Surfing is a technically challenging sport. As surfers we are juggling a variety of factors. Not only do we have to master balance, speed, weight transfer, momentum and summation of our own forces, but we must adjust these factors depending on each and every wave. No surf is ever the same, and this is perhaps why we love surfing.
However, with these constantly changing variables it can sometimes be hard to figure out exactly where in our technique we are going wrong. Below are a list of some common technique flaws which prevent fluid surfing and progression in technique.
You stand too straight
I know you have probably heard this before but it is so important. When you stand too straight you immediately limit energy transfer and balance. You loose speed, you make it near impossible to complete your turns and you can look rigid and jerky.
Do yourself a favour and start off by getting lower on your bottom turns. Over time begin to work on compressing and extending when trying to create speed until lowering your centre of gravity becomes the norm.
You are too glued to your board
Though the thought of being stuck to your board sounds attractive, give me a second to explain. When you are surfing, your stance should change. Typically speaking when riding a shortboard the rule is this – your back foot should be in the centre of your fins, and you front foot should be around the middle of your board.
This needs to be changed however, depending on the manoeuvre you want to do.
For example, when completing a sharp turn it will help to have your back foot at the very rear of your board, yet when pumping for speed it is likely that both feet will be further up the board.
You are looking, in all the wrong places
If you are questioning why you are not going vertical enough or why you aren’t making the section there could be a number of reasons, but first have you checked to see where you are actually looking? “Of course I’m looking” you say, but by looking I mean intently and directly focusing your gaze. If you are wanting to go vertical for example, focus your gaze on the steepest part of the lip and keep it there. Be mindful of where it is you are really looking next surf.
You are not “flying like a bird”
When surfing, it is so important to keep our arms out and chest open, ready to approach the oncoming section. Especially when executing manoeuvres like cutbacks, and especially on our backhand. Facing your entire chest either down the line or back into the whitewater will make your turns sharper, faster and smoother as you are really ready to embrace the face of the wave (or the whitewater.)
You fail to make speed your top priority.
Surfing is just like riding a bike. Without speed on your bike, you become wobbly, you limit your turning ability and you loose flow. Without speed in surfing every turn becomes more difficult and style is lost instantly. Make speed your top priority on every wave if you want smooth and attractive surfing.
Overall, understanding where you may be going wrong is the first step to creating change for improved surfing
Above are common technical flaws that happen right through from intermediate to more advanced surfing. Often, we may be flawed in not just one area and that is ok. What is important is that we work on one aspect of our surfing at a time, rather than trying to change everything at once. Have a look into your own surfing and consider implementing a tip or two. I would love to hear how you go!