I’m very much a “list” kind of person. After my surf lesson yesterday, I went home and wrote out all the vital key points that my coach told me to remember. I thought I’d share them here on my blog so other beginner (ahem future World Champion cough cough) surfers might find them helpful too.
1. Use the rip current to get out.
Australian waters have notorious rips and hundreds of people drown in them so it goes against everything we’ve been taught since learning to swim to go in a rip. Rip currents will only take you to the back of the waves. That’s it. Swim horizontally to the beach to get out of them if you’re caught in one. Do. Not. Panic.
2. Sit further back on the board.
Waiting for waves is the time to sit up and relax. I tend to sit in the middle of my board and since it’s “a bus” it makes it hard to spin it around to catch the waves. By sitting further back, the tail will sink and will make pivoting easier. I can practise this at home in the swimming pool.
3. Keep your spine straight when sitting on the board.
As a horse rider, this one should be easy to remember!
4. Support the board with my knees (while sitting).
It will even make turning easier.
5. Slide my board under me rather than trying to jump back on it.
I’m short. I’m in over my head in the water very quickly. By sliding my board under my legs I’ll save myself a lot of energy than trying to clamber on top of it.
6. Keep my toes touching the tail.
7. Paddle power comes from long reaches; aim for the nose of my board and dig in.
8. Paddle power is better than paddle speed.
Paddling quickly will get you there no faster if you’re not reaching enough!
9. Trust my board.
“It will not nosedive; the nose will go down but that’s what it’s supposed to do on an unbroken wave. So trust your board.” Lalalalalala NOSEDIVE. Hmm. This one will be tricky!
10. If my nose drops too much, push back on my knees.
11. Don’t do headchecks. Feel the wave.
You’ll become unbalanced by turning your head to check if the wave is coming.
12. Catch the wave before you ride the wave.
Vital advice which I’m glad that I seem to already do. I’m glad I do something right!
13. Don’t bend at the waist when standing up.
14. If you lose your balance, use your head. Put it over your front foot so your balance is centred again.
This was gold advice. Worked immediately. No more wobbling about for me!
15. When the wave slows down, step forward on the board with your front foot. Even following through with the back foot too if you really need some momentum.
16. Look to turn.
Pretty obvious. But it makes it a lot easier to predict where other surfers are going too. Where they’re looking is where they will go. (I’m trying to be a considerate kook.)
17. When tackling the impact zone, put both hands on the deck of the board, straighten elbows and jump high, pushing against the board with a knee (if you can).
This was extremely helpful too. Part of the intimidation of surfing is being assaulted by all that water crashing in your face. My board is non-duck-divable so I found this advice really helpful. Pushing your knee against the board as you jump also gives you more leverage to get higher so you don’t get pummelled in the face.
I hope some other people get some help from my bible.