How to ‘level up’ in your surfing

October 10, 2019 2 min read

How to ‘level up’ in your surfing

We all surf for the love of riding waves and being able to commune with nature in such a unique and dynamic way.

At the same time, we’re all out there trying to be the best versions of ourselves (wave-riding wise, you understand), so improvement is great. Here a few tips to help you progress in your surfing:

Get your surfing on film
It’s the tried and tested method - from young groms to the most seasoned pros, the best way to improve is to see yourself doing it. True, it can be a little bit of a reality check, but you need to know what you look like in order to improve your technique. Even a smartphone clip is better than nothing, but with the technology available these days nearly all ‘cameras’ shoot video too. Get a friend or family member to film you and review it by yourself. No one else needs to see (or even know) about it.

Ride alternative equipment
We’re talking logs, hybrids, fishes, twinnies and fun softboards here. To progress on your high performance shortboard you need to learn how to read waves better. By riding alternative equipment, you will come to understand the different power pockets in waves and exactly how to exploit those. This also relates to fins. Fins can have a huge influence on the performance of your board. Switching out your fins (and changing up your fin configuration) can play a big role in how your board goes. This freedom allows to experiment and adapt your equipment to the conditions and help you improve.

Get out of your comfort zone
This might mean surfing a small beach break without a leash, or taking on a big, heavy slab. Or it could mean going to a spot where you will only get waves for your backhand, or where it is very hollow. The point is, to progress you need to push yourself out of where things are ‘easy’.

Watch good surfing
This is almost as important as watching your own surfing on video. In fact, the two kind of go hand-in-hand. It ranges from surfing with the best surfers at your local break (and analyzing just how they ride your local break) to watching Caio Ibelli compete on the WSL or the latest clip dropped by a hot free surfer. Watch how these surfers approach the waves, where they place their hands and feet and try to implement those in your own turns.

Bottom turn
Sounds so simple. If there were only one, this might even be the only tip. Legendary South African surf coach Graham Hynes always says that if you can do 10 good bottom turns on a wave, you will do 10 good top turns. Compress those legs, touch the wave face with your hands, eye the lip and release!

Most of all, remember to have fun!

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Photo Caption: Caio Ibelli ripping up J-Bay, South Africa. Photo credit: Craig Kolesky

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