Improve your surfing with caution.

“Energy and mental work accelerate the achievement of goals much more than physical work alone. Physical is the most visible, but it is only the last step.”

All right, so you have a move you really have to struggle with, so check out the “How to” page in a surf magazine and yep there it is…stoked! They break up the technique for you in steps; “squat, touch water, stretch out into the lip, grab, recognize the landing” and boom, you made it. That’s all well, your amp to do it, you paddle out and try some, but no luck. You think some negative things about it and a belief gradually builds up in your head. “I can’t do airs or cuts or curves etc.” You’ll keep trying and try the train, but you have that limiting faith there and every time you fail it gets stronger. “I can’t do it”. You may think that I just need to work more on my technique, practice harder or break it down again, but if you really want to see a change, you must first overcome this negative belief that keeps you from improving.

Because surfing is so dynamic, it’s pretty difficult to think of a move as different levels of technique at the moment, it happens so fast anyway, and dealing with the technique often strengthens you and can really take away the fun of surfing.

I’m not saying that the advice is “how to” waste time or that you don’t have to think about technology at all, but I’ll suggest one or two processes that work on these limiting beliefs and complement the technical work.

The key to improving surfing is to find a balance between physical activity and energy work (visualization and faith work). If you just sit down and meditate or imagine yourself making new movements without really going out and surfing, I don’t think you’ll see much progress. Likewise, if you just practice the movement of each wave up to your blue face without worrying about what negativity is running through your thoughts. This kind of obsession won’t lead to quick results either. This is a holistic approach; you start with energy work and reach a state where you can surf with conviction, passion and trust. They imagine how you complete the train and build up a good feeling for it. You act then, the energy work paves the way, but to complete the learning you have to practice, here the transformation takes place, in the water. I really believe that this will speed up your learning curve and it will definitely make you have even more fun in the sea!

“When I was a kid…I still do it all the time…when I look at a wave and let it go through my head, I always imagined how I wanted to ride waves. I have always thought since my youth that I want to be able to surf waves the way I see waves in my head”.

Kelly Slater – 9 x World Champion

I have divided these ideas into two different areas: Overcoming bad surfing conditions and learning new movements.

Overcoming “bad” surfing – turning it around

Why do you surf? Whether for fun, to connect with nature or to relax, I’m sure we all have pretty similar reasons that revolve around a good feeling, a positive energy. But is that always the case? I’m sure some people can say yes to this question, but I’ve seen a lot of frustration out in the water and I know that many of us don’t always get the intended good feelings from our sessions. So, what causes these bad waves, what stands in the way of our fun? It could be because we don’t live up to our own performance expectations, it could be too full, or it could be because others surf better than us and we want to do what they do! We can simply accept these bad waves, or we can realize that our experience in the water, good or bad, has more to do with what goes through our heads out there than with what actually happens in the line up or on the waves.

I think it’s pretty ridiculous when I look back at some of the bad waves I’ve had. I was in tropical places with perfect waves, warm water, just friends and somehow I had no fun without noticing the beauty around me. It wasn’t that situation, it was all in my head. But that’s a good thing, if it were the situation that led to bad surfing, there would be nothing we could do about it, we would be powerless.

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