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.
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...
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...
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...
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’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...
I hate to say this, but unless you experience the Kelly Slater Surf Ranch yourself, it’s hard to imagine the spectrum of emotions, thoughts and feelings that drive you to share your experience with everyone you meet. I’ve coached there five times now, and have had the opportunity to surf it twice, and can attest that there is something special about the experience.
The night before you get to surf the wave for the first time, your heart pounds faster than a drum roll. You then attempt to calm it through a variety of breathing and meditation techniques. The effect is negligible before you begin again to imagine yourself blowing the wave, or not making the barrel, or not being able to catch it, and your heart rate goes up again. And this is all the night before you arrive.
Upon arrival, with little to no deep sleep, the roller coaster begins again with your heart rate as you try your hardest to understand where you’re supposed to sit in the basin, how to decipher...
An interesting question was asked recently. How do I judge skill level for surfers. It was mostly interesting because I don’t think I’m qualified to judge anyone’s surfing ability. And the more I thought about it, I judge my own surfing a little differently than one might think. Check out this video on how I judge my own surfing skill level, and also to learn a sneaky side-effect of looking at your skill level from this perspective (you actually progress your surfing faster this way).
Getting barreled is an intimidating act. Just the fact that you're in a barreling wave situation can be daunting, given that this happens in shallow water with hefty swell and power. Tucking into that raw energy takes a bit of getting used to.
Most people say, "you just need to pull in a lot to get used to it." Good advice. But here are three more tips to help you enjoy the barrel - to actually have fun in the barrel. These techniques are meant to help you take your mind off of the technicality required, or the fear of the minutia.
The best part of it is that these techniques you can practice on a regular, non-barreling wave so that when you get in a wave that begins to barrel, your body will already know what to do.
So go ahead and watch to see just how simple this can be:
As always, I'm only an email or phone call away if you have any questions. I'd love to hear how it goes for you.
See you in the...
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...
"One such surf technique lesson I’d learned from Clayton made such a profound impact on my surfing, I not only felt it behind the boat, but immediately upon continuing that practice in the ocean. I had struggled with this for ages. Sometimes I would have flashes of brilliance, but I wouldn’t know why. As I explained this frustration with him, I could see he was ready with an answer. And the answer that came out surprised me like no other. "
In July and August of 2018, I traveled with my family to Australia. The idea was to conduct my Level 1 Paddling Workshops to the many surfers on my email list that hadn’t had a chance to visit me in Northern California. It was a lofty endeavor. Eight total workshops, two different locations, almost four weeks with two kids under 10.
It took months of preparation contacting various venues to see if they had the set up I needed to conduct the Workshops, looking at...
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