One of the fastest growing sports around the world, and for good reason, is surfing. Why? Simply, it is so much fun. One wave, one moment, during a session can give a euphoric feeling, and a memory that brings us back to the ocean for weeks to come. In this way, surfing is an addiction.
That’s not to say that everyone finds it easy, no, surfing is undeniably hard. Highs and lows, peaks and plateau’s (unintentionally rhymed that, but I’m gonna leave it in there) occur in every sport. In my opinion, none more than surfing… Ability, desire, confidence, all obviously have something to do with how good a surfer you can become. But, there are so many other contributing factors… Were you raised nearby the sea? Pushed into it early by parents? Are there quality waves close to home? For a lot of people living in England the answer to these questions is no. These unfortunate souls have to make the long treck down the m5 to get their fix… the weekend warriors.
Now for you guys, progression can be difficult to come by. Surfing is already tricky enough… needing time off work to travel to the beach is frustrating. That isn’t exactly helped by the consistency of waves here on the poorly positioned little old island of Britain. Most of the time, it’s not great. A couple of thousand miles south of here wouldn’t do us any harm at all, but we have to make do. So for the weekend warrior, it can fall upon sheer potluck as to whether you score good waves on your mini surf trip, or onshore dribble.
So we can’t rely on the ocean providing consistency… so what can we rely on? Our equipment, if that is, you know what’s going to help you. For beginner to intermediate surfers, who are really getting into surfing, the fastest way to improve is to get yourself a board. Surfing every other week on a different board every surf means too many variables are changing. Now, when looking at boards it’s really easy to look past your ability and focus on what the pros, and other surfers around you are riding.
Volume is your friend. A longer board, with width and thick rails is what you need to be looking at if you’re a beginner. This is fairly obvious, but where I see a lot of people going wrong is at the intermediate stage, looking to improve. For intermediates, it is really common to surf a board that has less volume in an attempt to get more maneuverability. Everyone would love to surf like one of their favourite surfers, but downsizing dramatically onto a board that a pro would surf, is not going to make you surf like them. It’s the equivalent of someone just passing their driving test, jumping into a formula 1 car and wondering why they can’t corner like Lewis Hamilton.
The key word is volume. Fit your height, weight and ability to a board that’s going to work in all conditions. Curve toward your surfing goals, avoid trying to run before you can walk. And eventually you will be on that performance shortboard, but it is going to take time and perseverance. You want to be having as much fun as possible while improving, not sinking and digging rails to the beach.