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  • Writer's pictureAllannah

Do You Feel Like You're In The Way When You Surf?

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

You don't have to feel like this, let's talk about line up intimidation.

Sharing a line up with friends at Watergate Bay / Photo Clare James

Do you find yourself saying ‘I'm not good enough to be out here, everyone is so confident and I'm not’ - this is something that we have all experienced and still do from time to time.

It's important to remember that surfing is for EVERYONE, whether you're a beginner or advanced surfer, the ocean itself doesn't discriminate based on skill level, age or background, it's a place where we go to have fun and experience joy.

So why do we feel like this sometimes when we go surfing?

Maybe your new to surfing, your experiencing a dip in ocean confidence or you haven't surfed for a while and you feel rusty, maybe there's things going on in our personal life or maybe we have hit a plateau in our surfing and you have been feeling frustrated lately, its all part of learning.

Here's some things we have learned along the way that help:

Surf Early - If you are starting to paddle out for the first time and the conditions are right for you, but your worried about controlling your board and ‘getting in the way’, avoid crowds by paddling out at first light when the line up is quieter, giving you space to fail and learn in a quiet environment.

Repeat: ‘Surfing is for everyone, I am a surfer, nobody owns the ocean, we all have a right to be here’ x 3

Commit To The Paddle Out - Its easy to paddle out half way, see all the people and to stop in the middle. But what your actually doing is putting yourself in the line of fire for when surfers catch their waves or when bigger waves arrive, meaning your in the impact zone. This can lead to collisions and unintentionally getting in the way, so commit to the paddle out and make your way out to the back. Its ok to paddle out and to go 'nope!' - but make sure you paddle back to the beach and you don't hang around for too long in the middle.

Flying down the line / Photo myeyeswontdry

Your Journey - Every ocean experience you have, good and bad builds character and resilience. Remember that every surfer you see out there was once a beginner too and have had their own challenges. Instead of feeling intimidated by them, view them as an inspiration, they would have spent countless hours in the sea and faced the same challenges. Use their presence as a motivation to push your own boundaries and improve your skills.

Double trouble! / Photo Myeyeswontdry

Make A Friend - Say ‘Hi’ to the person who you feel most intimidated by. This immediately breaks down barriers as you make a connection with that person and 9/10, they are really lovely and you end up having a nice chat in the water, which will make you feel more comfortable out there.

Ask For Advice - If you see a surfer in the water and you feel inspired by their style and technique, ask them for advice, not only is this really nice for the person to hear, but they will more than likely love to help you out, giving you some useful advice to try on your next couple of waves and you make a new friend! - Experienced surfers understand the challenges of learning as they were once beginner surfers themselves!

Sharing knowledge & supporting each other / Photo myeyeswontdry

Nobody Cares What You Look Like When You Surf - Everyone out there is their own main character in their story and they are actually probably wondering what their surfing looks like to you! - I've never been surfing or met another surfer that's been like ‘ oh wow, look at that person over there, they don't belong here’

Be Kind To Yourself - It's ok to paddle out, give it a go and to still not be feeling it, celebrate the small things and call it a day if it doesn't feel right, there will be more waves to surf another day and that's ok, it's better to call it then to keep pushing ourselves when we aren't comfortable out there - go treat yourself to some cake, a tasty pasty or a good book!


We hope this helps, lets support each other out there and celebrate the small steps!

See you out there!

Allannah :)


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