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March, 2014

Kirsty 1 – Crap surf session 0

By March 20, 2014 Escape, Surf more

I had begun to think that  I was a useless kook who wouldn’t be able to stand up on a surfboard again. The past few sessions sucked and I was struggling to get to my feet. I was desperate for a repeat performance of those amazing sessions in Woolacombe and Mawgan Porth last summer when practically every wave I went for resulted in me standing and riding a wave all the way up to the shore.

So, when a friend announced he was off to Putsborough a couple of weeks ago and asked if we wanted to join him, I jumped at the chance. It was a great opportunity to pick myself up after the rubbish session I had at Saunton the week before.

The night before the road trip, my other half asked me what I was going to do differently and it really got me thinking. The reason I was getting nowhere was because I kept doing the same things wrong and wasn’t making any attempt to try anything different. I had been unable to practise my pop up or build my upper body strength since the Croyde trip in January this year because of a shoulder injury. So, it was time to resort to theory.

During the journey, armed with my favourite motivational fitness track on repeat, I scribbled a few notes. Firstly I thought about how I usually get to my feet and what I was potentially doing wrong. The list was quite long:

  • Starting off too far back on the board
  • Incorrect feet placement (too close together)
  • Going for waves where the power has already gone
  • Not leaving enough time to get set up on the board
  • Chest flat on the board when paddling
  • Feet not together on the board when paddling
  • Taking too long to get to my feet
  • Right knee (my back foot leg) dragging on the board when I push up into pop up position
Then, I thought about what I could do differently and tried to visualise me putting these steps into place:

  • Start further up the board making sure my feet are not hanging over the back of the tail
  • Raise chest off the board whilst paddling
  • Keep feet together when paddling
  • Don’t try and stand up straightaway – try getting into position and working on that for the first few waves
  • Give yourself more time to get set up on the board
  • Try to get your feet quicker
  • Ditch the knees for the whole session…..practise the army crawl technique


Ok, I admit that as soon as I got in the water, the whole ‘ditch the knees’ theory went out of the window. The first wave I went for I went into auto pilot mode and went to knees…but then in the next breath, I was on my feet!  I was so stoked that I figured that maybe going to knees wasn’t so bad…it was just the way I was going about it.

The rest of my strategy I put into practice and the result was an absolutely epic session! I don’t know if it was down to the strategising, the near perfect conditions, my lucky new wetsuit, the break or what but it was amazing! I think I only missed two waves overall and the rest, well, I was firmly planted on my feet, riding the waves all the way in and grinning from ear to ear. The stoke from that session lasted hours and days after!

It gave me a massive confidence boost and restored my faith. I’m not a useless kook and I know I can do this. It has given me a massive drive to continue on this crazy landlocked surfing journey.

Who knows where it will lead? J


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