After ten great months of coaching here in Nosara, we are getting ready to pack up the Surf Simply resort for the rainy season to do a bit of traveling…. to the South of France…. to check out the ASP World Tour! Wanna come?
The Surf Simply team will be stationing themselves in Hossegor, France where we are offering two weeks of coaching, and of course, ASP surfer stalking (Gem’s got a bit of thing for Dane Reynolds). Over the course of the week there will be ten surf lessons at different beaches and breaks along the Aquitaine coast. This particular trip will be geared towards level 2-4 surfers, which means lots of video coaching! Kerianne will be teaching a daily yoga classes to keep your muscles in tune and Gem will be making all the meals to keep you fueled.
We will be staying in a beautiful house on 700 square meters of land, just walking distance to the beach, Lake Hossegor, shops and the Quiksilver Pro France contest location. The waiting period for the contest runs through both weeks, which means regardless of the week you come, you stand an equally good chance of seeing some of the best surfers in the world up close, surfing the same waves which you are.
On the day off there will be options of spending the afternoon in San Sebastian, Spain, exploring the food, wine and culture or watching your favorite pro surfer tear it up at the contest in Hossegor. Other options available are golf, sailing or a cycling tour of the area.
We are almost booked for the first week, so send us an email if you’re interested. Hope to see you all in France!
We’re really proud to announce that we have finished the latest version of the Surf Simply ‘Tree Of Knowledge’ poster. Not only is there now a 12 foot high version of it up on the wall in our video analysis room but it’s also available to buy, as a 23″ X 35″ poster, at our our online store.
“The tree of what?” We have made a visual flow chart of all the key surf skills from level 1 to 4. It allows beginners to clearly see a road map telling them which skills need to be mastered first, what they will lead on to and, most importantly, why. For more experienced surfers, the poster tells you what you should be aiming for next and what gaps in your knowledge might need to be revisited in order for you to progress. Experienced surfers tend to frequently have the same gaps in their skill set so the poster has been designed to emphasize what we have learned, are the most common errors.
As far as I know there is nothing like this available anywhere else and, knowing the work which has gone into it, I can see why. The graphic is the result of years of tweaking our methodology so that different skills are tackled in a different order with different motivations being emphasized to the students. The data gathered has lead to this latest version of the “Tree Of Knowlegde” poster which is all yours for the bargain price of 40 bucks.
Following neatly on from our recent post on science in surfing, the enthusiastic gathering of data came to the world tour this week, when Quiksilver decided to fit GPS tracking devices inside all the surfer’s rash guards.
There were a few interesting observations to be made -
1. The distances being covered by the surfers were pretty huge. Joel Parkinson covered nearly 4km in 25 minutes. As a training/coaching tool, it would be great to be able to get in the water on a day when the surf is less than average and give yourself a target distance to cover.
2. The top speed achieved by Slater and Fanning was mid turn. Although they were carving (with their weight therefore at the back of the board) they were speeding up rather than slowing down. As anyone who has done a judging lesson with us will know, that’s the hallmark of surfing with flow in the critical part of the wave ( i.e. the board accelerates because of where on the wave you did the turn, rather than because you moved your weight forwards after completing the turn.)
3. It was interesting that Jeremy, the analyst, praised Joel for covering such a great distance then praised Kelly for doing exactly the opposite. What’s wrong with this picture? To know whose tactic was better we really need to know what distance Kelly would have covered had he been in Joel’s heat. In fact we would really need to know the distance Kelly would have covered had he surfed exactly the same waves, against the same people, holding the same scores, with the same time remaining. In other words we need to control the variables if we want to draw meaningful conclusions. That’s where the wave garden might become a great tool. With the data we do have, perhaps it would be more meaningful to know how far Kelly paddled as a ratio to how far he surfed and compare that to Joel.
So we still have a very long but brilliantly fascinating, road in front of us and an equally long list of coaching gadgets to buy for the Surf Simply Resort.
After the solid waves we had over New Years, Playa Guiones settled down to a more sensible size. Smaller waves means you can catch a lot more of them but more importantly, the temptation to ‘play it safe’ is not as strong. As soon as you stop being precious with your waves, then the learning curve speeds up quick. When you start prioritizing that one big maneuver (whether it’s a take off, a turn or a tube) over length of ride, you’ll find yourself improving a lot faster and having more fun as a result.
The good kind of wipeout is when you fall off because you are trying to doing something which you haven’t yet mastered. (Above: Ru takes off impossibly late in Nicaragua) The bad kind of falling off is when you don’t do anything incase it causes you to fall off (this can be dangerous as you may drown in your own irony). So the surfers improving the fastest will usually be the surfers falling off the most. Remember that next time you feel envious of someone who seems to ride every wave for miles.
We had great waves and an unusually fit groups of guests this week so everyone improved in leaps and bounds. Check out all the photos here. My favorite bit of this week’s movie though is the wipe montage which Laura cut together at the end.
Some things are a lot easier to explain with a white board and a TV, rather than when you’re down on the beach. So when we try to get across a foundational knowlegde etiqutte, meteorology, wave selection and contest judging among other things, we use our little jungle class room by the pool.
(Above & below) Harry, who has taken over the role of head coach at Surf Simply this season, playfully meanders around the subject of board design.
The idea of course is that all this carefully constructed chit chat leads to waves like the ones we saw ridden last week. We have to admit that Playa Guiones, here in Nosara, probably beats our rancho as the world’s best classroom.
(Above) Christie Mommsen returned this week. After staying with us a few weeks ago, Christie wrote a series of articulate blog posts about the ups and downs of her introduction to surfing. She returned and not only conquered some of her fears but managed to take off on the biggest wave of the week. Hat’s off to you Christie.
The trade winds really started to blow this week too. It made the waves beautiful and powerful (for their size). Level 3 surfers like Sean (above) worked on their carving turns out the back while the level 1 surfers had the friendly white water in which to perfect their functional stance (below).
All the while Laura (our resident photographer) worked away quietly in the background and took some beautiful shots. She also cut together the footage which the coaches had got during the week’s video analysis sessions into another epic little movie (after all who doesn’t love a good ol’ montage). Enjoy…