how hard was it for you?

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Well, how hard was it?

piece of f**ken cake
not as hard as golf
harder than almost any other sport
10 yrs later and I still can't do a turn
Total votes: 37

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Post by marcus_h » Wed Dec 03, 2008 5:58 pm

I started I suppose before I actually knew what surfing was. Up until the age of 9 I lived in the UAE in a town called Jebel Ali. Windsurfing was massive due to the strong afternoon sea-breeze which also brought some shitty windchop which I stared inadvertently surfing on an old coolite sorta thing just before we left.

Got to Aus (Sylvania) just before christmas 1990 and picked up a foamy bodyboard plus flippers - that started my love with the ocean. Progressed on a booger from there and I guess got ok at it.

Fast foward to 2000 at Buderim on the coast as a 18 yr old and the old dude starts surfing, I tried it a few times prefering the booger. At the end of that year I bought myself an Mooloolaba Longboard 7'8" - biggest piece of tail heavy shit ever but it started my stoke. I got sorta proficient on this and picked it up fairly quickly I think. Ended up trading this in for a 9'1" McTavish/Beachbeat Jason Blewitt (which I still have for the big days)which just clicked for me. Started trying little cutties etc but always after more especially noseriding.

Then I got more into logs got a Classic Mal Jai Lee Noserider from the olds for my 21st - this improved my surfing heaps. At this time as well I picked up a 6'1" single fin off Brian Wier. I think I gave up too easy on this as I couldnt surf it at all being too used to the way the log surfed.

In the last year and a half ive picked up a 6'4" twinny and a 6'1" fatbat from Mark. Im trying to concentrate more on the shortboarding side of things now that im happy where my longboarding is (5, 10s' etc etc).

That was long, clif notes - booger first, then mal, bit of shortboarding, more mal, now concentrating on shortboards again
Last edited by marcus_h on Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Trev » Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:00 pm

I first rode a surfboard in 1962 at Kirra and I can remember it clearly. I was almost 15 and my Dad had arranged for me to join the Kirra SLSC "to build me up."
One of the clubbies was nice enough to lend me his Malibu which was probably 9'6" and as I was your traditional 90 pound weakling it probably didn't even know I was on its back.
I had grown up on the coast with body surfing, surf-o-planes and a coolite all part of my upbringing from the age of 8.
So I paddled this board out the back, caught a gently rolling wave, stood up and leaned gently into a right turn and rode the board some distance. This isn't bullshit. It required no talent on my part. In fact I'd suggest that my total ignorance of how difficult it should be, combined with my ultra light weight meant that it just "happened".
And I was hooked.
I begged, borrowed and stole (borrowed without asking) boards for about 18 months until I could earn enough on my school holidays to buy a custom built Joe Larkin.
Through high school and for a couple of years afterwards I would say I was above competent but always with an inbuilt sense of fear which has never left me. It's only there when the waves get head high or above although I have conquered it enough to ride double overhead.
This is an interesting thing which I put down to my fear of heights. Paddling for a wave which has me looking down a virtual cliff face requires great mental strength to take the drop. I've learned to live with it.
Oh. And I've never felt the need to "progress" off longboards. I still get the same buzz as that first day in 1962, when I turn and trim across the face

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Post by marcus » Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:04 pm

judging by the tallent at newcastle... it must be bloody hard to surf.

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Post by AlbyAl » Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:06 pm

Two words: perseverance and ... MIMICRY

The second was most important for me and still is for most I believe: initial big improvements came from watching others (while out in the water with them) and seeing how they paddled, sat on board, spun round to take off, moved into position early etc.

Painful first 10 sessions across a few weeks - then a breakthrough first ride on unbroken wave ... hooked for life.

Be prepared to persevere longer than you imagine necessary.

Learn to paddle well first (can't paddle? Can't catch waves.0

Copy others - way they hold the board, duckdive, paddle etc: creative visualisation starts with visual mimicry. See others, then imagine how it feels, then create the feeling etc.

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Post by marcus_h » Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:07 pm

Trev, interesting about fear of double overhead/heights.

Im shit scared of heights but love paddling out at maxing out cyclone Bluff and throwing myself over the ledge of a monster set. But get me on a third floor balcony and i'll do a little wee

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Post by Trev » Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:13 pm

marcus_h wrote:Trev, interesting about fear of double overhead/heights.

