7 Small things you can do to improve your surfing
Let’s be honest, all surfers, no matter your ability, we all wanna shred. Whether you’re a complete beginner or the GOAT, Mr Kelly Slater, everyone wants to improve. Now there are a ton of things one can do to make yourself a better surfer, literally, hundreds, luckily, we’ve highlighted a couple of key points that will help you along the way. Always remember though, surfing is a journey and there are no overnight successes, it takes copious amounts of time and dedication but when it all comes together, nothing on earth feels better.
Ps: J-Bay is the perfect place to improve your surfing as the waves are long and easy to ride. Read about all the different spots you can surf in J-Bay here. (https://surflodgesouthafrica.co.za/jeffreys-bay-its-not-all-about-supertubes/ )
Watch surf movies.
You wanna be a surfer? You wanna shred? Best you immerse yourself in the subculture of surfing. Surfing is not something you do on holidays once maybe twice a year, it’s someone you are. You are a surfer. You need to begin to think like a surfer. how do you do that? You watch surf movies. Start off with something a bit more tasteful and documentary style like The Endless Summer II and Point Break and then slowly make your way to the more hardcore stuff like Momentum Generation or Kai Neville’s, Dear Suburbia.
There is a host of splendid surf movies for your viewing pleasure being uploaded to the world wide web on a daily basis, simply log onto Stabmag.com or follow the World Surf League for a video a day.
Ride alternate equipment.
It’s so easy to get stuck on your beloved thruster with its classic dimensions. And we understand, generally your classic surfboard is easiest to ride, paddles well and has the perfect dimensions and volume for you. But there’s something wonderful to be said about alternate equipment like fishes, singlefins, bonzers, etc. You can read more about these boards here: (https://lushpalm.com/surfboard/). People ride retro surf equipment because they do things differently, they feel different and they provide you with a contrasting sensation. But most importantly alternate surf equipment makes it easier to draw new lines. And when you draw new lines you’re essentially surfing differently. And once you’ve experienced the joys of alternate surf equipment you can work at incorporating that approach with your standard shortboard.
Wake up for the dawn patrol.
If you’re not a morning person, this might not be the thing you’re wanting to hear. And perhaps it’s more of a metaphor than anything else. But be committed and respectful of surfing. If the wind’s offshore and the surf pumping tomorrow, don’t consume copious amounts of alcohol. Becoming a good surfer takes an investment into today and there’s no easier investment than keeping those 6 beers and 3 tequila shots to 2 beers and no tequila shots. Good surf forecast = no party.
Dawn patrols are great because it coincides with their being fewer people in the lineup and thus you get more waves. More waves ridden, quicker you improve.
Buy a nurse.
In surfing there’s this great term for when you’re not surfing as hard a possible, for when you’re holding back on turns – it’s called ‘nursing it’. And it means you’re pussyfooting. Nobody wants to nurse their turns. You wanna wind that thing an uppercut it as hard as you can. That being said, buying a surfboard that acts as a nurse to you, there’s no shame in that. Let’s be honest, none of us are pro surfers and we will never be pro surfers, thus we need surfboards that will make our lives easier. We’re talking boards that have more volume so they paddle easier, boards that have less rocker so they hold speed through the flats and deliciously full rails so you don’t bog on your turns. Confer with your local shaper, he’ll be able to point you in the right direction.
The ocean works with a certain rhythm. A pattern. A beat if you will. And the rhythm changes at different spots around the world. Wonder why the best surfers are always on the best waves? they’ve figured out the ocean’s rhythm. If you watch guys like Mikey February surf, the ocean will be flat, they paddle 50m down the beach and suddenly there will be a wave there, then he’ll paddle 50m in the opposite direction – and guess what? Boom, there’s another wave! The best surfers understand the ocean’s rhythm and they tap into it. How long is it between sets, where do the set waves break, where do the medium-sized waves break, how it all changes with rising and falling tides? Before hopping in your wettie and darting out there like a hyena after a dying bull, take some time, watch the waves and fall into the rhythm of the ocean.
There’s a misconception in surfing that you should be an elastic band to be a good surfer. Untrue. And history hasn’t disagreed. Just look at Occy, Sunny Garcia, Wade Carmichael or Willian Cardoso and tell us we’re lying. That being said, there is value in being flexible. Especially when attempting a big juicy drop wallet or when the 6-foot wave you’re riding decides it doesn’t like you and attempts to transform you into a German pretzel; Forcing your heels to your ears. Then being malleable is extremely helpful. So dedicate time to stretching. You need not continuously listen to Ravi Shanker and break into the downward dog every five minutes, but stretch every now and then – that should do it.
Surf & keep fit.
Surf as much as you can, when it’s big, small, onshore, offshore, cold, hot – go surfing. Don’t be a fair-weather surfer. Especially if you want your surfing to be respected. Your mind acts as a hard drive, storing all your surf sessions, building knowledge and understanding. And over time you can use all that knowledge to your advantage in the surf. Also very important, keep fit. Whether that means working on your cardiovascular activities or if you’re landlocked and need to dedicate yourself to swimming lengths in a pool.
Ps: J-Bay is the perfect place to improve your surfing as the waves are long and easy to ride. Read about all the different spots you can surf in J-Bay here. Next wave is yours.