Serena Adams, Surf Getaways Director of Coaching and Learn to Surf talks about how she started surfing and provides some tips on what’s the best board for beginners to buy and why.
Tell us how and when you started surfing? And how has surfing changed since you started?
I was fortunate to have been born into a surfing family. As young as I can remember my family was at the beach. My Dad was always surfing. My youngest memory of surfing was when I was about 4 and Dad would come in from the surf and ask us kids who wanted to hop on the front of his board, and go back out in the water. As I got older the four of us siblings use to argue over who was the first to share a wave with Dad (even the family dog surfed).
Since then, the biggest change in surfing that I have experienced is the amount of females in the surf and also the high standard of female surfing in the world surfing league in general. The latest female surfers are absolutely charging and have earned their position as professional athletes. Also, at the beginner level of female surfing, there has been an increase in women aged between 30 and 70+ years taking on surfing as their new passion. I couldn’t be happier seeing more women out in the surf now.
You have been instructing surfing for over 30 years. How do people benefit from your ‘learn to surf’ program? Has the way you teach changed over the years?
The way I teach surfing is always evolving. I am lucky to be able to coach and train with different surfers and coaches, everyone seems to have a “new” or “unique” coaching method. I learn from each of them and adapt what I have learned to my personal coaching technique. I want my coaching to continually improve and incorporate the latest in ‘learn to surf’ techniques as they become available. I don’t think you can ever stop learning.
The passion I have for coaching is the same as how I felt on my first session over 30 years ago. To be able to teach women to surf and through that build confidence, technique and friendships is my favourite thing to do. Its the best job for me in the world or me.
Surfboard design seems to be in constant evolution, predominately due to the improvements in technology. What do you look for in surfboards designed for beginners?
For the beginner surfer, bigger boards with volume and stability are the best choice. Unfortunately, most beginner surfers tend to go for a smaller board too early, because I think they feel shorter boards look better. But shorter boards also require a more mature technique and experience to ride properly and they are much harder to paddle.
Surfing is a challenging sport so you need to have the right equipment for your skill level so you don’t add to that challenge. Choosing the wrong board can bring on frustrations that compromise you physically and emotionally which doesn’t always help you learn faster. Add to that the ever changing environment of the sea, which none of us can control and by starting out with the wrong board, you can hold yourself back enormously. Getting your board choice right, and being patient with yourself, means the reward is that euphoric feeling of ‘surf stoke’ from riding a wave, whether its your 1st or 100th wave.
Why did you choose to design boards with Wave Chaser?
With Wave Chaser and their experience in high tech surf equipment design and manufacturing (from carbon fiber SUP boards to the latest in foil boards) we had an opportunity to get involved with developing something that incorporates our combined experience. I have over 21 years’ experience in teaching people to surf, so it was a ‘no brainer’ to start working on boards that I knew would incorporate design elements that can fast track a learner’s ability to stand up and paddle. It’s been a real pleasure working with Nigel and his team, and the boards we have designed and manufactured are fun for even experienced surfers to ride. All our coaches have test ridden them and rave about the fun they’ve had. They are a great board, at a great price as well.
Tell us about your involvement with Surf Getaways and your plans for the future of women’s surfing.
I am one of the founders of Surf Getaways and together with our team our plan for the future is to continue to empower women to reach their full potential through surfing. It’s just such a fantastic and healthy sport for women of any age and we want to introduce as many women as possible to it. Simply, we are on a mission to make Surf Getaways tours and surf schools available to women worldwide. Yeeeewwwww!