Im shit scared of heights but love paddling out at maxing out cyclone Bluff and throwing myself over the ledge of a monster set. But get me on a third floor balcony and i'll do a little wee
Sorry NIck. I guess we're off topic here but my fear of heights is odd. If there is nothing between me and the ground I have no problem (ie in a plane or helicopter) but put me up in a building or on a cliff or even a very steep hill and my knees go weak and my stomach disappears up into my throat. :oops:

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Post by oldman » Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:14 pm

Ringmaster wrote:People who start surfing from scratch with zero ocean experience as adults would have to be 1 in 20 to get to a reasonable level. Your body's muscle memory skills are pretty well developed by then.
I agree Ringmaster but not sure about the muscle memory theory.

Although I started surfing late, I had spent plenty of time in my youth in the ocean and my dad was a good fisherman and taught his sons how to read a beach.

The ocean is a fearful place for the ignorant, or at least it should be, and without having got over that fear in your youth you really do have to battle uphill. Although I had to contend with fitness and skills issues, I knew enough not to panic, I knew what the water was doing and that is possibly a lesson you really do want to learn young.

Progress will be very slow if you don't learn to enjoy copping a beating. I think that was the first thing I learned.

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Post by Trev » Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:16 pm

learn to enjoy copping a beating. [/quote]

:?: :?: :shock:

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Post by Damage » Wed Dec 03, 2008 7:24 pm

This thread is gold so far. Nice work Nick. 8)

Build it and they will come. :wink:

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here we go again

Post by spotty » Wed Dec 03, 2008 7:25 pm

My first surf on a fibreglass board was in 1975 at Foresters beach on the central coast...i was 12...
It was on a 7ft ish Farrelly...
Belonged to the son of a family friend (thanks Bruce Marshall)...
We had recently moved back to Sydney from the country...
We lived on the my mum sensing my obsession tried to encourage my bro and i to take up sailing...
My bro got a morey boogie for Christmas...i got sailing lessons... :(
I hooked up with a bunch of kids and we shared equipment for a bit...
But i mostly just bodysurfed for the first year (something i am grateful for now)
I bought my first board from my mate. A 6'10 ish pale blue Beecham...
He had 3 cause his 2 younger bros did not take to the water (thanks BL)
Back then the World Tour was not a big deal to us yet...
So as a result our heros were the older local kids (the same ones who told us to f--- off down the beach)
I think emulating the best surfers at our local beachy made us good surfers (try emulating AI surfing 12 ft Chopes at yr local beachbreak)
Also...although we were privilaged kids back then we treasured it and rode our big boards to the death...
So we had them well and truly mastered...
These days kids at my beach dont value their equipment and as a result tend to update regularly...and usually ride boards too small...
As a result...they all kinda surf alike...
One thing i did learn is to give begginers and especially grommets a fair go in the waves...
Some of them will rule the line-up on the good days when you are old and grey...
Last edited by spotty on Thu Dec 04, 2008 4:29 pm, edited 4 times in total.
"Surfing is 90% mental, the other half is physical."

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Post by bonusbeats » Wed Dec 03, 2008 7:35 pm

boardscape avalon wrote:...but was lost to the sport when i got my farrelly foamie (with blue rubber fin)... i guess late 1969 or 70....f.....ken lost...i only remember cause my mum used to take me down to kiddies corner at d.y. point she would dump BEX powders in the sun with garth dickos mum and i would not let garth have a go on me board.... the gut rash oh the gut rash , thats what lives on in the memory
i also started on a farrelly foamy, 1974 at bondi kiddies corner, aged 8. the gut rash was unbearable. my mum preffered mersyndol.
Last edited by bonusbeats on Fri Dec 05, 2008 10:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Chong » Wed Dec 03, 2008 8:22 pm

I first started mucking around on an old beaten up '70's single fin at Waihi Beach (NZ) when I was about 13 or 14. I was catching white wash and definitely getting the Buzz. I even distinctly remember getting my first "green" face wave one summer. Then disaster struck => My parents sold their beach house and the Weekends and summer holidays at the beach were curtailed as was my surfing progress for a few years.

I then "rediscovered" surfing at age 18 in the early '90's on a Friends old mal in small clean waves on the Coro peninsular in NZ. This is when the addiction bit. Sure I was riding a mal with all the rocker and performance of a casket lid but F**k me I was surfing. That was it one of the primary focuses of my life from then on was to go surfing & get waves.

