Improve your surfing
Min Read Time

Learning from my own mistakes in the surf

Most of the time, the best lessons come from when we try something and fail. I've outlined what I did wrong and how you can learn from my mistakes so you can apply it to your surfing.

Last Saturday, I found myself flat on my face, right in front of the local groms.

I had just taken off, dropped in, waited for the wave to stand up a bit more and done a massive bottom turn, tapping into the bottom power zone and then flat on my face.It was head high waves, off shore and perfect, minus the crowd. I saw the local groms about to drop in on me... as they always everyone...I had made this split decision that as I watched the wave stand up, I could yell out at them or I could bottom turn and set myself up to do a turn right where they were.

Nothing says get off my wave like doing a turn right near someone...I made the wrong decision...I bottom turned as hard as I could, I felt I had to, projecting up and further across than I normally would.I felt the power of the bottom power zone accelerate my board, eyeing off the section right before the groms the whole time.

And then… I blew out my fin completely…

The board was suddenly free of any control and only a rail engaged in the water.The result, me bottom turning more suddenly and rapidly, without control and landing face first, right near the groms. See I was riding this single fin shortboard and if you blow out the fin, that's it.There's a significant reason I ride this board, entirely based on what I'm training, but that's a story for another time.

As I sat there annoyed with myself, sifting through all my mistakes, I knew this was a learning experience I wanted to share with you. Peak fail forwards.

Fail forwards

Let's dissect this from a coaching perspective and unwrap all those quick thoughts I had into something that you can take away.

To learn something you have to both succeed and fail. The failures teach you those little in-between steps and partial feeling.When you succeed you discover the full feeling, the pieces come together but is hard to get that experience without going through the mistakes first, making changes and feeling more.

Now how does this relate to my failed bottom turn?If you were practising or learning to bottom turn, I would encourage you to fail spectacularly & I mean spectacularly. The point being, half measures don't work in surfing. If you half arse a bottom turn, you will not feel much. No one likes safety surfing for a reason.

How you should apply this in the surf

So my challenge to you is, to go out there with the intent of failing, pushing so hard that there are only two ways it goes:

You bottom turn hard, gain that feeling of the bottom power zone accelerating you and you fall off but learn something.You bottom turn hard and accelerate to the lip, learning how to control that feeling. Surprise yourself! Forget what the rest of the wave is doing and aim to learn something through feeling. Go big or go home.

Realising what you can do with a bit of effort is a huge win. You can do this approach with everything in surfing.

Now if you are going to try this, remember correct form and technique, hold the bottom turn, look where you want to go and leaning.If you try it by just pushing or doing the wrong movement, you are going to feel the wrong things which will either breed bad habits or just confuse you.

If you want to learn proper technique, improve your bottom turn and start surfing to learn these feelings, you can jump in and start our 12 Week Program now.Click here to find out more about the 12 Week Program.

Are you going to try this? Do you live and breathe fail forwards? Let me know!

Written by
Luke Hardacre
surf coaching