I ran across this YouTube video on The Stand Up Zone. I was stoked. This is the kind of stand up surfing video that I've wanted to see: clean, smooth ripping... no gimmick turns, no flapping- just flowing and carving. The surfer, Atilla, is on a 9'3" Paddlesurf Hawaii ripper series stand up board- the guy is just killing it. Check it out:
I dig this guy's surfing. First of all, he makes average surf look good and his surfing makes you want to see what's going to happen next. In this little clip, Atilla gives us a primer on good, solid, stylish stand up surfing. And there are lessons to be learned. Here's a few we could all benefit from:
1. Variety: Repeating the same paddle-plant-snap turn get's old when you just do it over and over as you go down the line. It's boring. Here, as Atilla works the wave, he pulls every turn out of the bag: paddle to the inside, paddle to the outside, no paddle cutbacks, snaps, carves and controlled slides. His surfing is expressive not formulaic. Each session, force yourself to work on different types of turns- mix it up and you'll be tearing it up.
2. A quiet paddle is a good paddle. There are flat spots in waves that may call for a little paddle assist to power you through- Atilla even paddles his way through a couple dead zones. But what he doesn't do is repetitively shovel water through the entire wave. Notice that when a juicy little section pops up, his paddle stops moving? Atilla lets board, fin and body motion make speed on the wave- this is called surfing and watching a good surfer work the face of the wave, finding the speed line and flowing with it is mesmerizing. Don't distract from the act let the section develop and smooth your way through it.
3. Patience is a ripper's virtue. Watch Atilla as he sets a rail on a cutback (particularly the no-paddle-assist turns). You'll see that he waits for the board to carve completely around until he's wrapped it all the way into the whitewash. The ability to wait for a turn and follow it all the way through to completion makes his surfing look extraordinary. How many times have you seen turns aborted halfway or even a quarter of the way through? There is no faster way to develop a herky-jerky style than to chop your turns short. Waiting on the wrap will feel wrong at first, you'll think you've overextended yourself, but, trust me, no one thing makes the act of surfing look fuller and more robust than a fully committed and completed turn. Those full turns require patience- get some.
4. Less is more. Sometimes Atilla flows through a section without doing anything. Watch him. Up pops a section and with a simple pump off the bottom he'll do more with less and go straight through it! No top turn, no helicopter spin, just a clean line straight through. Taming your inner spaz takes maturity. At times, the act of surfing is just being there and letting it happen around you. You don't have to rip and tear the whole thing- the whole way. Taking it easy now and then builds that character that we call "flow" - the lateral linking and projecting that smooths out your surfing and gives it indescribeable visual appeal. It stems from the conscience decision to just let it happen- as they say... let it go.
Think I've got these elements wired? No way- but I know what I'm going to work on next time I paddle out. Do you?
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