Top 5 Benefits of Intensive Surf Coaching
It doesn’t matter if you’re embarking on a Cornwall surf camp in the colder months, or booking in for an intensive week of lessons in the summer. The multitude of benefits you will get out of a few back-to-back surf sessions are always mind-boggling. Here are our top 5 reasons as to why you should be booking onto intensive surf coaching right now. It’s never too late!
The better you get, the longer it takes to get to the next level…
Think back to when you first started learning to surf. You probably caught your own wave in your first lesson, you most likely will have stood up in your first couple of sessions. And it’s likely you found yourself being able to stand up on your board for 2, 5, 10 seconds with just a few more hours in the water. Those first few steps on the ladder are all quite close together, so the sense of accomplishment is continual. Most people are surprised at how much they can achieve in just a week long beginner course. When the skills start getting harder and harder, the distance between the steps on the ladder get longer and longer.
With regularity comes consolidation. A more advanced technique might take a year to learn if you are getting in the water just a couple of times a month. But it may be achievable in a couple of weeks if you are taking frequent lessons over a short space of time. For example, if you are getting in often (for example on a lovely Cornwall surf camp…), where you surf twice a day over a weekend, or have a hand-full of sessions booked over a space of a week, you’ll start to see rapid improvements. And more improvements over a shorter space of time.
Why chose just one Newquay surf school and one beach?
Out of the main school holidays, when the beaches are quieter and everything in Cornwall is considerably cheaper. It’s this kind of time when we have the freedom to travel to surf other beaches. If you’ve got past the beginner stages of surfing, you’ll probably be wanting to spend more time out-the-back. So the conditions on one beach might not always be right in order for you to practice turning. Or the wind isn’t favourable if you want to practice taking an earlier, steeper drop on a green wave. If it’s not quite right here in Mawgan Porth, let’s look at a map of the Cornish coastline. Tied with the surf and wind forecast, we can usually make a good call on where the best conditions for the day will be. Oh and also with some locals knowledge on which beaches work best on which tides).
By learning how to spot the best beaches for different swell directions, you will be surfing more frequently in optimum conditions. If you are surfing good conditions more often, the quicker you will progress. Now, we all know that the surf isn’t always 3 foot and glassy here in the UK. But we can learn to find the best waves on any day, to utilize the time we get to go surfing.
Then there’s video analysis. All the pros are doing it!
Especially when learning a new technique, or trying to even out bad habits, the wave is over so quickly. It is really hard to concentrate on more than a couple of things at any one time. It can be hard to register your positioning in the water in relation to the peak. And your paddle technique and posture. And your timing as well as foot positioning, and where your hands are pushing up on the board. Plus, your body position once on your feet. And adjust to the ever-changing wave, all in a matter of seconds!!
With the benefit of having someone to video or photograph you whist surfing, you can sit back and abstract all the little bits to fine-tune your technique. You’ve got the time and space to discuss the whats, wheres and whys (all from the comfort of your sofa or favourite pub, pint/cuppa tea in hand). Luckily, video analysis is becoming an more and more frequent feature of Cornwall surf camps, and even around the world. Or get your surf-buddy to sit on the beach for an hour with their camera, then swap over and return the favour.
Do you look as good on a board as you think you do in your head? Get a knowledgable friend (or friendly surf school **hint hint**) to analyse the footage. Then take those tips straight back into the water to get rid of those pesky bad habits.
Now cast your minds back to when you were at school…
Did you ever learn about study skills how to find the best methods for your GCSE (or O-level) revision? There were three different categories you could fall into: audio learners (who learn best by listening); visual learnings (who learn best by seeing and reading); and kinaesthetic learner (where everything will resonate more clearly by doing something active).
The beach theory part of the session often forces you to just have to use your imagination to recall what it feels like to (for example) stall your board too much. You may have never experienced a nose-dive before, and you just have to wait until it happens to you in the water. Can you purely imagine what happens if your back arm is dragging behind you when trying to initiate a turn? This will only resonate with those of you who are audio learners.
Then there are the people who learn best when experiencing in in the sea. They will quickly work out how best to save themselves from a nose-dive by doing a nose-dive. Or they will learn how to maintain your speed on a wave, by going too slowly, and adjusting the second time round. They’ve got to try it out for themselves for it to resonate.
But video analysis is the best way of reinforcing ideas about technique for kinaesthetic learners. By studying your body position, and positioning in relation to the wave, it is much easier for this group of people to understand the theory we teach on the dry sand. Take away just one or two pointers to focus on for each session, and they will eventually become second nature. Then allowing you to move onto the next pointer to tighten up your pop-up or bottom-turns more effectively and efficiently.
Think camaraderie, comparison & correction…
Surfing with friends will always distill a bit of healthy competition. It can do wonders for your confidence in the water. Whether surfing with people who are better than you, or those who are not as experienced, you will eventually start to see the mistakes they are making too. This is the start of developing of your ability to be self-aware in the water. Don’t just take your instructor’s word for it! Similar to the benefits of using video analysis, you can now start to see how the the effects your weight distribution and stance have on the board itself.
Try watching how fluid someone’s turns are… If you can notice they are travelling too slowly and keep bogging a rail, go back to the theory and work out why. Is their foot positioning effecting the trim of their board? Or is their tail dragging through the water, slowing them down, instead of planing on the surface of the water? If they keep nose-diving on their pop-up, check whether their hands are on the deck or holding the rails. This will eventually translate into being able to critique your own surfing with immediate effect. Acknowledging these mistakes whilst in the water is a surefire way of ironing out the kinks at an accelerated rate.
So try and surround yourself with people who are better at surfing than you and have more water experience. Make active steps to have a more informed surf experience, even before you get in the water. From sitting at home in your pyjamas, to figuring out the best spot for the day’s conditions. Deciding the best time of day to surf, to understanding what to look out for when you’re standing in the car park. Working out the best position to be in once having got into the water, to riding the wave itself.
The more you get in the water, the more you will accelerate your rate of progression. And more confidence in the water leads to the F word (**fear**) being sidelined. Then we can start to demolish that mental block to surfing bigger and better waves.
So do you feel your surfing ability has plateaued? Would you benefit from an intensive couple of sessions to feel like you’re getting somewhere again? Try one of our Winter Surf Camps. We’ll give you the best tips, tricks and know-how to help you achieve your goals. In the two full-days of water-filled activities, we will work out the best plan of attack to get you to where you want to be. And as efficiently and effectively as possible, in the best waves we can find. The detailed video analysis, we’ll give you the ammunition to understand the reasoning, the whys and hows. Filled with more theory than you can shake your leash at, we’ll be meandering through nooks and crannies of the Cornish coast. No need to commit to just one Newquay surf school, stationed in just one location. We’ll go wherever the waves are greenest and the rides are longest.