Why “How to become a better surfer” is flawed - PART 3

What is the best process?

Let’s say within the next 3 months you have 100 hours for improving your surfing. Would it be best spent only in the water knowing that for a good recreational surfer it only results in 3 minutes of wave riding for every 1-hour session?

100 hours equal 5 hours of riding a wave. In case you perform a maneuver every 15 seconds this equals 1.200 maneuvers (pro-surfers in epic point-break conditions perform a maneuver every 3-4 seconds; good surfers using the Trace App will usually perform a maneuver every 10-20 seconds of riding a wave).

However, if you surf skate you can do 300 maneuvers within a 1 hour session consisting of 30 minutes skating as well as 30 minutes of resting and time for instant video analysis of your surf skate moves to self correct. So within only 4 days of skating 1 hour each day you already hit the 1.200 maneuver mark. Is surf skating an efficient training tool? Yes, there is a reason why pro surfers use it.


Knowing all this, would it be best to spend these 100 hours only in the water surfing?

Probably not.

So, what is the best and smartest way to improve? Remember that it is all about paddling and riding the wave.

How do you get better results with paddling?

There are 4 ways:

  1. Having a suitable board volume (making it as easy as possible to paddle and catch wave based on your current physiology), 
  2. Paddling (better muscle and (an)aerobic capability) ,
  3. Swimming (better muscle and (an)aerobic capability), and
  4. Pilates or gymnastics (posture improvements through better core muscles). 

The fastest and easiest solution: You just have to ride the right board volume for your weight, skill and most importantly for your current fitness level. Then you don't have to worry that much about the rest. That doesn’t mean additional paddling, swimming and working on your posture won’t help. It just means that we can get the biggest improvement in that area with only one action: Riding a suitable board volume (more on how to choose the right surfboard volume).

How do you get better at wave riding?

There are several ways:

  • Positioning & wave selection (sitting at the correct position and being able to ride quality waves to do and learn maneuvers on),
  • Maneuver technique (correct performance of the sequence of movements and movements itself),
  • maneuver-decision making (correct choice of the most suitable maneuver based on the wave section),
  • agility drills (helps performing a maneuver regarding the range of motions),
  • strength training for your core muscles and legs, etc (helps performing a maneuver with more power, speed and control). 

The most important to work on is positioning & wave selection, maneuver technique and maneuver-decision making since these are the basics. Better agility or more strength are just optimizing the performed maneuver to make it more critical. But with an average fitness level you can still perform maneuvers with speed, power and flow (plus spray). This is why you see sometimes older and/or overweight surfers who are not super fit and flexible but know how to do what in the right moment and simply rip with style. Again, this doesn’t mean that additional fitness won’t help. It just means that you get the biggest improvement, focusing on your positioning, maneuver technique and maneuver-decision making.

Work on 3 skills that boost your surfing the most

The reasoning above puts all the fitness programs aside and leaves us with positioning, maneuver technique and maneuver-decision making. But how do we work on these skills?

How to work on positioning & wave selection
  • Learn about correct positioning 
    • in regards to the waves breaking
    • considering other surfers in the lineup
    • in regards to landmarks
  • Transfer the knowledge to your surf spot through professional beach observation and analysis right before you enter the water
  • Derive suitable plans on where to position (Plan A and Plan B) for your surf session
  • Surf training in the water with focus on positioning & wave selection

How to work on technique
  • High quality land simulation (especially when learning a new maneuver to slowly go through all elements of the maneuver repeatedly)
  • Guided and high-quality Surf Skateboard training (this increasingly builds muscle memory of the technique including the required balance, strength and speed)
  • Surf training in the water with focus on key aspects of the technique with increasing difficulty

How to work on maneuver-decision making
  • Guided visualization
  • Guided mindsurf training
  • Surf training in the water with focus on maneuver-decision making

To get the best effect and create real impact it is crucial to train the right things according to your skill level. In addition, technique has to be performed correctly to not create wrong and limiting habits in the long run. Or in other words: PERFECT practice makes perfect.

But how do you ensure perfect practice?

You don’t need a surf coach at the beach or in the water with you

The normal way of getting guidance to truly unlock your surfing potential is to work together with an experienced, professional surf coach. However, speaking from personal experience, finding and being able to afford the best coach is no easy task:

  • How do you identify the best coach suited to your needs?
  • Which coach has years of experience with all types of surfers?
  • Is the coach living near you?
  • What is the price of the coach?

In today's fast paced and complex world more and more people need flexibility and simplicity at the same time. Whether it is because of family time, demanding work, a busy travel schedule or altogether.


SURF6 offers elite-level coaching for every surfer anywhere and anytime. It follows the simple three step approach described above and uses a scientific and proven method to make you the best surfer you can possibly be. Start now and unlock your potential.