Do you need a little reminder of what you learnt in your first week of surfing? Or you just simply never surfed before? Here is 7-time WSL World Champion Stephanie Gilmore to help you out. As part of the Make Waves, Moves Mountains movement by ROXY, which is aiming to encourage all women of all ages to try surfing, she gives three lessons on the very basics of surfing. She also talks about how surfing can influence your life in many different ways. This series not only helps out beginners, it is also super inspiring when you pay attention to what she says between the lines. If you want to find out how to get as stylish as Stephanie on the board then this is exactly what you are looking for.
Stephanie surfs since she is 10 years old. She learnt to surf with her dad using his 6’3” swallow tail board as her first surfboard. Why this is maybe not the smartest choice for a surf beginner she will explain you in Lesson 1: Choosing the Right Board.
So, “the right choice of board should give you excitement, joy, and put a smile on your face. Just like everything in life”. Interesting! Through her experience her tips help even advanced surfers, for example that riding a bigger board from time to time will make your surfing more stylish, more flowy. Enough about boards, let’s hear what she got for us in Lesson 2: Paddling, Popping Up and Proper Stance.
Clearly, Stephanie is a natural surf talent and not necessarily a surf teacher that taught these movements over and over and saw the main mistakes happening. Because of that I would slightly disagree with her on kicking your feet while you are paddling for the wave as a beginner. Here are my reasons NOT to kick the feet while you paddle: In order to catch a wave you need to get a similar speed with your board as the wave has, usually around 9km/h for an average wave. To pick up that speed it’s very important to keep the board in a stable position on the water: flat, and consistently moving into one direction. If you have a lot of body movement (kicking the feet plus moving your arms) it’s obviously harder to keep the board in a steady state, it makes all kinds of little wobbles here and there and disturbs the water from flowing underneath the board = it breaks you down again. So here is my opinion on paddling. Unless you have a badass core muscle system like she and other pro surfers have to keep the board stable and surf a board short enough to have your feet in the water then it’s better to…
- keep your feet together,
- point the toes (ballerina style),
- and avoid any unnecessary movement besides the arms that paddle as strong as they can
while you are paddling for the wave. Sorry Steph, I am only speaking from experience and you are definitely still my hero. Here is Lesson #3: Wave Selection & Surf Etiquette in which you will find out why she recommends you go out when “the ocean looks friendly” and that being mindful out in the lineup is key.
Priority rule mistakes, drop in’s, ditching the surfboard – everyone must go through all of this at one point in their surfing career. Stephanie asks us to “pay attention to all the natural elements” in surfing, but that is a whole lot of things to consider. Just get out there and practice, whether it is in the ocean, on the streets with a surf skateboard, or just with anything that makes you happy. If you have fun, this will also show in your life!
Feel free to drop a comment below, ask a question or just anything that came to your mind while you watched the videos and let’s have a little chat about the beginner tips of Stephanie Gilmore.