Hi Everyone! Looks like I've slipped up on my goal to blog once a week. Well a lot has been going on here at Conatus headquarters, not least of which has been teaching surfing every day of the week. We've had some great windswell pulses through the end of July into the start of August. Monday was the biggest I've seen Rockaway in a long time. It made for challenging conditions for one of my bravest students, but he handled it like a champ and even managed to drop into some solid four foot waves. It's all about patience and enjoying the adrenaline that fear produces.
I have been focusing a lot on the idea of "committing to the vertical" lately. It is very common for beginning and even intermediate surfers to shy away from the takeoff by standing up too early or not paddling hard enough in the first place. It's scary to all of a sudden be almost upside down, but what is crucial is that this verticality provides you the space to get your feet under your arms in a more fluid manner. Standing at this moment also puts the weight into the center/back of the board and aids in managing the drop and picking a clean line down the face. But even if you do not manage to get to your feet you have to commit to this vertical moment usually just to catch the wave. For some softer, spilling, mushy waves you'll have the luxury of just planing forward and in these cases I have been recommending that you get the board going down the line in the "upward dog" position, which is half way between standing and laying down. What is key here is that you're not doing this at the bottom of the wave. If you're down there it's too late for you to get across. You must go to the side at the top and from the beginning. This, like committing to the vertical drop, requires a lot of timing and positioning. You need to move yourself to the apex of the peak -- the point of most power -- to enable an easy entry. Sounds simple but it takes a lot of work and requires that ever-important paddling foundation.
Another thing I mentioned to a student this week, is that sometimes gifting yourself surfy treats is a good way to stay amped for your next time out. This could be a short john wetsuit (or any wetsuit really), a surf dvd, a bikini, a bar of wax, a magazine or book, just anything surf related. You can get stuff like this online or at a local shop and this kind of contribution to your surf 401K, if you will, will pad your stoke and keep you anxious to get out again.
On my end, when not taking off under the lip, I'm trying to commit to the drop a little bit more in growing my business. This week and next I will roll out/ announce Conatus Surf Club lessons in Montauk with Chris Blotiau (if you're interested right now simply email me about setting something up out there) and Conatus Surf Club retreats in Costa Rica for this winter (Dec/Jan) at Rancho Diandrew. I'm really excited about both of these growth opportunities, which ultimately stem from a desire to provide intensive surf training experiences for those who are serious and keen about their surfing journey. I will have blog posts about both of them very soon.
This weekend it looks like we have another run of fun summer surf and fine weather. Remember to both commit to the vertical and stay safe!