Before we jump into the surf fitness tips, let’s quickly go through how the current association of surfer professionals defines the evaluation criteria. At least that’s what I think is current. Does anyone really know about the ASP?
1) Normally, five ASP judges rate each wave between zero and ten points.
2) Of these five points (per wave), the highest and lowest points are dropped.
3) The remaining three points (per wave) are divided by three to get a total wave value.
4) Higher point winners in each heat draw into the next rounds and knock out the surfers as they walk until only two surfers fight in the final. It’s a bit like a professional tennis Grand Slam competition.
In general, judges look for the following four points to evaluate each wave. So these points determine what you want to be part of your surf training protocols.
1) Performance & Speed
2) Rhythm or flow
3) Variety & Difficulty (From each maneuver in steep wave sections)
4) Speed and improvisation
So, here are some surf training tips that will benefit anyone who wants to paddle out and catch more waves, especially those of you who want to participate.
1) Train surfing for short periods of time with high intensity and practice specific movements you need or want to master. Do twenty to thirty minutes of intensive surfing followed by a fifteen-minute wind on the beach with some goal work, reflection and rehydration time. Repeat this three to four times. This is one of the fastest ways to quickly improve the fitness of surfing in competition, especially when the waves are pumping.
2) Know your strengths and weaknesses. When surfing it is always good to play your strengths, but many surfers forget to concentrate on building up their surfing weaknesses. How are your hindquarters, airplay, small surfing, big surfing, etc.? We all have preferences and strengths and we all have weaknesses. Allround surfers have a sense that they are improving and working on what they need to work on and you can do that.
3) Paddle fitness is the key to free surfing and competition, so every time you surf you use the first twenty to thirty minutes to work on speed and power paddling. Catch as many waves as you can and surf on each wave in your brain. Even take waves that seal you off or maybe take you where you don’t want to be (not advisable if the surf is heavy and huge). However, this training strategy on smaller days will quickly force you to leave the impact zone by training your cardiovascular system and developing speed and paddling power that will turn into better surf fitness. Just remember to keep your head and body still and focus on starting with your arms and having a high elbow with every stroke.
Obviously faster, more efficient paddlers mean getting back into position faster, giving you more time to choose waves and priority than free surfers or competitors.
4) Power, rhythm and flow; bring them into your DNA. Golf, martial arts, dancing, gymnastics for surfers, skateboarding, snowboarding can all help with your surf training and performance improvement. They’re all fun and easy to make and they all contribute quickly to your surfing. Many of these sports or disciplines also allow for innovations that also come into play when surfing.
4) Surfing is similar to golf. It’s about consistency. The more consistent you are with your performance, the more likely you are to achieve better results. If your surfing game is inconsistent, the judges know that and their subconscious mind clicks with “doubt” on every wave on which they judge you. So choose consistently good waves, surf all out and know that your highest score will be lost. If you think about it – getting a perfect score for a wave means that all judges have to get very high and constant scores all along the line.
5) Practice big moves in big sections, because that’s what scores very well. As you fall, there are more duck dives, more impact zones and more challenges to get back into position. Combine this with mental thinking about how you can improve on the next wave, all of which contributes to your surf fitness and makes you a better surfer.
6) When you’re surfing in the gym, do intense twenty- to thirty-minute sessions that simulate heat and create some confusion.