“Big waves aren’t measured in feet but in increments of fear.” So said the famous big wave surfer Buzzy Trent. You can’t argue with surfing tips like that.
No doubt you have seen some of the greatest surfers in the world on TV mastering amazing waves. Even if you cannot surf yourself, watching someone else is mesmerizing. One can only imagine the buzz, thrill and electric excitement of making it to shore in one piece.
Still, you don’t have to be surfing with the big boys to enjoy the sport. Like all sports, progress is incremental. That begs the question, how is your surfing progressing?
Have you reached a stall? Read on for 10 key surfing tips you need to know to advance.
1. Big Board Bigger Chance of Success
When you see small sleek boards being maneuvered with incredible skill and agility, is easy to think that this is the right board size. However, the smaller the board the more challenging it is for your balance and the less stable it is within the water.
On the other hand, bigger boards offer greater stability within the water. This is vital if you are to really develop the transition from lying or sitting on the board to actually standing up.
2. Work out Your Shoulders
It is no coincidence that surfers look broad with awesome shoulders. It is not the ‘surfing’ part that develops the shoulders but the paddling beforehand.
This is also the exhausting part of the sport. If you are already exhausted in the water, everything else that follows will be so much harder. That includes getting up into a standing position and the counter-balancing to maintain your position on the board.
You can follow a simple shoulder workout routine to develop strength and endurance. This will really help you in the water and make the most of the waves as they come along.
3. Choose the Right Beach
This has got nothing to do with the views, and availability of changing rooms and shower facilities. No, we are talking about choosing a beach where the size of the waves typically matches your ability.
If you are a beginner, you need to start small. It is no good going to the most awesome beach with enormous waves beyond your grasp that you do not stand a chance in surfing, or at least safely.
Far better to scope out the beaches in your area and the weather patterns, and then pick the beach and times that will typically produce the type of waves you need to practice on so as to advance.
4. Practice Your Transition on Land
Moving from a lying position into the standing position is the bridge between surfing advancement or remaining at the gates with the rest of the bodyboarders.
You will get your chance in the water, but know this, if you cannot move from lying to standing when you are on the beach, then you will never master it in the water. So take some time to practice on the beach first.
This is quite physical and tiring. You can train at home by doing push-ups and clapping your hands. This will help develop the strength and ‘spring’ that you will need in the key moment.
5. Keeping Moving Your Feet
A lot of thrust and drive will come from paddling your feet. Learn to use them and don’t just leave them there dangling. Your legs and feet are a vital part of your mobility in the water.
This will help give you the boost you need when you need it to catch that wave. Plus, using your feet like this will give you stability in the water. It takes work to develop this skill but its a basic one and necessary for you to succeed.
6. Use the Right Finger Spacing
The secret here is not to cup your hands like you would if you were swimming, with completely closed fingers. At the same time, you do not want your fingers widely spaced as this will allow to much water to pass through and you will lose some of your propulsion.
Instead, aim for a shallow gap between the fingers which will allow you to retain the propulsion from your hands and arm movement while at the same time give you more flexibility and control in the water.
7. Keep Warm
This is less to do with temperature and more to do with the length of time you can stay in the water. If you get cold then it will be really hard to concentrate, your muscles will tighten and the fun will start to dwindle.
Use a good quality wetsuit that matches the water and weather conditions. If you are serious about developing your skills then you need to consider owning several wet suits that can be used in a range of temperatures.
8. Wear a Hat
Not everyone is the same and so not everyone likes wearing a hat. However, if you are a starter, your body and head will likely be very cold. If you have a cold head it is hard staying in the water long enough to really develop your skills and endurance.
A hat will definitely help. Plus many hats have a small edge that acts as a sunblock. This is also very useful for beginners as you adjust to being in the water with a low sun in the morning possibly blinding you. The key to progress is to stay in the water and feel comfortable.
9. Don’t Give Up
This almost goes without saying. However, you cannot expect to master the art of riding mother nature without something of a battle. It will be challenging but stick with it.
Things may happen that could put you off like a broken surfboard. You have to accept that things like this will happen and be determined to keep going.
10. Watch Surfing Videos
The more you watch great surfers the more you will be inspired. The more inspired you are the more motivated you will be to get out there and do it.
Don’t Forget These Surfing Tips
Like all good advice, these surfing tips are only useful if you remember them and put them into practice. Do that and you will advance in this awesome sport.
Check out more helpful articles on sports and adventure on this site, such as a great article that will help you know what equipment you need for scuba diving.