FIVE fun ways to improve your surfing this Summer!
So in my part of the world we are quickly approaching my favorite time of year…SUMMER! Where I live, on the East Coast of Australia, the waves are actually more consistent in Winter… But seriously, there’s just something exciting in the air as Summer approaches. The days are longer, the water is warmer and its a perfect time to take your surfing to the next level!
Something you may not know about me is that I grew up surfing from a young age and was even honoured to represent Australia back in the day as an eighteen year old. (Although after baby number two and ten months out of the water I feel like I am currently re-discovering how to surf all over again!) For my last job I was also trained as a surf instructor. Surfing and introducing others to surfing is one of my biggest passions alongside photography!
So for this Blog I wanted to share FIVE fun tips on how you can improve your surfing this Summer!!
Get out there!
Of course this sounds obvious, but I hear so many people saying how much they wish they knew how to surf and the best way to start…is to start! Get a second hand board and give it a go with a friend who surfs, or book that first lesson at your local surf school. I’ve worked at a local surf school and believe me, the instructors are stoked to share their passion with people of all ages and experience levels. So even if it is out of your comfort zone, I encourage you to go ahead and give it a go! Even as little as one session can help you get the basic skills and confidence to start your life of surfing.
If you already know how to surf, then grab some friends and get out there as much as you can this Summer. Every session helps you to grow into a more confident surfer and is such a great way to cool off, get fit and have fun!
Get the right board for you.
This one is important. If you are learning from scratch, I suggest a foam board that is in the 7-9 foot range. This way you have plenty of volume to help you balance while paddling and riding the wave and the soft top keeps you and others safe.
If you’re past the soft top stage, I’d suggest going to a mini mal in the 6-8 foot range. This kind of board is easy to throw in the car, carry around and manovour in the line up, yet it will still have enough volume to help you paddle, get into waves and ‘pop up’ to your feet quite easily.
You may be happy with the mini mal forever, they are such a fun board…however you may want to take your surfing to the next level and for this I’d recommend moving onto a twin fin! Twin fins look rad, encourage great style, are more manoverable again and yet still are quite buoyant.
Finally, if you want to start doing more progressive surfing, you can move to a short board! I love surfing all types of boards, but a short board will always be my favorite as it allows me to (try!) for bigger, more exciting turns! The best part about surfing is that when you start trying to do turns, it doesn’t matter how many times you fall, as its a soft landing and you can keep practising it over and over.
Get on a skateboard!
I grew up skateboarding and I really believe its the best way to improve your surfing (other than surfing). Skateboarding improves your leg strength, your co-ordination and teaches you how to generate speed in a way that transfers really well onto a surfboard. Next time you get on a skateboard have a go at ‘tick-tacking” along a smooth surface. This is basically swinging the front end of your board from right to left to gain momentum like a pendulum. Repeating this motion generates forward momentum and speed. I find this motion great as a stepping stone to learning how to generate speed on a wave!
Practice your pop-up!
Whenever you get a chance at home, practice your pop-up surfing motion by laying on your belly and placing your hands on the floor next to your chest. Next, practice jumping up to your surfing position without going to your knees at all. The aim is to go straight from your belly to your feet. Practice this over and over and not only will you get a good work out, you’ll notice that you start getting to your feet a lot faster in the water too!
An extra tip - hold onto the rails of your board until your feet are firmly in their position to ride the wave, then let go. This gives you extra control and stability to make the take off.
So you know how to ride the wave now how do you turn your board?!
There are two things to think about when you want to start doing turns! The first is where you are looking. Wherever your eyes go, your board will follow! So when you want to start trying for your first top turn or cutback, the first thing you need to do is look in the direction you want your board to go. Naturally your board will follow! The other most important thing to consider when trying to manoeuvre your board, is where your hands are pointing. Along with your eyesight, your board will generally follow the direction of your hands! It may all feel a bit weird to begin with, but start experimenting with your line of vision and placement of hands next time you go for a surf and you’ll be turning in no time!
And there you have it! Five fun ways to improve your surfing this Summer and have a whole lot of fun in the process!