A few learning break throughs happened in the first couple of years persisting but true break throughs came with some extended periods on location hunting waves. The first one involved spending 2 1/2 months in Portugal one winter. I surfed so many different waves and so many different conditions which really helped with my extended wave knowledge. I think the key things that helped was surfing fairly empty waves with a handful of guys. Not having to hassle really helps. The next extended jaunt involved 6 weeks living in Bali getting my full of quality left handers.

A couple of things I have picked up to help with learning are:

- Be as fit & as flexible as you can. Poor fitness is a hand brake to progress.
- Visualise. I started getting into this before a trip to the mentawaiis last year and as ghey as it may sound I visualised the kind of top turns I wanted to be doing on clean solid waves. It helped and I made some performance break through's.
- Surf empty waves. 50 wonky 2 footers are better for your progress than one clean rushed 3 footer. Its hard in Metro areas but F**k it be dedicated and try to escape the crowds whenever possible.
- Dedicate yourself. Surfing is not a skill like riding a bike where you get to an adequate level & you can then move onto the next past faddish time like lawn bowls or knitting. You need to be dedicated to progress and learn.
- Enjoy beatings (already mentioned). A good smashing is life affirming and can be partcuarly entertaining in front of friends.
- Ride the right equipment (already covered in Multiple posts)
- Travel & surf as many different waves as you can - extended periods of surfing different places have helped a bit to counteract the fact I wasn't surfing much when I was young.
- Get videoed (and even critiqued by someone who really understands surfing). Yes its confronting but you can't hide a bad style on video.
- Live somewhere with consistent surf - even if its consistently average. One of the main reasons I chose to live in Sydney was that I could surf every day & hold down a job which was a goal of mine for many years. People who have lived near the beach their whole lives & take it for granted take note. A lot of people would love to be in your situation.
- Don't let any stupid f**kwit tell you that you can't surf for the rest of your life. Sure you may have some gaps & time away from the water but you have to stay focused & keep on it.

Well thats my 2c worth - I dread to think where my life would be without surfing.

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Post by g_u_m_b_y » Wed Dec 03, 2008 10:02 pm

dad picked me up a little nippers board when i was 12 and i stood up on that.
remember paddling hellishly for the horizon over 2 foot beasts, until i finally caught one, stood up and ran over and asian chick on a boog.
Over the 6 months, being a grom i had trouble getting up but i think within a short period i was able to trim across the wave, albeit grabbing my rail.

Relativley easy for me to learn, i was a little kid so it was easy for me to stand up.
I remember learning how to race when i was 13, i saw Pat O'connel doing it in the endless summer and thought it was the coolest thing ever.
I loved getting a speedy left and trying to pump across the face, and still do (ie impossibles or behind the peak at bingin).

i might add that by 13 i had recieved a Town and Country channel bottom, that was ridden in the 197something ripcurl world champs?
i loved it and still have it

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Post by betty boop » Wed Dec 03, 2008 10:25 pm

I first got the surfing bug about 9 years ago, when I was 31 years old. I took some lessons at Bondi with some other Uni students. They were really funny. The best one was the German girl who could swim, well, sort of. They threw us in the pool just to make sure. She asked our instructor if it would be possible to learn to surf without getting her face wet. :lol: :lol:

Anyway, I really enjoyed it and found myself buying a board. I liked the lessons as they gave me a some confidence in the surf. And it was fun going with the same people over 6 weeks. It is always better watching someone you know fall off while sitting on their board. Unfortunately, I am a bad swimmer, which translates to a poor paddler. I was quite fit and coordinated on land but am not good in water. Waves are not familiar to me at all.

So, I started on a too small board (6'8" by 19" by 2 3/4"). I could stand up in the white wash with out any trouble but couldn't figure out how to catch green waves. After a few months of sporadic surfs, I realised that I probably needed a bigger board.

Then, a few years off.

When I finally started to try surfing again, I had acquired a 7'6" minimal, and two babies. It was better but a bit too long and had a fair bit of rocker which made it a bit slow to paddle. Finally, found a very thick 6'10" McCoy nugget, which is really what I learnt on.

For me, there was a long period of about 6 months where I just couldn't consistently catch waves. Wrong board, interruptions to surfing, only going every few weekends, but then I found a surfing mate and started going every weekend. He was an accomplished body surfer and very good swimmer, but really crap at standing up. So, he could catch the waves, but fall off, and then there was me, who stand up without any trouble but still struggled to catch waves. It is good to have a buddy as then you have to turn up, even if it is onshore and raining and dark when you leave.

