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Photo: The Inertia/Connor Guest

Photo: The Inertia/Connor Guest

The Inertia

Surfing is the best way to progress your surfing. It’s simple. More waves equals more time refining technique, more time having fun, more time clocking the tiny little things to build on and enjoy the ride that is progression and growth. But that doesn’t mean the learning stops once we’re all dried off and back on land. If you ask Leah Dawson, in fact, she’ll tell you there is great value in watching surfing if you strive to grow your abilities. Watch other surfers. Watch footage of yourself. And take mental notes.

“It really does require all of your focus, and really does allow you to be right in that moment of paying hyper attention to everything that the ocean is doing at that time,” Leah says in her Guide to Alternative Surf Craft.

Here, she explains two valuable things that come from…

Watching Others Surf

Aside from giving us the itch to get out and catch a few waves ourselves, identifying surfers whose style we enjoy can teach us a lot. In Leah’s eyes, watching these same people is an opportunity to get very specific and focus on more than just style.

“Pay attention to what they’re doing with their feet, pay attention to what they’re doing with their hands, how they paddle, the angle that they’re taking off on, the way that they are making speed,” she lists off. To Leah, it’s “all these different kinds of nuances that can come just by observing.”

The beauty here is you don’t need to sit in front of your computer for hours watching footage of other people. You can sit on the beach and watch other surfers that catch your eye or even just make a point to observe while you’re in the lineup. It’s definitely one way to make your downtime between catching waves productive.

Watching Footage of Yourself

Every surfer has joked about the vision they hold of themselves on a wave being crushed by the reality of seeing it all on film. You could have sworn that wave was bigger, your posture better, and your movements more smooth and coordinated. But don’t shy away from opportunities to see footage of yourself on a wave. As Leah points out, it can give you just as much valuable information to keep progressing.

“Being able to see what we’re doing on a wave can really help us decipher what it is that may be causing us to fall a certain way over and over and over again,” she gives an example. “Or maybe why we’re not catching the waves as efficiently as we would hope to. A lot of these different things we can point out on video.”

Her suggestion here is to simply strike a deal with a friend. “I’ll surf for half an hour, you surf for half an hour,” she says. And don’t make it too complicated, because even a simple clip captured on your smartphone can give you all of this feedback

Editor’s Note: Read more about Leah Dawson’s Guide to Alternative Surf Craft here. You can also learn more about Leah’s approach to surfing in her Guide to Alternative Surf Craft with Inspire Courses. The 17-video lesson digital course highlights several of Leah’s favorite boards as well as insights into the techniques and mechanics that can be applied to surfing a variety of boards in any quiver. Access the course today. 


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