Credit: Heff / WSL
Feeling stuck in your surfing progression?
Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced surfer, it always feels good to improve and work on your skills. We have a few ways for you to do so. In surfing, we can hardly ever surf the same wave again, except in a wave pool of course. Or have the same weather and sea conditions. This makes it trickier to practice moves over and over and learn manoeuvres. There are great videos from surfers out there and we found an inspiring one from a CT surfer. Lakey Peterson recently released a video explaining three ways that can help you to improve your surfing.
Pro tips from Lakey Peterson
1. Video review
One of the most efficient ways to improve is to film yourself surfing. Some things may feel good or bad, but until you see them, it’s hard to adjust. Lakey Peterson recommends finding someone who can film you. This can be done with a cell phone, a handy cam, or a video camera. The quality doesn’t have to be perfect, as long as you can see what you’re doing on the wave. You can also try Surfline cameras. Some surfers get their footage from the cameras installed on the beach. After your session, transfer the footage to your computer or any other device you want to use. If you have a coach, sit down with them; if not, ask a friend who surfs well or your partner. You can watch the footage together and look for mistakes and moves you can improve. Lakey suggests focusing especially on the bottom turn and the top turn. Comparing a video to a surfer you look up to also works well. There’s an app called Onform video analysis for comparing clips.
From the video footage that you went through you can find your weaknesses. This might be a lack of strength, mobility or balance. Identifying your weaknesses make you able to create a training program for your needs. To work on your strength you can go to the gym to work with weights and body weight exercises. For mobility, stretching and yoga are great. And consider training methods such as gynastica natural and a pilates reformer. Putting your body into different shapes and moves helps to prevent injury and to continue surfing on a wave after a weird position. Your body then stabilises from muscle memory making you stay on the board instead of a wipe-out.
Another out-of-the-water training can be skateboarding. Many people who rip in the skate park are also great surfers. Skating works as aerial training or for carving and manoeuvres (carve skate).
Practising breath holds in a pool is also a training that uplifts your ability. Always do breath holds in a safe environment with at least one other person around. We will do an article on this soon.
The last tip is visualization. Our mind is a very powerful place. Without mind power, we don’t function at 100%. Lakey says in the video that before surfing, she goes through the steps of a maneuver and visualizes them about 10 times. This then helps her perform them better in the water. This works not only for physical skills but also for the mind. Fear can be a limiting factor. If you take a moment and put yourself in an uncomfortable situation, feel comfortable in it and work through it, it can have a positive effect on the real situation. Lakey for example works through surfing pipeline visually before paddling out. She says that before the heats, she also visualizes how she wants to surf the waves and goes through her heat strategy.
Thank you Lakey for making these kinds of videos that can help everyone to step up their surfing game.