I think that if you don't have that ocean knowledge, it takes a while to learn it and it is a bit harder to learn if you are simultaneously trying to control your surfboard and stand up and paddle and position yourself all at the same time.

After 18 months of surfing most weekends, I could catch most of what I paddled for on a good day and maybe bottom turn to keep in the pocket. So, I bought new board (6'4"McCoy), and of course, almost immediately got pregnant. So, then had another break for the last baby.

When I got back into surfing, we had moved to the beach. I was quite frightened to start with but got my confidence up on my husband's 7'6" minimal.

To learn to surf, you need a dogged personality, have strength, flexibility and fitness. All things with you can acquire but it is a hard sport to learn.

As has been said before, there is a fairly low ceiling for us adult beginners. I wonder whether it is not possible to learn to surf well as you get older, because your brain is not as plastic, or if it is just a lack of time in the water. I suspect that it is just Old Brain Syndrome. :cry:

Oh well, at least it is fun, at whatever level you are at. I think that that is the appeal for me. There is always room to improve, and there is always fun to be had even if you are a complete kook like me.

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Post by daryl » Wed Dec 03, 2008 10:29 pm

Since this post is only about the first 6mos to a year, I will delete my first post and try again.

Just not sure if it was the 8'6 Jackson was my first, anyway that was it for about 6mos. Was mostly at either Wanda and recall being at M'bra at 3mos for a lesson. Got a shortboard foamy, pink and blue around then. From then on it was Darcy customs, remember a 6'7 and nearly always the early at Wanda the nfound Green Hills, only had a springsuit the last half of winter. A lot of randoms at Maroubra and Cronulla. Everyone gave me tips 8) paddle early paddle hard, shift up on the board before take off, get bearings, watch and read the waves before you go out (sure), take off at an angle, you name it :D Finding the rip, duckdiving, picking a left from right, nah didn't happen. Went to Malabar when it was going off, hey I'm goofy. Got sent in at S Maroubra for being out when it was too big for me, so fair nuf. I heard about Voodoo and thought Darce meant farther up from the :( sandhills towards Boat Harbour. And the drop-ins! This is not my real name, it's not daryl! I'm Alouisyius Carbuncle. I thought that if someone had been on the wave for some distance and were coming near where I was, that they should drop off and hand it over for my turn. Dinkum.
Last edited by daryl on Wed Dec 03, 2008 10:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by mustkillmulloway » Wed Dec 03, 2008 10:51 pm

i picked it up pretty easy

say a month and i was trimming ok

in one my first surfs i totally fluked a shorey tube :shock:

still remember it 8)

interestinlgy...mate who started soon after....took at least 6 months learn stand up

and thats with surfing near every day :shock:

he battled like all hell

i have never seen anyone take so long get it since

i still give him set waves...i reckon he earn't em

he never gave up but quite possiably was the longest kook in the history of the lifestyle

but he surfs pretty good nowdays as well :!:

p.s please don't quote me :wink: :lol:

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Post by --++sunstroke++-- » Thu Dec 04, 2008 2:55 am

The art of learning to surf hasn't changed over the years, just an increase in the number of retards trying to do it :idea:



Post by Beerfan » Thu Dec 04, 2008 5:48 am

Bit over three years i've been surfing. The absolute basics, paddling, catching waves, popping to my feet all pretty good. Timing of turns, completion of turns, still feel kooky half the time, i have occassional surfs where i get everything right, feet placement, timing, right turn in the right place on the wave, but most surfs, if i get a few well timed, and completed turns in im happy.

But on the other hand, sometimes im just happy to be in the water, and dont care if i go off, or kook out.

And shortboards??, no way, every now and then i try them, and my feet are just all wrong, i tend to put my front foot forward, which results in a bog down. I have had a glimpse of a well timed backhand bottom turn on a thruster, ooooohh baby it felt good, but the other 99% of the time was pure frustration. And i dont surf waves bigger than 1' overhead, so not very practical for me to ride one most of the time.

Maybe there needs to be a book, written by a respected surf journo, who's a pretty handy surfer, who knows a 2 time world champ really well, kinda like a brother, that would explain how to surf your best. Hmmm if only......... :lol:

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