THE SURFING JOURNEY
Words by Amy Mitchell | Image by Cory Scott
Surfing is hard! As a sport I’d have to say it must come near the top of the list for being the most difficult sport to get your head around. I’m sure people who have never tried it might disagree and maybe naturally talented powerhouses might shake their heads. But if we broke it down, it would look like this:
A lot of us aren’t lucky enough to live on the water’s edge, so travel can be a huge obstacle. Eager groms have to firstly find willing adults to drive them to the beach, and then master their own driving on windy and gravel roads just to get to their surfing destination.
Wetsuit, board, leg rope, tailpad, wax, boardbag. Figuring out what the right gear is can be mission impossible! Too many options, too much money!
What way should I be paddling? Who has right of way? What’s the surf etiquette? Who are the locals? This can be an extremely intimidating and pretty offputting concept.
Rips, currents, breaking waves, inside, outside. Where do we even start??
It’s not always as easy as it looks! How far up the board should I be when paddling? How do I stop grazing the water like a fairy and start powering along like a pro?
I don’t really need to say anything here except it really isn’t nearly as easy as the girls on surf videos make it look.
What waves should I catch? Are they going to close out and dump on my face, am I too deep, am I too far on the shoulder, what way is it going to break? Can I just stop right there and say that’s a heck of a lot of learning to be done and we haven’t even tried to surf yet…
Essentially this is the most important lesson to learn. The pop up, it comes naturally to some and not so naturally to others.
Balancing, changing direction, keeping your momentum… it may not look like much but it’s an accomplishment.
Turning – may seem like a simple concept but some people surf for years without being able to shred around corners and send huge sprays flying. It’s an art form. Then comes Cutbacks, laybacks, barrels, airs, air reverses, floaters, etc etc..
Surfing is a journey. It’s not always going to look like what you see on the highlights section of the WCT. There’s a lot to get your head around and a lot to master. So wherever you are with your own surfing take a moment to check through this list and see how much you’ve already accomplished and be proud of what you can do. They don’t always come in this order and you may not even realise you’ve mastered them… but next time you go for a surf, stop and think about how many of these lessons you’ve learnt so far and give yourself a pat on the back.
Courtney Conlogue | Image by Cory Scott