Surf coaching : the stages of learning in surfing!

Learn surfing with a coach

As succinctly as possible, I will present the different pedagogical steps of a course of surf. They will allow the surf student to become independent and improve his technical level.

Of course, everything depends on the quality of the professional who accompanies you, as it is true that the pedagogical contents have changed little in the formations and have remained desperately hollow in the specialized press. A good surf instructor is not necessarily a surf champion, he is someone who has been a beginner like you and who analyzed each stage of his learning, decoded the technique, honed his sense of observation for create a pedagogy of its own and that it will adapt to the level of each.

Adherence to practice is an important factor of progress, however, the small help of a coach will accelerate the progression, where the surfer would have been blocked months, because of a seemingly innocuous detail.

I will not give all my little secrets but list the timeline of learning. The physical reinforcement necessary to advanced learning is done naturally, as part of the practice: walk in the sand, fight against the current, get on the board muscular soliciting the body as a whole. A minimum of fitness is nevertheless necessary to take full advantage of his learning. Obviously, the student who already has a sporting and aquatic experience will exceed the first phase of learning faster.

The steps in surf

Each landing leads the surfer to rub in an environment that becomes more complex. Catching the foam at the edge, or rowing to get the waves off do not obviously have the same degree of difficulty. Also, burning one of these steps inevitably leads to failure or long stagnation phases. Patience and perseverance are the greatest qualities of the surfer.

Phase 1 : the basics

Learning gestures and basic postures of surfing, they allow to slide balanced on its board while having an optimal mobility :

  • The marine environment: knowing how to place oneself in the zone adapted to one’s level, to evolve in a too difficult zone does not make it possible to progress, to use the adapted board.
    The basic rules that guarantee the safety of the practitioner as well as other surfers, we remember the scene of Brice de Nice.
  • The position of equilibrium elongated, the technical keys to find the right position whatever the board used.
  • The foam and the optimal position of the hands flat on the board: it is appalling, for 20 years, to hear repeated training in state patent surf that hands should be placed under the shoulders!
  • The most dynamic recovery possible, according to his abilities: why put the knee when fluidity and flexibility are the key to an effective recovery, and that the person has the ability to do it!
  • Basic techniques to keep the speed, and therefore the glide and balance, to the edge.
  • Taking direction using the gaze and upper body. The front arm, and more precisely his hand, are used by the viewfinder surfer.

Phase 2: the waves

  • Knowledge of safety rules, priority and user-friendliness.
  • Learning the oar and directional maneuvers off, pass the bar, turn around quickly, etc. : there, too, some surfers and professionals will tell you that you have to tighten your fingers to row is anything. Refer to this article about Prevention Surf on rowing techniques.
  • The take-off at the top of the wave, in small conditions first round, straight ahead then slightly across: reading waves, timing, speed of execution as keys to success.
  • Read the direction of the surf and then succeed in following the waves, preferably in a good way!

Phase 3: wave speeding

  • Adapt your trajectory to the breaking of the wave to succeed in surfing until the end: coordination of the phases of bending and pushing on the legs (speed), with the upper body whose role is essentially directional.
  • Control of the undulatory speed gain: bending in the descent, pushing on the rail for upward hovering effect, alternating rail / flat of the board. An effective speed gain plays with the height of the wave.
  • Learning the duck, if the volume of the board allows it: it goes without saying that a board that floats a lot will have difficulty sinking under water. There is a double difficulty, technical, but also of analysis of the
    middle. You have to know how quickly the wave or the foam reaches you to be able to trigger the duck at the right moment.

Phase 4: maneuvers

The surfer has learned the good positions of the body, the gestures have become reflexes that allow him to react faster in the wave, his experience allows him to read better and anticipate the variations of the environment, he can now develop the fine skills that him will make the figures or better control.

