Do you want to be a better surfer? For anyone who surfs, the answer to that question is obvious. No matter what level of surfing and how old one is, surfing involves a continuous striving to become more intimate with the wave, to get better and better at surfing. Surfing involves many challenges both mental and physical and the enjoyment of waves depends to a large degree on how capable we are of not only riding the wave, but also involves the seemingly mundane activities of just paddling out and catching the waves. Many skills are necessary to be a competent surfer- we have to know where to paddle out, how to deal with waves breaking in front of or on top of us, where to be in the lineup to best catch the wave, and how to maneuver our wave riding vehicle of choice down the line. And that's just for starters- these are a few of the things that surfers have to be good at to in order to get the maximum enjoyment out of a session. But being a surfer goes beyond fun and enjoyment- surfing can involve danger, too, especially as wave size increases, and being a good surfer means knowing what to do when situations get hairy.
Most people understand that the best surfers are out in the ocean every day, constantly experimenting and getting feedback from the ocean. The ocean, and ocean waves, have more to teach us than can be learned in a lifetime. As a teacher, the ocean is impartial and doesn't care how old we are, what color our skin is, or how much money we have. Becoming a better surfer means spending time in the ocean, period.
Besides going out as often as you can, which is the best way to get good at surfing, there's not much else you can do to be a better surfer, right? The reasoning goes that if there's no waves to be had for whatever reason, it's impossible to improve your surfing. This kind of thinking can leave you feeling pretty bummed when the surf's flat or when you find yourself far from the ocean. It can also lead to a vicious cycle where you paddle out, feeling out of shape, and find yourself struggling when you should be having fun.
Fortunately, this scenario is completely unnecessary (within reason, of course- it's perfectly natural to feel slightly unhinged after many weeks without surf). The truth is, there's tons that can be done even if you can't get in the water, things ranging from slightly helpful to things that can greatly improve your surf experiences and skills. So instead of wallowing in your misery over lack of surf, train your mind and body to be surf-ready for when the surf comes up again- which it will! By the time your feet hit the water, you will feel stronger, more confident, and more able to enjoy the challenges and magic that only a surfer knows. In future posts, we will get into the details of how to do this, so stay tuned and keep surfing!