Last weekend, I travelled down to Cornwall for the annual Boardmasters surf competition and music festival. It was a great opportunity to see some live surf action, meet some new people, catch up with friends and of course go surfing! I was keen to find out if the steroid injection that I had to alleviate my shoulder problem had done the trick!
I met up with Amy from Mellow Waves at Perran Sands – a 2-mile beach break which I had never surfed at before. I love heading to new spots, and despite a 200-foot descent to the beach, it’s a great beach for beginners, is uncrowded and produces some slow forgiving waves. It works at all stages of the tide and luckily, we were greeted with 2-3 ft clean waves – ideal conditions for my level of surfing!
I had a great time, caught some great waves and my shoulder gave me no hassle at all! It was obvious though, that despite me getting to my feet a lot quicker now than I have been, my paddling desperately needs some work! My doggy paddle style just doesn’t cut it and its partly down to wariness of the wave and partly wariness of aggravating my shoulder. I don’t get anywhere when I do paddle, I miss waves and all the upper body strength that I built up last year went out of the window with the shoulder injury. As Amy said, one of the common mistakes that beginners make is not paddling hard enough. This is something that I will be focussing on from now on and I have got some ideas on how to go about it – more on that later.
The trip also gave me the chance to hook up with Pete from Kingsurf. The last time I surfed with Pete was a year ago, the day I collected my brand new surfboard from Nigel Semmens. I was hoping that he would see some improvement since last year and give me some pointers for moving forward. We headed to Harlyn, a sheltered break which is ok for beginners but you need to catch it at the right stage of the tide (best at low to mid). The waves were small so we headed for Constantine Bay. A totally different story greeted us there – Constantine picks up a lot of swell so gets big and where Harlyn was producing 1-2 foot waves, Constantine was more like 3-4ft. Getting beyond the breaking waves was impossible and it was like paddling through treacle, but I managed to get a couple of nice waves! And, after getting some tips on how to make turns, I was able to tun the board both left and right…all on one wave!
Being landlocked hasn’t prevented me from me progressing with my surfing!
Pete gave me some really positive feedback and said I had progressed really well within a year, particularly with me being landlocked. He commented on my ability to stand up consistently, especially on a fibreglass board given my limited time in the water, the fact that I was starting to work well on turns and move naturally with the wave. I was really stoked and just goes to show that being landlocked hasn’t prevented me from progressing with my surfing!
Back to reality…back to the gym!
It was an awesome weekend and has given me lots to think about. Now I’m back in landlockedsville, its time to get back in the gym and start building up my upper body strength, so here’s what I’m planning:
- Get in the swimming pool – its the next best thing to getting in the sea to work on my paddling technique so lots of front crawl!
- Use the hand bike – a great upper body workout
- Get a Power Stroke chord – they are ideal for people who don’t get much time in the water
- Stick with the spin classes – they are great for building up stamina and cv fitness
- Get back to a core routine work on core strength and flexibility.
I have also got a surf specific fitness programme called Shit to Fit that I’m keen to try so lots to be getting on with!
Look out for my Boardmasters experience on the Surfing Sumo website, coming soon!