  • To access this stage, the surfer has developed physical and technical abilities that allow him to use a board a little less bulky. But not necessarily because the key of maneuvers is in the speed generated, so it is possible to make a roller with a longboard. Reducing the length of the rail nevertheless makes it possible to shorten the trajectories and to tighten the turns more easily.
  • Let finish the trajectories for a better radius of action in the bottom turn, agree to target the beach in the descent, with the aim of tighter turns, a greater verticality of the angle of attack of
    the board.
  • The rentry at the end of the wave, first introduction to maneuvers at the top of the wave: the acquisition of speed + the ability to steer the board where I want + control of the thrust on the legs at the bottom of the wave = the
    board will lean and pivot on the foam or the lip of the wave.
  • Control of the pivot at the top of the wave: anticipation of the rotation look arm + transfer of support on the front = roller. The difficulty is not to sink the back (too much weight on the back in the pivot phase) and to plant the rail for lack of speed, bad support transfer or rotation too late bust.
  • Knowing how to lighten the board, having prolonged support, will make it possible to learn to change rails, to return to the foam when the wave softens: replacement maneuver that foreshadows the learning of the cut back.
  • The floatter is technically more accessible because the trajectory is less tight than for the roller, this figure requires above all a good reading of the wave and takes again the technical skills necessary for the aforementioned figures. Attention, lack of speed or anticipation to trigger the descent, the board does not twist underfoot, which can result in a blow in the ribs.
  • The key to success for the aerial: speed + ability to aim the point at the top of the wave that will serve as a springboard + lightening-thrust at the top of the wave (need to regroup again at the top of the wave) + aim
    a point a little higher to extend the pivot initiated in the thrust + to transfer the point on the front foot + to be sufficiently relaxed at the bottom of the wave to absorb the shock of the landing and the acceleration of the board
    (often, the surfer falls back).
  • Several key elements for the surfer to succeed in tubing: it is necessary to guess that in such a place, the wave will form a tube, by reading the variations of hollow in the face of the wave; then, he must possess reflex technical movements in order to spontaneously adapt his trajectory, but also his speed, and thus place himself in the pocket at the moment when the lip throws forward. There are techniques for braking so as not to be too early, and others to accelerate in the tube, since a validated tube must cover the surfer and see it come out.
  • There are other maneuvers or variations, such as the tail slide: the surfer transfers all of his weight to the front leg and stretches the back leg to derail the tail of the board. The center of gravity thus comes
    more towards the front of the board, which makes it possible to plan the drifts.

Surf coaching

The technique of the activity

We flew over the classic technical part of the learning stages:

  • On the beach in middle observation and by setting up instructions adapted to the conditions of the moment. In a surf lesson, it is often the ocean that gives the session theme.
  • And in the water, through constant postural rehabilitation work, due to incessant changes in the environment (each wave is different, conditions change with the tide), and repetition of technical gestures.

A sports coach will also use the contributions of the photo and video so that the surfer, seeing himself, can better understand the corrections and educational objectives.

Training out of the water


However, except to live in a tropical country, the surfer, even when he is pro, often faces climatic conditions that do not allow him to train.

Whatever the level of the surfer who wants to learn, it is recommended to practice sports, non-moving media, to repeat technical gestures and explore the full range of his skills
drive. Each wave being different, it is almost impossible to repeat exactly the same gesture during a given period of time.

For long periods of winter, during which most surfers go less frequently to the water, a complementary activity will allow you to stay fit but also to work endurance, maintain muscle tone and improve flexibility. Some classics, such as running, swimming, yoga, ball team sports, martial arts, taichi.

Other less well known but which combine all that a surfer needs to be efficient, is the case of tai chi chuan: the Ki Surf thus allows to work on the relaxation, the amplitude of the movements, the flexibility
and coordination. The longer the body remains relaxed, the more explosive and explosive will be the action of the muscle.
This allied with a good use of the breath, a flexible and mobile basin, transfers of fine and progressive support, in situation of return to the water, the surfer will be only more effective.

The values ​​of surfing


The desire to perfect his surf should not lose sight of some basic aspects of the discipline:

surfing is a sport of nature, the ocean element and leads the surfer to push back without limits.
If he chooses the competition, he can also want to surpass himself by measuring himself to his colleagues. However, when training, he must respect other surfers, amateurs, in the presence in the water. Their claim to improve should not be depreciated on the pretext that they do not participate in competitions.

Training should not become the excuse and excuse to be a con at the water, some coaches now insist on it, which has not always been the case: we do not throw ourselves as a possessed on all the waves, regardless of the others, because a photo tripod is placed on the beach.

Second, humility in progression, the surfer should not forget that he was a beginner too, and that in certain hostile conditions, the ocean will put it back in its place. Moreover, and this is a universal law of learning, even a surfer, or a coach, very good level will always find material to perfect their technique or their knowledge.

Changing surf spots, surfing destinations, and gliding supports also makes it possible to progress by multiplying the gliding experiences and leaving the comfort zone. And to understand that it is in openness and sharing that we learn the most, and not by closing the door of his spot or the borders of his country.