#1 Get The Right Surfboard
There are endless opinions on what surfboard surfers should use in different wave conditions. You can read books about surfboard shapes and still be confused.
Here’s the secret: there is no secret. There is no perfect surfboard for you out there. You will always be progressing and surfing different wave conditions, so you’ll never have “the perfect board”. If you feel like you “never have the right surfboard”. Don’t worry, most surfers feel like that for years.
You’ve been surfing for one year. You’ve done a few surf trips, you know how to take-off, stand up and follow a line. You understand more and more how waves break and how to manage your speed. At this level, you might want to ride either a “Funboard” or a “Fish”. These boards still have some volume and relatively flat rockers that will help you with balance and speed. They are also smaller and lighter than longboards, making them easier to control. This will help you with your turns.
How to choose between a fish or a funboard? Ask an experienced surfer that has seen you surf and knows what type of waves you surf. This is the most efficient way. An article cannot help you all the way. The author has no clue what is your surf level and what waves you are going to surf.
#2 Surf With Better Surfers than you
“Every wave you take is a lesson. Just like every wave somebody else takes is.”
This is true for any sport. Practicing around athletes that are more experienced than you can only push your limits and help you progress faster. Watch every wave they take. Pay attention to their techniques. Learn more about the small details behind maneuvers.
#3 Stop Trying to be Stylish
Have you seen yourself surf on video? If you did, it might have given you the same feeling you had when you first heard your voice on record. Urk.
The good news is, the next time you see yourself surf, you might notice some progression. One thing we’ve seen way too many times is a beginner surfer trying to look “effortless” or “stylish”. This is sad because they aren’t fooling anybody out there and they are slowing down their progression. If you want to progress, you must try different things and not be scared to look foolish. This is the only way you can learn from your mistakes.
Ps. Pro surfers like Craig Anderson and Rob Machado do look effortless. But there are tremendous amounts of skills, experience, technique and strength behind their surfing.
#4 Let Go of Your Ego and Ask Questions
If you’re lucky enough, you will come to a point where you realize you might know less than 10% of the elements there are to discover about surf technique.
Once you realize you know practically nothing, you can step on your ego and ask questions to more experienced surfers around you. Most surfers are shy to ask experienced surfers about their surf technique in the water. In reality, most experienced surfers are very open to help you progress. The reason is probably that they know where you are in your surf progression and they wished they had help at that time.
Try it. Ask in a polite and humble way: “Hey, I’m trying to progress and I know you saw my last few waves. Please let me know if you notice anything I need to change in my technique”. Most surfers will be glad to give you some advice.
#5 It’s All in Your Head
You have to somehow find a balance between creativity and the reality of your surf skills.
Entering the water with the right mindset will definitely help you surf better. You can only achieve what you can imagine yourself achieving. So before you can do your first carves, you must see yourself doing them. Watching better surfers around you (point #3) will help you do this.
The balance between creativity and reality is never easy to find. If you enter 2 feet waves and have expectations to do rodeos, you will be disappointed. But if you don’t push yourself and try new things, you’ll never get any good.
Adjust your expectations according to your surf level and the wave conditions. Like anything, if you love what you do and do what you love, you will get better at it.