Surfing analysis fun
Min Read Time

Ignorance is bliss - is it less fun being analytical of your surfing

Sometimes analysing our own surfing can lead to major improvements in our surfing, but when does it become too much and kill the fun?

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The Full Guide

I saw this great post on the OMBE Community by BP - shout out to whatever your real name is BP - and they said- Simple is beautiful. Less is more. Does being analytical of your surfing remove the joy?

I thought this was an amazing question and one I feel very close to me as it’s been the last 10 years of my surfing and I am a huge fan of anyone undergoing personal development.

However I agree, when does this kill the fun? 

When does all the analysis and pushing ourselves turn from betterment to killing the fun?

So, I want to ask you, and think about it, is being analytical of your surfing helping or killing the vibe?

Has your surfing improved, are you finding new fun?

To be honest this comes back to the 4 stages of learning podcast episode, its about how you personally learn and what’s more important to you?

What do you value more, your comfort zone or improvement?

Do you value change, improvement, getting better, new challenges, new experiences, potential more fun experiences…

Or do you value your comfort zone more than those outcomes?

It doesn’t matter what you prefer and that question can and is meant to be confronting because most surfers are stuck in their comfort zones, it’s why we stagnate and why we compound bad habits. 

But this guide isn’t about the comfort zone, that’s a whole other conversation.

Making it personal

Nor is this about kook shaming or telling someone what they should do. It’s a question of what do you want, how do you learn, what excites you, how fast you want to progress and how being analytical or not may help you get there.

Like everything, it’s about personal connection and how it helps you. What works for me may not work for you.

Capturing lightning doesn’t happen twice

I was previously surfing in Byron Bay at the pass. Throughout this surf, I kept seeing the same surfer and a few things stuck out to me.

Firstly, they had no idea what they were doing, their stance was horrible, it looked closer to the splits and they were all tense and had no control.

But, as I said, this isn’t kook shaming, I watched this surfer and realised there is nothing I could say to them, nor should I, not everyone wants coaching but more importantly, I was jealous.

I watched this surfer, awkward but sit right in the pocket, despite all the movements, they were basically picking a straight line and sat in the best part of the wave. They were a beginner and their body language was 100% mind blown. They had hands-on head thinking, what just happened, the woo’s and cheers were infectious. 

The grumpy surf coach 10 seconds ago, seeing the faults was seeing the pure joy and ecstasy, all grumpiness faded instantly. I was jealous, that level of mind blown excitement doesn’t come easy now.

But that’s the point and part of the problem. 

I was proud of this surfer, they were hands down having the most fun. But they are going to struggle to recapture that pure excitement again and again - and that’s not a skill-based thing.

It’s experience. After all their waves feeling like that, they will get use to it, their comfort zone will expand and they will not find the same excitement again.

Things are exciting the first few times, then excitement comes from other parts, being in flow, relaxed and doing what you want to do. When you can’t do what you want and we fail, that’s when it kills the fun.

We either take the failure, cop it and go yeah I just won’t get it or you try to figure out how to reach the next high and work on it. 

How being analytical will help build the fun

Being too analytical can kill the fun, you’ve gotta find the easy way to be analytical while still being hungry for improvement and enjoying the process.

You don’t want this to snowball into negative self-talk. That will kill surfing for you altogether. Move away from the I cant’s to how can I? Ask questions rather than put yourself down.

The only thing missing is either awareness of the ocean and how to tap into it at that point, the understanding of how to do that movement, how to quiet the mind to allow you to move, ensuring your body can move efficiently and doing it with a calm attitude, and finally matching the right board for the job. 

The OMBE lens

That’s your O.M.B.E, viewing your issue through the OMBE lens, hows my ocean, mind, body and equipment and it goes in that order. Equipment is the last thing you change or play with. This will be a future guide as well.

Finding the right blend of fun and improvement

It’s more about how you manage your expectations, the feedback loop and what you do with that information.

Your expectations are killing your surfing. The best surfs you have are where you expect nothing and it’s just fun. For some surfers, that’s jumping onto a foamie in crap waves and coming out thinking, “that was actually really fun”. 

Whenever I mentally think, “the surf is gonna suck, I’ll just take a board in case I feel like getting wet” I somehow come out beaming thinking what a sick surf. 

Your feedback loop is all about how to get feedback, what do you take away from it and what you do with that insight. 

This is the hardest part as filming ourselves is difficult in the surf. But land-based training is easy. Just get your phone and film what you were working on, even skating. If it looked awkward it would have felt awkward. So go and do quick runs, review the footage and work through the feelings and making it less awkward, just chase easy and comfortable.

When it comes to surfing, get a friend in the surf to give you feedback but take it with a grain of salt. They may not have the best O.M.B.E Lens and they may notice the wrong things. Work on making that feedback simple, effective and focus on one small thing at a time.

My personal experience analysing my own surfing and having it analysed by Clay

Wouldn’t change it at all. Love it and don’t want to go back to being ignorant. It’s opened up so many new avenues, ways to have fun and I love the challenge, I personally love constantly working on improving and being slightly better than before.

I find the opportunity and knowing there is more I can do or improve really exciting, it means I’ve not plateaued, I just need to use the OMBE lens and figure out what I need to do to figure out the next steps. It’s all about possibilities rather than pain.

But, remember you only get out what you put in.

The more effort you put in, or bigger and quicker the feedback loop, the quicker the process - assuming you have the answers to improve.

And the most important thing is find the pace, style and levels of fun or challenges you work towards that suit you. It’s personal development, not follow what I do, it needs to suit you so you can get the most out of it. Play with it and find how you can get more joy out of figuring out what's going on in your surfing.

Note: it’s not about what you are doing wrong, it’s about what you CAN do to make it better.

All you have to do is balance that analytical frustration, drop the ego and finding fun.

Written by
Luke Hardacre
surf coaching