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.
Sometimes, the best plan is a backup plan.
As surfers we learn to be adaptable. Tide changes, we adapt. Peak shifts, we notice. The goal is always the same - find that wave riding feeling.
This past month a few friends and I had planned a trip and those plans went to hell in a handbasket. So, we had to pivot, and it turned out to be one hell of a ride.
Mike, Andy, Kevin, Travis and myself had planned out a three day boat surfing trip at a location renowned for good water all day. The campsite was booked, the boat prepped, itinerary set. But then the Caldor fire in the Tahoe National Forest smoked us out.
The air quality forecast was unhealthy for the days we had planned to go. What to do then? Chance it, and hope the forecast was bunk? The wind forecast is notoriously inaccurate when there are wildfires.
With two from our group inbound via car and plane, we had to make a decision. Lucky for us, that dead wind that forecasted the poor air quality was perfect for a local surf...
The science behind repetitive practice is sound. We all understand this. But few of us implement it effectively.
It’s not just that practice makes perfect. It’s really more that perfect practice makes perfect.
A wonderful case study supporting this is my client, and (I’m honored to now say) friend, Tim. Tim was dedicated to improving his surfing at the end of last year. The progress he felt after his first boat session last August was enough for him to go “all in” by getting the Sunset 8-session Pass for the following season (2020). His plan was to commit to learning small technical changes that paid huge dividends in the ocean. And it worked. Big time.
This is Tim’s story, from his own mouth (picture timeline of his progression below):
“Man, where to start? First off, boat surfing every few weeks over the summer during COVID was a lifesaver. 50-minute drive...
Sometimes, you just have to mix it up with your surfing workout. This day was our second time out trying to dial in the right wake. While we were working on that, we took a few cracks at it.
By the end, my legs were toast! Funny how a few dozen bottom turns and off the tops will wear you out.
When we talk about building long term strength and muscle memory, it's all about repeating a motion (correctly) over an extended period of time until our brain skips a step. When learning something new, the brain takes two steps to get the body to react. Over time, through perfect repetition, it reduces that to one step.
This is most likely a human adaptation for survival - the brain is realizing that the things we do repetitively might be important so it tries to speed it up.
Unfortunately, with surfing, we get few chances to repeat a motion. That's why workouts like this, skateboarding, snowboarding, and other similar...
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