Being able to set a tangible and achievable goal for yourself when you go out for a surf is a really productive thing to do. For level 3 surfers [?] it is often easy to fall into the trap of judging your surf by the length of your longest ride. This is a mistake for two reasons. One is that the surf that day may not offer any long rides, so you’ll just get frustrated. The other reason is that by focusing on length of ride it means you’re not going to be attempting any new maneuvers and it’s by practicing new maneuvers that you’ll improve faster, enjoy surfing more and ultimately be able to surf waves much further. Oh the sweet, sweet irony.
A great goal for level 3 surfers is to see how may times in a session you can get a broken, or breaking, part of the wave underneath your front foot.
…as demonstrated by two of the Surf Simply coaches, Martin (above on an 8’2″ NSP) and Jack (below on one of our new 6’8″ Pumpkin Seeds).
To begin with you will find that the white water will be breaking on top of your board and you’ll feel the water surge around you front foot and ankle. This means that you need to turn your board much more so that the nose of your board is pointing at the breaking, or broken, section of wave, when you hit it.
As a level 3 surfer you’ll know how to turn, but this exercise will tell you where to turn to. You will know when you get it right because you’ll feel the energy transfered from the wave to your board (that’s actual energy, not metaphysical hippy energy). It will feel as if someone has pushed upwards on the board from underneath. To begin with you’ll fall with surprise but, if you follow the Surf Simply blog or podcasts, you’ll learn how to turn as you feel that push from beneath, and a whole new world of fun will open up before you! SPOILER ALERT: make sure that your front foot is nice and square on the middle of the board or your board will flip over when the water hits the bottom of it (and yes, it may just get you right where the sun don’t shine), so get that functional stance right first.
Not only is this the basis of almost every major maneuver from roundhouse cut backs, to top turns, white water climbs and floaters but more importantly, it makes surfing in messy, onshore surf as fun as surfing in clean, perfect waves because you’re constantly being presented with ‘targets.’ So why not go out and have fun when everyone else is complaining about the conditions.
My heart went out to Yadin Nicol in the final against Kelly Slater yesterday. Yadin, who is an extraordinary surfer, was waiting for the bigger set waves and when they came, they closed out. He was also too far out to catch the smaller pealing waves too. I’m sure we can all sympathize. It’s nice to know that that happens to the best surfer’s in the world too.
When we do judging lessons at the Surf Simply, I always enjoy the the inevitable discussion about weather it’s good to objectify surfing in the way that contests require us to do. Examples of heats like this one are often cited. I try to instill the rather controversial idea that by surfing to the contest criteria you will improve faster as a surfer, and hence enjoy surfing more throughout you life. On the flip side professional ‘free surfers’ carve out a living by getting shot for magazines and videos. As someone who will never be in a contest or a magazine, which approach do you think will lead you to a more rewarding experience of the sport?
So let’s take a look at Yadin and Kelly heat. A great surfer doesn’t get any (decent) waves, so he loses. Is that symptomatic of a problem with contest surfing. At a first glance you could be forgiven for thinking that for Kelly, or anyone, to win a heat this way is ‘not really what surfing’s all about.’ Actually if you think about it for a moment, the only reason that Yadin was waiting for the bigger waves was because Kelly opened with an 8.5. So Yadin knew he needed to wait for a wave with a scoring potential of more than that. So it really was Kelly’s surfing that won the heat, as opposed to a problem with the structure of contest surfing.
So keep going out there focusing on surfing to the key aspects of the judging criteria, i.e. committed, critical, powerful and fast maneuvers performed with flow, and try to avoid worrying about length of ride or style. If you do that then the long, stylish rides will look after themselves as you complete your cutbacks and floaters with greater consistency.
A building project in Costa Rica can be a bit like giving birth. Exhausting, it seems to take forever, you swear you’ll never do it again but when it’s finished, all the bad stuff melts away and you’re stoked with what you’ve ended up with.
The latest part of the Surf Simply resort has finally come into this world and we couldn’t be more pleased. The new space, which we built behind the pool side lounge, has a 55″ TV for video analysis lessons in wonderfully excruciating HD. The full length wall mirrors are perfect for body position and stance work both for surfing and in yoga. The room also has our new media room attached to it where, each week we lovingly cut together our guests best waves.
So the world tour is about to kick off again in Australia, with the new formats properly established, an extra event added and some hot new talent on the scene, this could be one fantastic year of competitive surfing. On top of all that, the great thing about the contests these days, is that they’re all broadcast live over the internet. A few years ago you had to wait a couple of months before the surf magazines would run a report, now you can watch the action go down, wave-by-wave, and you get to see all the tactics and drama that can go down in a heat. Check the ASPWorldTour.com for the tour schedule and links to the live broadcasts, and if you want to make the action even more exciting, join us in playing Fantasy Surfer.
Kelly on his way to his monumental 10th world title last year but will he be back for more?
Just like most sports these days, surfing has it’s own “Fantasy” league, where you can create your own super team of surfers, and gain points based on how well the real surfers do in each event. It’s free (the best word in gambling) and pretty easy to play. Sign up and you’ll be given 2 teams, one men’s and one women’s, and lots of imaginary money to draft your surfers. There’s an imposed salary cap on each team, so you have to be quite selective with who you pick, as trying to budget in 8 surfers can be quite tricky (I always ended up fielding an under-strength team). You can swap your surfers around as much as you like between events in order to fine tune your talent to each location, and the better they finish, the more points you earn; and what to points mean?….. Actually on that note, if your team comes out on top of everyone at the end of the season you stand in line for a pretty sick trip for 2 to Indonesia. The best part of it though is that it makes watching the contest great fun, as you end up really rooting for your team members. But most importantly, it’s all about the bragging rights over your buddies, and to that end we’ve made a “Club House” basically a page where you can see all of our teams, those of anyone who joins us and how we score against each other. The club is called “Surf Simply” and you can find it in the “Clubs” page on the Fantasy Surfer website. Maybe we’ll even throw out a little prize of our own for the best team in our club.
Last year Sam was the best among us, and at one point he was in the world top 20. His top tips were to study the form (the ASP has the results for each contest for the last 10 years on it’s site), trust the locals at each spot, and then check the heat sheets as soon as they’re up on the contest site, in order to make sure your own team aren’t going to knock each other out.
Enjoy the contest season, and hopefully we’ll see you in our club house before the season gets underway next weekend!
by Harry Knight
Jordanna was taking a break from her job as a paediatric nurse in Toronto and although she’d never surfed before, as a former water polo player she was pretty comfortable taking a few dunkings from the waves.
We’ve had couple of weeks of overhead surf, so when we paddled out and it was only waist high everyone was well inside there recently stretched comfort zones and having a lot of fun. Marilyn got some of her best waves of the trip and Lulu was on fire, and as usual demonstrating that age is no obstacle.