Common surfing mistakes and how to avoid them
These 5 are the most common mistakes I've seen in my coaching career, but also the most critical mistakes, as they can cause your surfing to stall.
1. Not realizing the importance of laying on their board correctly.
It’s not as easy as it looks, and very often surfers overlook how important it is to find a position that’s comfortable for them, that allows them to paddle smoothly and efficiently over the water without having too much pressure on the tail (the back ) or the nose (the front) of the board. Laying in the right position on the surfboard also contributes to the success of catching waves.
The correct position to be laying in is what I like to call “your happy place”, and you can find this position by laying on your board as far forward as possible but without water splashing over the nose of the board when you paddle. If water splashes over the nose, just move back slightly on your board until you can paddle smoothly and efficiently.
2. Trying to progress to a smaller board too soon.
This is a challenged that I am presented regularly by people wanting to progress faster than their ability allows them to. The problem that you face when moving to a smaller board too quickly, is that you don’t learn how to control the board correctly and you haven’t learned the basic weight distribution that’s needed to be able to maneuver the board- and moving to a smaller board it’s only going to slow your progress down.
3. Not having the toes and the heels of both feet facing the rails of the surfboard.
When learning about the basic balance that’s needed to ride a wave, you soon realize how important your foot's position is on your surfboard. Having your feet in the correct position with your toes and heels facing the rails (the sides) of your board is going to increase your ability to balance and maintain stability while you surfing. This position is also known as the Sumo Surfer, and I explain it in detail inside lesson 1 of our digital course “Surfing Fundamentals”
4. Paddling at the wrong time.
We’ve all heard the expression “time is everything”. But it can’t be more appropriate when we talk about catching waves.
Catching waves isn’t just about paddling and standing on a wave. There is a mathematical equation that you have to work out in your head, but when you have the right information, and how a wave works have been explained to you, you’ve been explained when to paddle and where to paddle, catching waves becomes a lot easier.
We have a spotlight course on just this, where I go in detail and explain everything you need to know if you want to catch more waves.
5. Not putting enough pressure on the front foot when dropping in.
As learner surfers, we’re still trying to figure out the balance and weight distribution. One of the specific moments I’m talking about is when we get to our feet. As we stand up we tend to put all of our weight to the back go the board, forcing the nose to rise in the air. Once this happens, it’s very difficult to regain balance and control of the board. As we stand up, we need to keep pressure on our front foot, to try to counteract the nose of the board from lifting.
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