Making the transition from an average surfer to a great surfer can be a long and tedious process. It’s not something that happens overnight, as much as we wish that it was. Part of that progression is your surfing style. Some perceive style as nothing more than a trend. After all, not all top surfers do it with style. But style can be much more than that. It can individualize a surfer and separate them from others. Style is not something that is taught but something that comes with time. It is an indication of a surfer that knows what they are doing. Looking good on a wave goes hand in hand with knowing what to do with that wave. If you’re looking only to improve the style and not quality, you are looking at things from the wrong perspective. Improve your surfing, and you will improve your surfing style. Here are ten ways that you can do just that and start surfing smooth.
1. Start Small
In surfing, as with most other sports, less is more. We would all love nothing more than to be able to go to the beach, jump on our surfboard, and instantly pull off some of the great moves we have been watching others pull off. The reality is, it doesn’t happen that way, and if it does, well, good for you because it’s a rarity for a beginner or intermediate surfer.
Forcing things is only going to lead to frustration, and frustration is a deterrent. If we get frustrated doing something, we’re less likely to try doing it again. Those YouTube videos or T.V. shows you are watching are only showing you the one time that the surfer got it right, they’re not showing you the countless failed attempts before getting it right.
Don’t expect greatness overnight. Instead, start small and work your way up to that greatness.
2. Get Familiar with Different Surfboards
Picture a golfer trying to play 18 holes with just one club. Seems ridiculous, right? Of course, any sane golfer would never attempt to do that, and for a good reason. Each club is a tool designed to do a specific thing.
Like golf clubs, surfboards can be considered tools of the trade, each capable of doing something the others can’t. We know that it’s not feasible to own a different surfboard for every type of condition or situation but knowing those boards and understanding what they are best suited for means you have the right tool for the job. The wrong board under the wrong conditions is a sure-fire way to ruin both your quality and style.
3. Don’t Take Yourself So Seriously
Everyone knows that to be a great surfer takes a tremendous amount of dedication and commitment. But what good is all of that if you’re not having fun? It kind of defeats the purpose of surfing, doesn’t it?
We all love to set goals, and doing so can make us better surfers, but focusing too much on those goals and taking them too seriously can have disastrous effects. If you focus all of your attention on one thing and then continuously fail at that one thing (failure is bound to happen), then you are going to leave the water frustrated and angry to the point that you may not want to return.
Have fun. Don’t be so serious, and not only will your session be more enjoyable, but you will also probably find that reaching those goals comes much easier.
4. Never Be Too Proud
One of the best ways to not only learn new things but master them is to ask your fellow surfers. Don’t let pride stand in your way of asking them just how they were able to nail that big trick or how they can make surfing that gnarly wave look effortless. There’s nothing wrong with being proud of what you do, but don’t let that pride stand in your way.
5. Review the Game Tape
Ask any athlete or experienced surfer how to improve your game as a beginner, and most of them will give you the same answer: watch yourself fail. We get it, it’s not an easy thing to do. Who wants to watch themselves sucking over and over again? But athletes do it because it works.
Have a friend record your next surf session, then take the video and review it, over and over and over, finding everything you can find that you are doing wrong with your surfing skills. By doing this, you know what you have to improve on, and over time can do just that. You won’t be able to fix everything right away, but you will be able to fix it.
6. Hang with the Pros
When we say to hang with pros, we don’t mean trying to get into their circle and hang out with them. Instead, you can go to events in your area where the pros may be. You don’t have to surf with them. Just observe them. Like we mentioned before, videos, T.V. and movies cut out the bad and only show the good. By watching professional surfers in the flesh, you will be quick to notice they are human, and they’re not always perfect. Knowing that they mess things up just like everyone else is a huge confidence booster, and you can see exactly what they did to correct themselves.
7. Learn from the Waves
One of your greatest teachers is going to be the waves. Each wave you surf is different, and in turn, you will learn something with each one. While you may think that the wave you just kooked on was the same as the one that you just rode perfectly, there’s a strong chance that it wasn’t. There’s a reason it dumped you. Try and figure out what made it different and learn from it.
8. Surf with Someone Who Will Push You to Surf Better
As we grow as surfers, some of us tend to become complacent, happy with ourselves enough that we start to lose our drive. There’s nothing wrong with being content with what we do, but sometimes being too content causes us to stop pushing ourselves and growing as a surfer.
Find someone to surf with who can push you. Surfing with someone very close in ability is going to be a huge motivator. If you’re a beginner surfer, find another beginner or an intermediate surfer. You will find yourself trying to one-up each other, and that friendly competition is going to make both of you better surfers.
9. Feed off of that Competitiveness
While some see competitiveness as a downside, we see it as a strength and a tool in learning and improving. There’s a reason why competitive sports are so popular. Everyone is competitive to some degree. What separates some from others is losing. Some people are concerned about how they are going to be perceived when they lose. Those are the people who aren’t going to use it as a learning experience and aren’t going to grow because of it. On the other hand, if you are one of the people who aren’t afraid of losing, then you know what an incredible learning experience it can be and how beneficial it is to your growth as a surfer.
10. Believe in Yourself
Confidence is a huge factor in anything you do in life, and surfing is no exception. If you believe that you can do something, then, eventually, you will do it. Thinking that you can’t do it is a shortcut to failure. Believe in yourself, and know that anything is achievable, no matter how hard it may seem, and one day you are going to achieve everything you set out to do.