Surfing Technique - The Pop Up
All of you who've had your first lesson with us here at BGSS will have been taught our unique 5-Step Technique, it goes through, step by step, how to catch a wave and get to your feet. What you may not know is that we are the ONLY surf school that teaches this exact technique as it's one that we developed ourselves!
Don't get me wrong, we're not claiming to have re-invented the wheel here, the technique of standing up by driving off your back foot is used by the majority of surfers around the world and many surf schools teach that method (although not many in the UK!). However at BGSS we broke the movement down into 5 distinct steps to make it easier to learn and to ensure that you're in control of your board at all times, it's something that we're very proud of and the results really do speak for themselves!
The biggest mis-conception when learning to surf is that many people think you have to stand up in a fraction of a second in order to "do it properly". Nothing could be further from the truth; of course if you want to improve your surfing then speed becomes more and more important as you start to surf more advanced waves, but we want you to let that come naturally. It's no good jumping up in a split-second if everything is landing in the wrong place and you're off balance. We take the approach that doing it slower but doing it right and being in control of the board throughout the process is the most important thing. If you focus on that, then you'll find that speed comes naturally the more times you practice it and that before you know it you're getting to your feet in 1 smooth motion, ready to respond to whatever that wave throws at you!
Step 1 - Lying on the board
Sounds simple but this is where your wave starts. If you're not lying in the right place, not balanced, not streamlined, then there's no way your going to have a good wave. That's why your coach will be focusing on that step and re-enforcing it throughout your first lesson and even as you advance. By having the board 'neutrally balanced' in the water you're going to achieve not only more balance but also the best 'planing ability' and therefore the best speed when you move onto Step 2 and start to paddle the board.
Step 2 - Paddling
Again, absolutely vital, if you don't catch the wave and catch it at the right speed, then you either don't get a wave at all, or you'll be buffetted and knocked around by the power of it, losing control before you've even started to paddle. This is something that sets BGSS apart from other schools, as we believe that unless you can paddle and catch your own waves then you'll struggle to advance beyond having lessons. We want to make sure you can enjoy surfing on your own, outside of lessons, therefore catching your own waves is absolutely key!
Step 3 - Prone Surfing (Chicken-Wings)
This stage is the first time where you're actually being propelled forwards by the wave rather than generating your own speed. It's also the time where we want you to take control and start to decide which direction and how fast you're travelling. All of that comes down to 2 things; where you place your hands on the board & your weight distribution. Your coach will be helping find that 'sweet-spot' on the board which will be key as you move forward and start to get to your feet.
Step 4 - Back Foot Placement
If you slow down footage of ANY pro popping up to their feet then you'll see their back-foot landing a fraction of a second before their front. The reason for that is that they're taking control of the fins on the surfboard. This is what we're trying to ensure happens with your pop-up right from the start. The subtleties of how you do this will be explained by your coach, but essentially we're looking to apply pressure to the fins of the board, forcing them to engage with the wave, before moving on to Step 5 and driving off that back-foot to your full, standing position.
By mastering this step and really feeling comfortable, then you're setting yourself up for success as you advance onto more challenging waves. Being able to control the board right from the start will make transitioning to the more challenging un-broken waves much easier and you'll be so stoked you nailed it during your beginner lessons!
Step 5 - Up and riding!
You've laid all the foundations, now it's time to get all the way up to your feet and ACTUALLY surf the wave! The key here is not to rush - speed will come naturally as you practice this movement more and more. What we want at the moment is for you to be in control of your movements; not only ensuring that your front foot lands properly on that sweet-spot, but also being aware of what the rest of your body (arms, head, knees, hips etc) is doing. We'll be spending some time getting everything working together, before you know it you'll be up and riding, experiencing that stoke that just keeps people coming back!
Obviously we're always here for a tweak up anytime you want to advance your surfing, but if you're struggling in catching waves at any time, just think back to that first beginner lesson and see if a bit of re-focusing fixes that problem!
Catch you all in the surf soon!