I only took up surfing when we moved to Morocco about 6 years ago – I had never been on a surfboard or skateboard before.
When you live right next to the ocean, you just have to try it. Our first outings were a disaster, we just got bashed to bits. I had a lesson with an old mate, his advice was to forget it!
When someone tells me I can’t, then I work harder to do it. Slowly, you pick up a few tips, get a few lessons and a bit of fitness and suddenly things click – you can kind of surf. So a few years on, and a whole lot of wipeouts later, you are almost good enough to actually say you can surf.
I worked out pretty early that I would never be a shortboarder – I’m too old, too inflexible, and don’t have the sheer guts to tackle big waves and strong currents. So I took up longboarding. 2 years ago, I bought a proper longboard – a Torq 9’6 – which is a monster of a board, but suitable for my size, age and fitness. This changed everything for me and my skills improved beyond belief.
I am pretty much the oldest in the lineup on every session. But I kick arse out there and get noticed a lot – many of the instructors know me and make lots of positive comments – many other surfers say I am an inspiration to them – so I am really happy that all this work has paid off – the old guy can actually surf!
My surfing buddy Andrea took some amazing shots of me the other day, I was surfing at Banana Point in reasonably good conditions, with plenty of power and some nice waves, ideal for Longboarders. As a longboarder, I aim to take waves long before they break – called green waves – and my aim is to ride them for huge distances before the section finally closes out and breaks.
Andrea captured a great sequence that I wanted to share – this shows exactly how to get a long ride out of a wave.
Pic 1 – Catching the wave – getting in position to get some speed – slightly biased to the wave and not straight to the beach – this allows a quick bottom turn without nose diving.
Pic 2 – A bottom turn – this gives you control and gets you back into the wave from the initial take-off – looking down the wave in your direction of travel is critical
Pic 3 – Transition along the wave, getting ready to move back up the face to gather speed – the top third of the wave carries the power and speed
Pic 4 – Pushing from the top third of the wave down to the bottom of the wave, accelerating to get passed a closing section, ready to go again on the next section
Pic 5 – Driving hard to get passed the breaking section, ready to bottom turn again and go back up the face of the wave.
If you get this right, and the waves have good energy, you can easily keep this momentum up for a really long ride.
The initial front post picture is one of my last waves of the session – I wanted to get home and so picked a small wave with a really nice shape to take me right across the bay – I managed to keep it going for a very long time – Andrea captured this so well – it’s now printed out and on my wall!
I hope this post helps – I am no expert but this works for me – getting a few shots of yourself surfing is always a thrill – but it highlights all your bad habits – so more work to do for me!
Photo credits to Andrea Disler of Salty Goats Surfcamp