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3 New Years Resolutions for Surfers

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As we charge into the new year, there is something we love about the opportunity to drop any bad habits or explore something new altogether. Last year, we tried something new by creating our own New Year's Resolutions for Surfers, where we came up with ideas like surfing a new spot, learning a new skill, and being more sustainable. Looking back, how did you do? If you screwed up this year, don’t worry, we’ve dreamt up a whole new set of resolutions for you to fail at in the first month of 2024!

1. Become an Early Bird

(Photo: Lena Adrian) 

Let me give you a throwback to one of our first blogs, The Art of the Dawn Patrol, where I took you surfing at one of our favourite local beaches right at the crack of dawn. We scored some epic wave, and there was no one else around. Reap the rewards of waking up in the dark, donning wetsuits and paddling out when you can barely see the waves breaking. 

On top of the fact that you will have caught more waves in a shorter time, you will have the satisfaction of finishing your session, as most surfers are still suiting up in the parking lot. Bask in the glory of telling people how good you got it, then start your day with that post-surf blissful feeling that will kick-start any productivity you hope to achieve.

2. Identify and work on fixing bad surfing habits.

Being positive about your surfing is important. However, we also want a realistic view of our bad habits. These can range from technique problems, such as a cheeky knee on the board when you pop-up, or tyrannosaurus arms when you’re turning, to more mental blocks, such as hesitating in steep waves due to fear.

(Photo: Scott Gringich) 

When approaching habits, it is not enough to simply say: “Don’t do that!”, if we want to tackle these, we have to replace our bad habits with good ones. Give your sefl a tangible, simple adjustment you can apply in your sessions. Let me give you some examples of how I would fix the habits I described earlier:

A cheeky knee on the board when you pop-up: When learning the pop-up, jumping in a smooth motion can be difficult, and often we will place the knee on the board as an intermediate step to break the pop-up into two parts. This can work in the whitewash but can hold us back when surfing steeper, breaking waves.  To break this habit, before each session, do a warm up and practice 3x smooth pop-ups on the beach where you consciously focus on the knees not coming into contact with your imaginary surfboard. This visualization and dryland practice will turn into positive results in the water.

Tyrannosaurus arms: This means too much tension in the arms! We need to learn to relax our arms and engage them at the right moment to maintain balance. Start by catching a wave and say out loud: “Relax the arms!” Simultaneously drop the shoulders and imagine that your arms are like freshly cooked Udon noodles. The effect will be that your upper body is loose and responsive, ready to fire up when you want to lean into a turn.

 (Photo: Scott Gringich) 

Hesitating in steep waves due to fear: This is a huge one and perhaps one of the hardest habits to break. We are all confronted with this, and it's about getting more comfortable going for and catching those waves that scare you. Start by assessing your comfort zone in terms of wave size and power. 

What size waves feel easy and stress-free for you? It's okay if that’s a 1ft wave!! 

To get comfortable going for bigger waves, try surfing a swell one foot bigger than your comfort zone. Now, practice wiping out on these waves. Once you can get a few wipeouts in, you will learn that it is not so bad, and the fear and hesitation will become more manageable. Build yourself up incrementally in this way.

3. Be more kind, in and out of the water.

(Photo: Scott Gringich) 

Surfing can be frustrating. Waves are fickle and fleeting. More people are getting into it, making crowds another issue to navigate. This year, resolve to be kinder to yourself and everyone out there. Start by not taking yourself too seriously; learn to laugh at yourself when you make a mistake. This will in turn make it easier to give the same courtesy to others.

When I was a beginner surfer some years ago in BC, I had just caught a wave and paddled back out when a more advanced surfer caught one in front of me. The wave lurched up, and threw a big blue barrel over him. I froze, staring up at the wave as he threaded the needle through it.

I panicked and ditched my board right in his path, causing him to wipe out, and we were both sucked into the vortex of the wave.

As we surfaced, I looked at him wide-eyed, apologizing. He looked at me, paused, and said,

“No worries. Good to see young guys like you out here!” He paddled back towards the peak.

In his kindness, the point this guy made was far more profound than if he had lost his temper with me. Though he doesn't know it, this happened about 10 years ago, but it remains a standard for how I behave in the water and beyond.

Happy New Year from all of us at Pacific Surf Company!

(Blog Written by Adam Tory) 

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