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...
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...
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:
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...
My friends and I developed a Golden Water Time Rule when we first started surfing. It wasn’t formally discussed, or written down, but this simple golden rule of ours kept us happy and would guarantee we would get in the water each and every time we went to the beach.
I grew up about 35 minutes away from the closest beach, an hour away from the closest beginner break, and when I started surfing, I was too young to drive. At one point, I created a foamboard presentation (that’s what we used before computers) attempting to convince my mother why it was in her best interest to drive me and my friends to the beach. “You’d get a lot of reading time in, without interruption.” “Sun and relaxing!” (That one was a bit of a stretch in Northern California as the coastline is notoriously cold and overcast). “We’ll even pay for gas.” (another stretch – I’m not entirely sure we had enough money to...
@surf_coach posed the question "why is surfing addictive" on Instagram and it got me thinking. Why IS surfing so addictive? So I did what I always do when I get curious – I did some research.
I had to start with “what is addiction?” before I tried to reason what makes something addictive. Addiction is a heavy topic and has endless resources that send you to drug, alcohol, sex, and even shopping addiction. I didn’t think my surfing addiction was that bad…but drug and alcohol addicts don’t think they have it bad either.
There were numerous sources discussing the science behind addiction, such as what happens in the brain when the addiction makes a shortcut to the brain’s reward system. Then the brain makes sure it happens again and again, laying down memories of the quick sense of satisfaction, and then creating a conditioned response to certain stimuli....
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