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.
The other day, I was with a client and we were working on techniques and concepts in the Level 2 course while in the Ocean 1 session. I noticed him take a wave and then paddle back out to the main takeoff area. We waited next to each other for a bit, then he saw the next set starting to arrive and made a move deeper in the lineup, past a few surfers who had been waiting patiently and who had not dropped in on him during the last set.
He proceeded to paddle past them, position himself deeper than the waiting surfers, turn and went.
I immediately looked at the three surfers he backpaddled. They looked frustrated and upset, as they should have.
When my client returned to the lineup, I pulled him aside.
“Great wave. And great wave before that. Listen though, now that you have efficient and effective paddling, you need to be aware of that power and balance the use of it in the lineup.”
I felt like Uncle Ben in Spider-Man. “With great power comes great...
Edward Thorndike is one of the godfathers of motor learning. He lived in the late 1800s into the early to mid 1900s and studied a variety of different psychological topics.
From his research, I’ve used several key takeaways in adult learning, and have witnessed what I like to call the “learning click”. This is in reference to a client’s body and brain finally “clicking” on what we are working on.
I see the click in the body language and confidence of movement, and whenever I see it, I get this fire of joy deep in my belly. It feels like surfing my first wave all over again. It’s the ah-ha moment and I can visually see clients go through this often when we work on paddling technique together.
On our trip to Lakeside Surf last summer, I got to witness it with a surfer riding the wave. It wasn’t a paddling technique clicking, but rather a surf technique clicking. And it was crazy for me to witness that in the moment (actually I witnessed...
Was this a case of Technique, Fitness, or a combination of both?
Check out this video to learn more:
There are 4 main reasons why Jack Robinson came from behind and won this paddle battle against Leo Fioravanti at JBay.
I’ll break it down for you one by one.
Let’s start with Stroke Rate. First we need to understand that Speed is a function of Stroke Rate and Distance Per Stroke.
Measuring 1 minute of paddling during the stage in which Jack passed Leo, I measure he took 110 strokes while Leo took 102 strokes. This leads to an 8% advantage in Stroke Rate.
Assuming they both have a similar distance per stroke, you can now see the speed differential. However, I am also concluding that Jack had more effective propulsion, which would increase the Distance he travels with each stroke he takes.
Just a 10% improvement in distance per...
Lakeside Surf delivers again with a truly one-of-a-kind surf trip. Traveling inland, deep in the state of Washington, felt strange, as it has the last two times we've gone there to surf. We traveled with boards between four and a half and five and a half feet, with volumes 20-40% lower than most people ride. [see video at the end of the article]
But that's the thing. There's no need for length or volume when the wave provides you all the speed you want.
This environment gives the surfer the most unique coaching experience for rail surfing. The same wave, the same section, repeatable, without paddling or taking off.
Sounds too good to be true?
There's always a catch.
As we disclosed in the last Lakeside trip blog post - From a Down the Line to a Carving Surfer … in 3 Days - there is a bit of a learning curve before you can begin unlocking the wonders of rail surfing.
Of the wave pools Barry and I have visited, Lakeside has the steepest learning...
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...
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