During the last week I racked up 6 surf sessions – the most I’ve ever surfed in a 7-day period. It’s been amazing and was all down to a chance conversation with my surfboard shaper.
I’d been feeling frustrated again with my inability to pop-up in a swift movement and my lack of confidence in going out back in anything over 2ft. I’ll have a lesson and come away stoked thinking I’ve nailed it, then I won’t surf again for another week or so. I lose the momentum and it feels like I’m back at the point I was pre-lesson.
And that’s exactly the problem. I’m just not surfing often enough.
One of the reasons I moved to Cornwall was to surf more, but life down here isn’t a massive holiday. I still have to work, build up my business and do the mundane day to day stuff…or do I sound like I’m making excuses? Also, I guess, naively, I thought surfing once a week (compared to once a month) would be enough to see some progress.
Making a plan
After a frustrating surf last week, I decided to get off my backside and I had already formulated a bit of a plan with the fitness side of things. Gone are the days when I want to slog it out on hour-long training sessions. I need little and often so my new plan is something everyday, but no longer than 20 minutes. I’m focusing on the building blocks – paddle strength, cardio fitness, a fully functioning right shoulder (yes, it’s still dodgy 2 years on) and increased flexibility. It sounds like a lot but broken down into small manageable chunks, it’s perfectly do-able.
3 surfs a week
As for the surfing, my shaper’s advice was to surf 3 times a week. I admit to looking a bit open mouthed but as he pointed out, the learning curve with surfing is so steep, that a once a week surf means I’m probably just going over old ground from the previous session. And when I thought about it I realised he’s absolutely right.
So the plan was to surf at least 3 times a week but in waves that are suitable and will help me progress. And when it’s blown out and messy? Find a sheltered spot. Low tide closeouts? Go to a beach that works at low tide. Believe me, I tried every excuse in the book and he had an answer for every one!
Motivation and momentum
Feeling super motivated after the pick me up chat, I enthusiastically loaded my board into the car, and a very un-enthused other half (he’s also lost his surf mojo recently) and we headed off for an evening surf. The conditions were great and we picked a spot with long peeling waves. It gave us both a bit of a kick start and from there, the momentum just built.
Two days later I surfed twice at two different spots. The evening surf was significantly better than the daytime surf and I chalked that down to returning to the spot with the long peeling waves. I had been really trying to pop-up properly, although I know this will come over time with more flexibility. My other half timed my one knee pop-up and I was pretty astonished when he told me ‘2 seconds.’
Swapping frustration for fun
This week I surfed twice straight after work (the bonus of working part-time and with a friend who also wants to improve her surfing!). Handily, the B&B where I work is near the beach where I had my first ever surf lesson. I had such a laugh, probably the most fun I’ve had surfing for a while because I’m usually too busy taking it all a bit too seriously and getting cross with myself. The conditions yesterday were absolutely perfect – small glassy waves where I was able to get out back confidently, take off on some green waves and practice shaving another second off my pop-up!
I doubt I will surf 6 times in a week again. I did go a bit crazy because of awesome conditions and weather, but it showed that with motivation, momentum, fab folk to surf with and being more efficient with my time, then 3 times a week is totally do-able. They don’t even have to be long surfs and any sea time is a total bonus. I’ve started a surf diary too so I can track what I do each session and I’m hoping it will help me see that over time, I have progressed.
So that’s the plan. Let’s see if I stick to it!