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Matt Meola punts a huge air in Maui. Photo: @1more808

“You’ll be surprised what you can land if you commit,” says Matt Meola in his Aerial Surfing class with Inspire Courses. Photo: @1more808 //Dayanidhi Das

The Inertia

Standing on the beach (or cliff) and checking the surf for 15 or 20 minutes is par for the course for every surfer. We check for a variety of conditions, from the intervals of time between sets to establishing landmarks we can line up with in the water. Matt Meola does this just like the rest of us, only when it comes to airs, his checklist becomes a little different.

“I figure out what (the wave is) good for,” he says in his Guide to Aerial Surfing on Inspire Courses+, noting that once he’s out there he then has to decide which specific maneuvers are even on the table that day given the conditions. “You’re going to get all different types of air sections. You’re going to get closeouts. You’re going to get ones where it’s better for airing out of the pocket of the wave.”

For Meola, being in tune with conditions has an entirely unique application for his air game. If he has a maneuver he’s been waiting to work on, today might not be the day for it. Or maybe the takeoff section is just right and fitting reps into a closing window is a now-or-never proposition.

He takes this information into the water with him to inform his decision making in terms of finding waves that work for airs. He leans on these three points of emphasis:

1. Choose the right wave.
2. Decipher what the section is good for (what type of air will work in what section).
3. Commitment to the landing.

Advising surfers to check the waves before a surf isn’t exactly a groundbreaking secret. But for surfers looking to add an above-the-lip repertoire to their game, Meola’s pre-surf checks are a reminder that you’ll start observing an entirely new list of factors as you progress.

“Before you’re taking off, you have to have that in mind and know exactly what that wave is good for and be ready for that.”

Editor’s Note:  Access Matt Meola’s Guide to Aerial Surfing and our entire library of digital courses with a membership to the brand new Inspire Courses+, which includes 18 classes (and counting) and 340 video lessons taught by icons of surf and the outdoors. For a limited time, The Inertia is offering Buy One, Gift One Free with each new membership. Perfect for the holiday season. 


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