When improving your surfing and moving from beginner to intermediate surfer, the hardest part is often to let go of bad habits you picked up when you started surfing. These bad habits might not have posed much of an issue for you as a beginner, surfing small and already broken waves, but are preventing you from progressing to surfing bigger, faster and green waves.
Our surf coach Serena Adams is a senior surf coach. She began surf coaching in 1986 and founded her own surf school company, Surfing Byron Bay, with husband Matt in 1997, which now operates as Lets Go Surfing Byron Bay. She has ample experience with beginner and low intermediate surfers and which bad habits are often hindering students from improving their surfing. Below are the five main bad habits she recognises in beginner and intermediate surfers that prevent them from progressing and they need to overcome to advance their surfing.
1. Turning your back at the wave and paddling blind
When you see a wave approaching, don’t face the beach and paddle blindly as if your life depends on it. Rather keep looking over your shoulder at the wave whilst paddling. Follow what the wave is doing to see whether you need to paddle harder to catch the wave, or wait for the wave and whether you need to adjust direction to position yourself in the right spot to take off.
Position yourself so that when the wave reaches you, you’ll be on the shoulder, just next to the breaking point of the wave. You’ll want to be moving at the same speed as the wave as it breaks.
2. Hold on to the rails when popping up
Place your hands in the right spot on the deck: when pressing up you want your hands flat under your chest, as if doing a push-up, when popping up rather than holding on to the rails. Having your hands on the deck increases the space for your body to pop up in between your hands, improves the stability of the board and reduces the chance of slipping your hand off the rail and missing the wave altogether…
Moreover, you are more likely to release your hands off the deck quicker, rather than holding on to the rails for too long – allowing you to transition from the pop up straight into riding the wave and getting yourself in the right part of the wave.
3. Paddle with upper body flat on the board
4. Adopting the wrong stance after popping up
5. Trying to transition to a shortboard too soon
Photos featuring our Fiji Ladies Surf Getaways shredders: Ange, Jo, Margreet, Marilise and Anna. Who will all be joining us again on a Surf Getaway this year!
Does this make you want to plan your next surftrip? We’d love to see you on our Surf Getaways!