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.
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...
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...
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.
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...
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...
Which provides more propulsion when paddling - a straight hand or a cupped hand?
In this Paddling Mythbusting episode, I share a simple experiment I conducted to determine whether a cupped hand or a straight hand provides more propulsive force.
Let me know if you have any questions.
Until then, I'll see you in the water!
Back again with another Paddling Mythbusting episode. Today, we’re going to investigate whether pushing water up at the end of the stroke is helpful or not.
I know, it definitely sounds and feels like it does something. But does it really? Let's find out...
Thank you so much for watching and I hope this helps.
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