So here’s the thing, I am rubbish at surfing. I love it, am borderline obsessed with it, but I’m really not very good.
I’ve been trying to surf for around 16 years, it’s been an on and off thing, but I had my first lesson on a swell board 16 years ago. Over the last few years it’s been more on than off, and all I really want to do is get to a solid intermediate level.
Yep, surfing is hard
As anyone who’s ever tried to surf will know, it’s hard. I am not in any way naturally gifted at anything to do with surfing. Much as I love surfing and am hopelessly addicted to going in the sea and trying to improve, I’m also pretty dire at it and constantly paralysed by fear.
It took me over a year to stand up, many, many years to get out the back and now I’m at a place where I’m a long way from a beginner but not anywhere near intermediate either. Unless it’s tiny, I paddle out to sea when I see a set approach rather than trying to catch it!
Despite my lack of natural ability I was comforted by the Robert Greene’s book Mastery, which states;
“You don’t need inherited gifts, early talent or a high IQ to become a master. Just find your field or subject and follow the steps of the great masters before you”
I’m not personally friendly with any of the great masters of surfing unfortunately, however lately I’ve found that coaching has been the fastest route to get over my surfing ruts. After two holidays which included coaching, I finally feel like I’m making some forward progress with my surfing ability. It’s so much quicker when someone spots you’re doing something wrong and tells you, rather than finding everything out through trial and error.
Turns out I had picked up lots of bad habits like looking at my feet and using my knees to pop up.
Sadly I don’t have a coach every time I go surfing, but lately I’ve found these videos from Surf Simply really useful – they’ve helped me uncover yet more bad habits (I also had my hand in the wrong place) and are short enough to review just before you go in the water.