July 1, 2017 at 2:46 pm #552
Firstly hello and welcome to the first ever SurfLife blog! I’m glad you made it here.Today I wanted to write about the biggest ‘tip’, or lesson I’ve learnt whilst surfing. So here I go…
Months on end my surfing ability had barely been improving, I could catch a wave easily, get up eventually and hopefully go along the wave before it crashes down on me. Now this doesn’t seem that bad for someone who had only just started standing, but after a while, the novelty does wear off.
Now in comes the steep learning curve… It all began with an amazing, unforgettable holiday to the USA, more precisely Los Angeles (To start with). The plan was to rent a surfboard whilst out there, but upon going into a local surf shop it became clear to me it’d be a lot cheaper just to buy one of the used boards in there. After a bit of haggling, some free wax and a fin key were thrown in, I swapped over $70 for a 6’0” shortboard equipped with fins and a leash. Now this may seem a little big, but bearing in mind I’m 6’3” and NOT lanky, this was perfect for me.
I hadn’t been surfing in a couple of months prior to this holiday, purely because the waves on the south coast (of England) were still as non-existent as they always are during the summer months. So it took me a day or two just to get back into the swing of things and learn how to handle the new board. Not long though and back I was surfing pretty averagely but nevertheless enjoying myself as much as anyone else out in the line up, maybe even more as I’d never had the chance before to surf in just boardies! The waves were maybe 3-4ft, perfect at high tide but a little dodgy on the low tide.
After 4 days passed it was time to move on to the next destination, a renowned place to go surfing, Las Vegas… Yeah, I’m sure you can only imagine the looks we got driving through the desert with surfboards on the roof, even worse when carrying them through the hotel to our rooms! Luckily for the board it only had to stay out of the water for a couple of days before it was again time to hit the road.
Next stop San Diego, for me, the world home of surfing. I literally couldn’t have dreamt up a better place to be spending the last week of our trip with my family and friends! The sun was shining, waves rolling and bikinis everywhere! Fins and leash were re-attached, and fresh wax coated the board once more.
The 6am alarm went off, and the pace I was going at it seemed like I was in the water by 6:01! Now as I mentioned earlier I’d never surfed without a wetsuit, and pair that with the fact that when I used to stand up on the board the 3 stages were: 1) hold on 2) get knees on the board 3) finally stand up… it didn’t take long for my bare knees to start losing every layer covering them. And by day two of 6-hour days surfing, you could almost see the bone beneath the skin! Well at least it felt like that. I honestly don’t think they could’ve handled one more day!
In comes the biggest lesson/ tip I could ever give anyone about surfing. As soon as you feel the wave pick you up at your feet, you need to use that downward momentum to just go for it and stand straight up and in doing this it opens up a whole new world of surfing, with less time pressure and so much more freedom. Not to mention how grateful your knees will be! I cant boast this enough, once you’re able to pop straight up, you can start shredding the clean face of the wave with no white water to disturb your cut backs and rodeo flips 😉 And that’s where my surfing ability really took off; I was finally off my plateau and now climbing a new mountain of skill.
And so during the final week of trip USA, I was able to increase my wave count at least two fold, pick up some new moves on the wave and feel a lot more confident with the amazing surfers in the line up with me. This has now stuck with me forever, meaning I can catch larger, faster and steeper waves, without the risk of nose-diving whilst lying prone. This is what I think the difference is from being a beginner surfer moving up to intermediate.
Thank you to my friends and family for making this trip so epic, and I’m hoping it wont be too long before we return!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the first blog of mine, and maybe the beginners out there have even learnt something. Below are some snaps of my trip, which you can also find on instagram and twitter @SurfLifeUK . Once again thank you for reading, and I hope you’ll follow me on my journey around the world.
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