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Tips from the Norwegian national team surf coach

Updated: Aug 2, 2022

I have surfed for 25 years now and over the years I've found that there are a lot of common errors which can be challenged and overcome with a couple of basic steps.

Position for provision.

Surfing is a wave- catching sport, which means being in the correct position in the line- up is important. There are several things that move us out of position, such as the wind, currents, waves and people. We often drift out of position without knowing it.

When this happens we will either catch the wrong waves or we will end up waiting a long time for a wave that possibly isn't coming. I've noticed that a lot of surfers catch on average one wave every 10- 15 minutes.

If, lets say you catch one wave every 10 minutes and surf for 2 hours and end up riding each wave for 10 seconds. That is a total of 120 seconds of surfing in a 2 hour 'surf session'. That is not a lot of time spent surfing.

We want to get our wave count up so we have more time spend surfing the waves. This will help us get fitter, we will improve and more importantly, we will have a lot more fun in the water!

The easiest way to stay in position is to find reference points. Now, I tell a lot of people this and I'd say only 1% of the surfers I teach this apply what they learn. So it's up to you if you want to be one of those who applies this.

The surfers who usually apply this are the competitive surfers as they know that within a 20 minute heat being in position is critical to catch the best waves and win. I have a YouTube tutorial which teaches you the BEST way to find and keep reference points while surfing.

Now once you have figured out how to be in the correct position in the line- up you can start selecting the better waves that suit you. If you're one of the only surfers checking your reference points then you are guaranteed to catch the best and possibly the most waves out there.

Sometimes what I do is I use this as a tool to get more waves. If I notice that there is a current moving us all away from a peak, I will let it happen so that we all move out of position. When I see a set approaching I will slowly move back into position while everyone remains out of position. It is sneaky, but at least I get my waves.

The downside to this is that people will cotton on to what you're doing and they will always follow you. It gets a bit irritating at times, especially when it's the same people all the time who notice you're always getting the waves. But you just need to play games with them and adjust your position every now and then.

I hope you get to test this out and I hope it works out for you. Good luck with finding the correct position and may the waves be with you!

Shannon Ainslie

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