What surfer doesn’t want to improve their surfing? Most surfers, however, don’t tend to seek out much training beyond the tip tricks featured in TransWorld Surf and Surfer.
If you’re looking to improve your surfing then the best thing you could probably do is to hire a surf coach to give you private lessons. However, most people can’t really afford this or just don’t have the time to invest. Perhaps the thought of a surf coach is just too much commitment. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get comparable instruction. Enter SurfCoach.com, an attempt to fill in the gap and enable surfers to break through plateaus and perfect new skills and maneuvers.
Martin Dunn is the creator of SurfCoach.com, an online training center offering video tutorials and instruction on proper surf techniques and skills. He was kind enough to give The Surfing Handbook a full access pass to check out the program.
SurfCoach.com has been around the internet for a while in various shapes and forms, but recently Martin has revamped the site into an “on demand” online video format and is putting new efforts into adding more content on a regular basis. “You will see that the site is my attempt to really help surfers through the internet,” Says Martin. “Two new movies are going up this month, and I hope to produced at least that number each month into the forseeable future. I reckon when I’m finished there should be 150+ movies on the site within the next 5 years.”
SurfCoach.com offers training material for all levels, from fresh beginner to advanced.
The beginner materials cover the basics of how to correctly paddle the surfboard, pop up, and catch green unbroken waves. The video materials provide a good backdrop so newbies can visualize the skills they will need to master.
The meat of the course lies in the power moves section, where Martin goes over basic and advanced maneuvers on the wave such as the cutback, forehand and backhand re-entries, correct bottom turns, finish maneuvers, floaters and snaps.
The coaching doesn’t just stop at the surfing videos, however. Martin offers a whiteboard training video for each main maneuver with tips on how to apply what you heard and saw in the surfing clip. For example, in the whiteboard video on speed creation, Martin highlights some incorrect techniques and habits that many surfers tend to fall into. Martin also offers tips on how to practice specific techniques on land using a longboard skateboard. Using a longboard skateboard is a great way to get in the necessary repetitions that are required to get a skill into your muscle memory and erase bad habits.
Also included with each major maneuver is a “training card,” which is basically a color PDF printout that you can take with you on your surfs so that you can make a quick review before you paddle out. These are pretty helpful tools to remind yourself of key points.
“I have a lot of experience and IP that surfers will find useful,” says Martin. “It isn’t just a matter of presenting to surfers how surfing should be done, but also ways to create change in their performances. Hence the movies on staying focused, writing notes on the surfboard, and using a skateboard to simulate the actions. By having an understanding of correct technique or decision making skills, correction strategies, and coupled with a surfer’s desire to improve, performance can be improved.”
“Most surfers reach a plateau quickly in their performances, and their solution is to surf more and/or buy new equipment. But the reality is that flawed technique is usually the issue. fix the technique, and better performances and with that more confidence results.”
In my opinion, SurfCoach.com is one of the best training materials available to help surfers get off their “plateau” and get back on the road to improving their skills. In checking out Martin’s videos and applying them to my own surfing I’ve already noticed an improvement. I have started small, which is important according to Martin. If you try to do too much at once – such as watch three skill videos and attempt to apply them all in one session – you’ll get frustrated.
So, I started at square one, which is the speed creation video. In the past five or so sessions I’ve just been focusing on throwing my arms to create forward momentum down the line. I’ve definitely noticed an improvement in my speed as well as my confidence in propelling myself down the line. I used to tend to just point the nose of my board and hope for the best, but now I’ve noticed that I have more control and purpose when I take off. I’m also slowly getting rid of the “huntington hop” (bouncing up and down spastically) that I would try to use to get speed, replacing it with a much more controlled rail to rail acceleration.
The videos on each maneuver are short, but you’ll find that you’re going to be watching them over and over to digest the skills shown. Amazingly enough there are Regular and Goofy versions of the videos for most maneuvers. The videos are excellent – the level of surfing is very high, and they illustrate perfectly the technique that you’re trying to adapt. One of the biggest problems I have with surfing tips and how-to’s for advanced maneuvers (especially from magazines) is that the writer simply cannot convey the body mechanics necessary in words. Even a picture is not enough. You really need to watch a surfer performing a maneuver in order to really “get it.” Maybe that’s just me and my learning style, but I have a feeling most people are the same. It can be pretty hard to try to read a description of a move and picture it in your head well enough to “mind surf” it out and rehearse it in your head.
For competitors there is an entire section on competition training. Lessons here include wave selection, positioning, strategic thinking, and more. This is a must for anyone looking to really accelerate in contests.
One package includes special videos for your ipod or iphone, which are basically like the training cards in electronic form. I liked this little feature, although it would be nice to see it divided up into smaller videos for easier access to the beginning of each technique. It’s good to have, though, and to watch quickly before paddling out.
Overall I think that SurfCoach.com is an excellent tool for improving your surfing. Aside from having your own personal coach, it’s probably one of if not the best surfing instructional tool I have come across. Martin plans to be able to incorporate video analysis in the near future as well, so surfers can upload video of themselves and have Martin critique them.
The only downside I see here is the price, which might be a bit high for many people. However, if you’re looking for quality material and you can afford it, I highly recommend SurfCoach.com.
Head over to the website to check out some great training videos that are available for free! The free videos alone are excellent tools.
Check Out: SurfCoach.com
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