One of the great things about the digital age is being able to stay right up to speed with what the world’s best are doing in the water. With the WSL’s superb live webcasts and a seemingly endless supply of awe-inspiring clips at our fingertips, new inspiration is never far away. But no matter how outrageous the waves and/or feats of athleticism might be, if you’re trying to improve you need to get into the habit of dissecting what you see with the eye of an apprentice. Take this clip of Nathan Florence at Teahupoo for instance…
[themedy_media type=”youtube” url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IPrzmryEfY#action=share”]
This started going viral about a week ago, and for good reason. It’s hard not to be blown away. Most of us will never surf waves like this, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take lessons from young Mr Florence’s approach and apply them to our own attempts at surfing bigger/heavier waves.
Part of the reason that John John’s younger brother sticks a seemingly impossible take off is his paddling speed. Despite the late start, he paddles so damn hard that he doesn’t travel too far up the wave = less of a drop. A good approach when paddling into heavier waves, or any wave for that matter, is to try and paddle hard enough that you stay towards the bottom of the wave while you get to your feet. The closer you can get to the speed of the wave the better. Catch the wave, don’t let it catch you!
Paddling fitness, a lightning fast pop-up and the ability to ‘knife in’ at an angle were all part of Florence‘s success, but also note his complete lack of hesitation. We’re guessing there was some sibling rivalry fuelling the decision to tackle this monster, but there’s no question he wanted it. And that desire, combined with a positive mental attitude – visualising the right result – banished all negativity, and therefore hesitation, from his mind. Where your desire to surf scary waves comes from is down to you, but without it, well, you might as well stay on the beach.