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.
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:
Have you ever paddled as hard as you can for a wave and felt like you weren’t really going anywhere? It’s a high likelihood that your paddle strokes slipped.
Slipping is like a car spinning it’s wheels. Uses a lot of energy, but doesn’t move you forward very far.
You still move forward, but only from one of the two types of propulsion you are able to tap into.
Check out this video that explains what slipping is and why it's so important to prevent it.
Feel free to reach out to schedule a Level 1 or Level 2 paddling technique course! Looking forward to hearing from you.
A few clients turned me on to Brad Gerlach’s Wave Ki. They were finding that their surfing felt like it was improving after embarking on Brad's surfing guidance so I wanted to check it out to see what it was like.
I must state that the following review is not influenced by any referral fee, affiliate payout, or similar. This is my own opinion of Brad’s program based on my experience. Brad and I have spoken on the phone about how important it is to spread the word of what we do with genuine passion. This was after I had begun my journey in Wave Ki and was captivated by the results I was getting.
I'm a little over a year in. This is my honest opinion and experience with Wave Ki.
What is Wave Ki?
Wave Ki is a land-based practice similar to movement practice one might experience in martial arts. Barry Green has talked about treating surfing as a practice – something to be consistently working on with...
I’ve luckily been to the Kelly Slater Surf Ranch ten times now, almost all of them as a coach or analyst. The first few were as a consultant for WSL/KSWC to analyze why surfers were missing waves. After studying the problem and providing clear solutions, the performance training plan in which my paddling training was going to be apart of was tabled. But those experiences sparked an idea.
What if I could provide takeoff and paddling training BEFORE surfers arrived at the Surf Ranch? Would that increase their chances of making waves?
Those questions lived in my brain the next few times I had been invited to the Surf Ranch as an assistant coach, an extra resource to the surfers on the trip. As I provided on-site training, I kept asking myself how effective would a pre-visit training course be and how could I measure it?
My next step was a bit obsessive. I began compiling data. When I was brought in by WSL, they had collected all of...
Like many of us, I have several boards in my quiver that I either don’t use anymore, or use only on occasion. Their yellow glow of degrading foam shines bright in my garage pleading to hit the salt water again.
I thought about selling them, but then put myself in the buyer’s shoes. I wouldn’t want this old, yellowing potato chip board.
And, I’m somewhat attached to them sentimentally, as I have gotten great waves on each one. My memory holds onto those moments, and won't let me get rid of the craft I used.
So what is a surfer to do?
While eyeing my kids on their devices, wasting the day away indoors on games that have no positive social benefits, I had an idea. An awful idea. I got a wonderful, awful idea.
Feeling my creative side growing, I proposed we give four of my surfboards a new look. They were, let’s say, kind of game for it.
My plan was that it would take one day to paint...
I’m a paddling coach. I don’t teach how to surf better on a wave. But I have seen immense improvement in my own surfing progression whenever I follow these two simple steps. When I lose these steps, usually when life gets in the way, it’s easy enough to follow these steps to get back on track.
So here they are – How to Surf Like a Pro in Two Simple Steps -
STEP 1 Spend more time surfing
Taj Burrow was quoted saying “the only different between me and you is that I’ve surfed more than you”.
Like Skateboarding, Snowboarding, Wakeboarding, heck riding a bike, Surfing is a “feel” sport. Your brain needs to make a connection for each movement in a variety of combinations. Surfing is much harder to make that connection because the canvas changes each time you ride a wave. Your brain has to work even harder than sports like skateboarding where you can make the same movement on the same...
This past month I was fortunate to be asked to coach at the Surf Ranch again, this time with Barry Green, head coach at Centered Surfing in Santa Cruz.
I am always in awe of the Kelly Slater Surf Ranch experience. In a place in which a surfer benefits with more waves when someone falls, no one is ever rooting for someone to fall. In fact, the majority of the behavior I see are surfers spreading aloha to each other.
When a surfer falls, but the next surfer can't go because of the timing, I don't often see that next surfer complain. Rather, I see that surfer cheer on the surfer that fell, propping them up rather than putting them down. I've even heard surfers call the next person down the line to go, and surfers giving away priority waves to other surfers.
Maybe it's the groups I've had the chance to go with, maybe it's the culture radiating from the surf guides and safety team, or maybe it's just luck, but I've seen very...
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