but rather a reminder to traveling surfers to remember that we are guests among the local community. As such guests, we should remember to tread lightly, and give back as much as we can at the time. Not only...
“I’ve never seen any scorpions here” was my first comment after arriving at camp the first day at nighttime. As soon as I left the common area, I saw my first one, slightly smaller than my palm, on the side of the walking trail as if to welcome me back to Baja (and to prove me wrong that they were in fact very present on the island).
On this trip we had colored fire, full moon viewing parties, ping pong addictions, massage guns, yoga sessions, lightning, magic; guitar, bongo and tambourine jam sessions; strange wake up calls, sombreros, sushi and uni, impromptu surf contests, cornhole, chess (and stories of how chess players were supposedly caught cheating), banana grams (“peel!”), monster kettles for coffee, coyotes stealing shoes, ring games for food, bonfires, a Mary Poppin’s bag of electronics; ospreys, whales, dolphins, pelicans, and a curious sea lion; and oh yeah, lots and lots of surfing (but no ATMs).
Looking back on the week of...
My wife isn’t a surfer. But as a loving spouse, she puts up with me and my surf addiction. On this particular day, she sat down to watch a few heats of the Tahiti Pro presented by Outerknown.
She had quite a few opinions on shark protection, helmets, scoring, celebrations, how to beat Kelly, the commentators, nicknames, coaching surfers, what the surfers talk about while waiting for waves, and more.
Video in the video: Copyright World Surf League
Barry turns to me and says, “who is this guy?!?”
The surfer in reference is a client of ours whose surfing did a complete transformation in the 3 days we visited Lakeside Surf in Washington for a co-coaching trip. Body movement coordination had changed, confidence increased, and the speed at which these things happened was incredibly fast.
The trip was simple. 3 days, 5 private sessions on the wave, video review, paddling review in the lake, Q&A, and any extra public sessions the group wanted to add on. Barry would cover riding the wave. I would cover paddling, and we’d all have a fun little surf trip.
Barry and I felt confident based on our own experience that this wave could help surfers progress their technique and get more riding time. But we weren’t expecting that it would move the needle as much as it did.
The surfers turned from down the line focused surfers to carving surfers, or surfers...
I don't teach surf etiquette. Or at least, I assume clients know surf etiquette when they work with me. But I've been surprised and despite focusing on paddling technique, I sometimes have to step in and provide some guidance on surf etiquette.
However, surf etiquette has many layers, and the more complex layers have traditionally been difficult to explain. Enter Brad Jacobson's recent video on surf "rules".
With a Bruce Brown-esq style narration and quippy movie clips embedded, Brad's videos are edited well and quite entertaining. This video explains surf etiquette the best I've seen in a long while. Filming mostly in Southern California, he has plenty of video showing poor etiquette examples as well as what to do to avoid breaking the "rules".
Here's a summary:
Can You Time Sets in the Ocean when you're waiting for waves?
Dr. David Sandwell, professor at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, proposed this question to his class.
Using some math, he concluded that yes, you can time sets. But will that be useful to us as surfers?
This video shows how you can use this information to increase your wavecount with the least amount of effort.
Enjoy and feel free to ask any questions:
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