Avoiding Surfing Mistakes With Martin Dunn: Advanced Level
It may come as a surprise to us average surfers, but surf instruction plays an important role for advanced surfers who wish to improve their performance. According to Martin Dunn, founder of SurfCoach.com and surf instructor for the past 25 years, most advanced surfers have all the skills and fundamentals in their arsenal. They just need help putting it all together to excel in competition or really dial it up a notch during free surfs. SurfScience.com wanted to find out more from the Australian based surf coach and father of WCT youngster, Ben Dunn. Make sure you have read Martin's comments about common intermediate surfing mistakes before you proceed.
In a recent conversation with the elder Dunn, we were able to identify three key areas of concern for the advanced surfer: Mental focus, lack of experimentation, and taking only what the wave offers.
The Mental Game
Advanced surfers may have a ton of ability, but they may still struggle with the challenge of surfing their best on a daily basis. Dunn explained to us that the most important surf tip he can offer to top flight surfers is to focus on the mental aspect of their surfing by looking at their performance with an objective eye. Don’t be negative. If one day you’re ripping and the next day you’re making mistakes, then learn from those mistakes to get better. Dunn believes the more you dwell on mistakes the more mistakes you will make. Mental training is just as important as training your body.
Mix it Up!
Many advanced surfers are accustomed to putting on surfing displays in the water; they become resistant to trying new combinations of moves or new maneuvers due to the likelihood of making mistakes. Dunn encourages any advanced surfer to embrace mistakes and treat those as the golden ticket to improvement. Humans learn quicker through failure than through any other means. Don’t be satisfied to stay at a certain level. You must continually challenge your surfing.
Dunn notices that top surfers have a tendency to charge too much. As a professional instructor, he advises his students to “attack when you can, and make it when you have to”. This is especially important in competition, where consistent performance means everything. Obviously, this is not the time to experiment! He has seen performance suffer because a rider will try to fit highly skillful maneuvers on an uncooperative wave, resulting in poor showing and heat score. Dunn advises you to treat your Monday through Friday surfs as you would a heat: take good waves, ride the wave well from top to bottom, and finish the wave with a solid and successful maneuver. The surfer has the fundamentals; it just needs some fine tuning and good decision making.
The tips above are not easy to master, but they will help those with the skills who don’t yet have the full package. Mental preparedness and work ethic are huge factors.
“Champions aren’t normal people, Dunn says. “Champions do what other people find boring or too difficult.”