One Thing You Can Do To Improve Your Surfing
Whether you're a novice, strong intermediate, or seasoned fixture at your local spot, there's one thing that you can do to significantly improve your surfing prowess.
CATCH. WAVES. EARLIER.
Imagine how much more confidence you would have if you were catching waves two strokes earlier, and getting to your feet before anyone else in the lineup.
Your focus, in that moment, should be on getting to your spot, catching the wave with confidence, and getting to your feet as early as physics will allow. The surfing equivalent of knowing your jumpshot is going in right from the moment it leaves your fingers.
There are two things from an equipment standpoint to help you achieve your moment of glory, and two things you can do internally to help seize the opportunity.
1. A little more foam: don't be afraid of a little more foam. Nothing can entirely replace length as it pertains to wave-catching, but some craftily placed volume can do wonders for your paddling game. We're not afraid to put a little extra foam under your feet, and you shouldn't be afraid of a little more foam to get the job done. I can't tell you how many traditionally shorter-board surfers have come into the shop looking to get a Pleasant Pheasant or Joy because they are "tired of the longboarders getting all the waves". Few things can up your wave count like a few more liters of foam.
2. Rocker profile: I wrote an article on surfboard rocker a couple years ago, specifically explaining the thought we put into our rocker profiles and how that often-overlooked aspect of surfboard design has significant implications in your surfing. Low, continuous rocker allows a board to glide across the surface of the water more efficiently leading to faster surfboards and easier paddling.
1. Dig deeper: if you head into a surf with the specific goal of catching waves as early as you can, and getting to your feet sooner, you are consciously addressing the issue head-on. When I am surfing poorly, I typically try to shift my mindset towards "I gotta dig deeper and catch these waves earlier if I am going to turn this session around." You'd be amazed at how often that works.
2. Breathe Deeply: This was advice given to me by a friend recently. Short, shallow breathing is detrimental especially when we are exerting ourselves physically. Breathe deeply and be ready when your opportunity to turn and go arrives. Especially when you have just paddled back out and duck-dived a few waves in a row, it's easy to be short on oxygen.
We design our surfboards with these aims in mind. Whether you want to hang-5 all the way down the beach or do three top-turns and a floater, select equipment that will keep your wave count high.