We all put down goals for ourselves to become a more successful and happier version of ourselves. Let's talk about surf goals..
It is more difficult to unlearn bad habits and instincts than to learn new habits. It's not impossible, just difficult to break those bad surf habits and then to create new good habits in our surfing which will help us with our progression.
In our mind we have neural pathways which grow stronger each time we use them. If it is a neural pathway which we have created as a bad habit in surfing, lets say for example having the wrong timing in our pop up, then we first need to unlearn and undo what we created in the first place. Basically, we need to stop using those paths in our mind and start creating new ones.
A new neural pathway in our mind would look like trying to create a new path or road in the middle of a jungle next to a big broad path already created and in use (bad habits). We have to stop walking on and using that broad path and then struggle through the forest to create that new path or road through the jungle. This is what it looks like to create new pathways or new good habits in our mind while surfing. It is not easy, but it is possible!
So, if for example you are struggling to get the timing of your pop up right or struggling with basic paddling technique while surfing, you would first need to know what you are doing wrong and how to fix it. This is where the goals come in. You would need to set down some goals to work towards until you achieve them. Goals such as 'paddle with my legs together', 'watch the wave while I paddle', 'paddle long and deep strokes', 'feel the tail lift before I pop up'.
Good ways to do this would be to obviously surf as much as possible, but to also think about what habits need to be stopped and what new habits you will need to create. When I surf, I like visualising what I should do (not what I should not do) before my next wave. While paddling back after a wave, or while waiting in the lineup for the next set, I will think about and visualise what I should try do on my next wave. This helps with reaching my goal.
If I'm an intermediate surfer for example struggling with my paddling technique and timing of my pop up I will remember what needs to be done- keep my legs together, paddle with my chin and chest up, watch the wave while I paddle, paddle long and deep strokes and then when the wave comes to continue watching what it does and then to feel the tail lift and the nose start going down the wave, this is when I should stop paddling and stand to my feet on the surfboard.
These are small goals and steps or disciplines that I will have in my surfing. I will make sure I visualise and picture myself getting this right and doing it the correct way. After the wave I catch, while paddling back out or while waiting for the next wave to ride, I will visualise it again and picture what I just did on my previous wave and how I could improve it. For me, I am working on different things, like more speed on the wave, doing more powerful and complete rail turns or trying to do tail blows or airs.
For some of you this might be working on your speed on a wave, or doing cutbacks, snaps or other manoeuvres. As you progress in your surfing you could change and adjust your goals. They should always be progressive as you reach your goals and set new ones to help get you to the next level.
With most of my customers who do video analysis they get to work on goals and technique which I point out to them. The process through video analysis helps them see and understand these goals and the process more. Most of them progress and achieve those goals and then learn to reach for new goals. This process is often entirely up to each individual as to how much they understand, how much time they put in the water to surf and how much time they spend thinking about these goals and visualising themselves achieve them.
So what I want to leave you with today is to keep setting and putting down goals for your surfing so that you can progress and become a happier and more confident surfer. Make sure that you start breaking those bad surf habits and begin creating new surf habits which will help you go from the level you're on now to the next level of your surfing.
The main things that will help you progress and improve in your surfing are things like spending as much time in the water catching waves as possible, doing other surf specific training (this can be going to gym, stretching, running etc), eating healthy, watching surf tutorials or other surf clips and maybe treating yourself to a surf trip in a warm tropical surf destination. It's up to you.
Having said that, remember that if you have not subscribed to my YouTube channel you can do that. I try to upload new surf tutorials once a week or once every other week. I also will be doing 3 surf trips on a boat in The Maldives where I will be doing video surf coaching with up to 8 guests at a time on the boat trip. Two of the trips are booked, but there is availability on the second boat trip, so reach out if you are interested in improving your surfing in the Central Atolls.