Remember those feelings when you started surfing? I don't know about you, but for me it was a concoction of fear, anxiety, and heaps of excitement. Even in waist-deep waters, those waves appeared colossal!
Now, as we embark on the journey of conquering bigger waves, those same emotions are right there with us. But here's the deal: the more we dive into it, we acclimatize, growing more resilient and advancing our skills.
It all hinges on your mental attitude and mindset and its something that every surfer, no matter ability feels.
One day, you'll find yourself about to drop into the largest wave you've ever paddled for. Here are some valuable tips to prepare you for that moment:
Looking down the line / Pc Myeyeswontdry
Assess The Conditions
Observe how many duck dives / turtle rolls other surfers are doing to get out to the backline, this will give you an idea of how easy or difficult the paddle out might be.
Watch a couple of sets roll in and take an average of how much time there is between the sets, so you know how much time you have before the next one arrives, giving you a window to paddle out.
To determine wave size, watch other surfers and note where the waves reach on their bodies. Ask yourself if they are at a similar skill level to you. Trust your intuition; if in doubt, it's okay to stay ashore for the day.
By gathering information before we surf, this can help to lower emotions and anxiety, its also ok to check it and to save it for another day.
Build Confidence As You Surf
Start by taking off on smaller waves to build confidence, I call this ‘Playing cat & mouse’ - Sit closer to the inside, then when you see a set, paddle out quickly to avoid it, when it's gone, paddle back in to catch smaller waves. Make sure you're not in the path of other surfers who are taking waves further out than you.
Once you have had a few waves and warmed up, start moving closer to the main peak or further out to start going for bigger waves.
It's all about confidence building, if you rush out to the back and sit there for 30 minutes without catching anything, it's easy for us to get into our heads and to talk ourselves out of catching anything, so try not to sit around for too long.
Look mum, no hands! / Pc Bella Bunce
Commit Or Eat S**t
That nagging voice of doubt can sometimes creep into our thoughts - 'You shouldn't be out here'.
This is when we must silence that voice and transform it into our personal cheerleader! - Encouraging us with a resounding 'Yes, you've got this, go, go, go!' Who knows? You might make it and be rewarded with a hit of adrenaline and endorphins and you're going to be scratching back out there for a bigger one!
Remember, hesitation can lead to missed opportunities and other surfers taking advantage of your uncertainty by snatching your waves, it can also be dangerous, especially if we go over the falls with our board.
Go Go Go! / Pc Bella Bunce
Hop Back On That Saddle!
Remember, not every wave you go for will be a success, but that's part of the journey.
If you're not falling, you're not pushing yourself hard enough to progress.
In my own surfing experience, I fall off around 80% of my waves because I constantly push my limits and try new things and its fun to fall!
It's easy to master the basics and surf safely, but if you aspire to improve, you must embrace the occasional wipeout.
Tell yourself to go for "just one more" wave after a bad wipeout, ensuring you leave the water without regrets. Even if things don't go as planned, you'll know you gave it another go - or you can just jump out, there's no pressure to stay in and force it.
So, are you ready to go for it? Lower that head, paddle with the heart of a lion, and go get those waves – because, you legend, you've absolutely got this!
See you out there!