Advanced Surfing Technique: Analyzing Your Mistakes

Surfing is a sport, and as with any sport, an athlete is bound to make mistakes and have weaknesses. Some may say that to become a better surfer you just need more time in the water, but this is only partially true. You also need also to make the most of that time, not just keep repeating the same mistakes. Training and technique are part of the equation to improve your surfing skills.

When you’re in the water, and you know what to do, it may feel right, but have you intentionally watched yourself to analyze your technique? Just like some people don’t recognize their own recorded voice, and just as public speakers are often shocked to realize the hand gestures or body language they are using, surfers sometimes miss the subtle flaws that are hindering them from advancing to the next level of their sport.

When it comes to analyzing your surf rides, a mental analysis is not good enough alone. Video analysis is essential to facing the current state of your skills. Keep in mind, there is really great news when it comes to the idea of video analysis:


Visit many websites for surfing coaches or schools, and they will offer video analysis services as a part of their coaching. While live, in-person classes and training are essential, especially for beginners, a video is often the most effective method for advanced surfers to continue their upward trajectory in the surfing world. A quick visit to Youtube will provide plenty of examples of surf analysis videos. And of course, watching the masters at work can help give you insights as well.


Can’t afford a surfing coach right now? No problem! Not too long ago, getting an excellent video analysis of your ride would be difficult. But today’s inexpensive, readily available technology can provide many ways to capture a moment to analyze later. With only a friend, a mobile phone camera and a Go-Pro, you could have multiple perspectives to examine out of the water. And if you have access to higher tech equipment, so much the better for the quality of the details.


While analysis of your technique will hopefully be helpful in your training, it’s important to remember that analyzing your mistakes is to make you the best surfer you can be, not to compare yourself to anyone else. Surfing is known for its positive culture, so don’t kill the positive vibes by being overly critical; maintain an attitude of hope for your future as a surfer.

There is an excellent power in facing your own weaknesses and taking them on with the right attitude. Hit the water and keep in mind what Matt Warshaw once said: “Surfing, alone among sports, generates laughter at its very suggestion, and this is because it turns not a skill into an art, but an inexplicable and useless urge into a vital way of life.”