Life As A Surfer
The Battle of the Weekend Warrior
If you're a weekend warrior, which most surfers are, surfing can be very frustrating. The love of the sport will leave you longing for the weekends in hopes to get lucky with some good surf. Checking Surfline.com's daily surf reports and the weekend forecast cuts into your production time at work.
Depending on where you live, you should be thankful when there's one nice swell that hits the weekend every month or two. If there are some decent weekend waves, surfers wake at the crack of dawn to make sure the conditions are good and hopefully to beat the crowd.
"I don't get many opportunities so I better make the most out of it," said Riley Stevenson, a weekend Trestles surfer. "I get to my favorite surf spot, and the line up is littered with surfers. Every Weekend Warrior is out there, not to mention all the kids that are typically in school at this time during the weekdays."
There aren't many choices other than to go out there and fight through it. Like everyone else, competing for your share of waves is a necessity. However, it's survival of the fittest as the best surfer will catch most of the waves.
Most of the time, I'm reluctantly pulling out of the waves for more experienced surfers who always seem to be at the perfect spot," Stevenson said. "If you're anything like me and you want to catch good waves, you have to be a better surfer just to have a fighting chance."
One of the few ways be a better surfer is to catch more waves. It's a catch-22. Many Weekend Warriors have to deal with the same frustration and find it seemingly impossible to get better as a surfer.
Surfers who didn't have the good fortune of learning to surf during their youth often are not advanced surfers. Not only do kids and teenagers pick up on surfing much faster, they have much more time including summers to work on it. Beginners just want to catch a wave and make the section. Intermediate surfers want to rip and pull of maneuvers. They're looking to hit the lip, do a cutback, get air or throw a bucket of water that resembles the cover of Surfer Magazine.
"The problem is I can never get any consistency," says the weekend surfer. "You have very limited time and only a few opportunities to catch a rippable wave. By the time you get adjusted to the waves and make any progress, you're waiting until next weekend to try it again."
Surfers who've been surfing for a few years and feel they are at a plateau should be happy to know that there are ways to break through this difficult barrier. Here are some advice on how to take your surfing skills to the next level for the weekend warriors:
Take a Surf Trip - All that hard work at the office has to pay off somehow. Reward yourself by taking a trip where you can spend several consecutive days or even weeks surfing your brains out while exploring exotic countries and cultures. There will definitely be opportunities to catch some of the best world class waves if you travel to destinations like Costa Rica, Indonesia, Fiji, Mexico and many others. It's not uncommon to find some of the longest left or right breaks in the world with no crowded lineups. Imagine waves you can surf for over a kilometer long with a crowd that is a tenth of what you get back home. All that wave time is bound to improve your skills and you'll have loads of opportunity to try new maneuvers.
Get a Coach - Good surf instructor or coaches teach more than just beginners. If you're an intermediate level surfer, there is still a lot you can learn from experts. No matter what skill level you're at, it helps to have a second eye to evaluate your surfing style and get pointers and suggestions to help you accelerate that long learning curve. Some surf instructors will even have a camera on the beaches filming you. After your sessions you can watch yourself surfing while they point out and common surfing mistakes you make and offer advice. They'll help you work on techniques and even coach you on advanced maneuvers. Surf instructors or coaches know the local breaks very well and they know what to expect on any given day. Another great benefit is they will take you to the best surf breaks for your skill level. A decent surf instructor will not take you out to a heaving heavy wave when you're just a beginner or an intermediate surfer. This way you can still push your limits and have a piece of mind knowing that you're surfing in a safe environment.
Surfers should do both. Take an extended surf trip and get a surf coach. After all, if you're going to spend quite a bit of money on your travels, you want to make the most of your precious time. Find a surf guide or a surf instructor to show you the best surf spots that are safe for you. The last thing you want is to end up in an emergency situation with no life guard or help in an unfamiliar country.
If you're not planning on taking a surf trip anytime soon, get a surf coach. It always helps to have an expert critique your surfing style even if it's just for the weekend. Hiring instructors and coaches is common in other sports such as golf. Why should surfing be any different?