More often than not, female surfers are having to deal with crowds dominated by males. The notion of “it’s a mans world” is still a very present attitude in the water. Not only is surfing in a crowd tough work, but battling for waves against surfers that have little respect and belief in you is even harder. Below are some tips to increase your wave count in a crowded line up, no matter who you are surfing with.
Keep busy, real busy.
As nice as it is to think that mother nature wants the best for us and only us, the wave will not come rolling through exactly where we need it to be every time. Realistically, we need to be hunting for waves, which requires us to move around, hustle, and be strategic.
See if you can find gaps in the crowd, or notice patterns of where the waves seem to break with people missing them. Line yourself up with a point on land, study the line up, and keep moving to hold that position in the water.
Remain mentally strong.
Our society is still running with the notion that males are better physical performers than females. Now in some cases this may ring elements of truth, however it is not to say that you are going to be any less experienced than the man you are having a paddle battle against. Being a female surfer, you have just as much right as anybody out there to catch your fair share of waves.
This means that you don’t have to pull back when somebody else paddles for a wave if you have right of way. It means that you are allowed to sit at the front of line for the next bigger set. It means that you can handle going over the falls like Johnny did over there. Do not let societies expectations of you as a female define your attitude about yourself in the water.
Don’t be sheep.
Very often surfers group together in one particular spot. They assume that because everyone is surfing there, that they need to join the party too. If you can see that the inside has heaps of runners that nobody is on, go there! Do not think that you always have to be amongst the pack in order to get good waves. Take a second to watch the waves and you will be surprised how many sometimes actually go unridden.
Being fit gives you a huge advantage.
Typically speaking there are a lot of people out in the surf that are weekend warriors. Between their 9-5 job and their other commitments, they only get one chance a week to surf. Many people in the lineup will actually be a lot less fit than you think.
Having this knowledge in mind, building up your aerobic and anaerobic endurance will give you a huge advantage against other competitors in the water. If you are paddle fit, and have trained yourself to sustain explosive movements you will be able to last longer and remain on form whilst others tire and leave. More waves for you!
Keep trying, surfing in a crowd is something you have to get used to.
If you always avoid surfing in crowds you will never get used to the mentality that it requires. To surf in crowds you need to be confident that your ability matches the conditions. If it is triple overhead, crowded and you have never surfed in bigger waves before, you are probably not going to succeed very well. Start off in waves you are comfortable in and test out the above tips. Over time, surfing in a crowd just becomes another factor to include, rather than a daunting experience.
Surfing successfully in crowds is going to take some time to get used to. Getting your fair share of waves requires you to be fit, be aware of the dynamics of the crowd, and be confident in yourself, regardless of societies gender stereotypes. Becoming a wave ninja will take time, but once you have attained the skill, you will be able to surf in a larger variety of waves all around the world, and improve your surfing even further.