What Is The Most Important Skill In Surfing?
When I was first asked this question it seemed impossible to answer. With so many skills that go into surfing, how could you really claim the most important? Especially considering the many different levels of “surfing.” You have the professionals who surf so ridiculously well that if it wasn’t so beautiful you would probably puke in envy. You have guys you see at the same spot every morning just absolutely killing it and then hoping in their truck and heading to work. You have the average surfer, who surfs well but not quite enough for someone on the beach to hoot and holler over unless he pulls into something crazy. Then there are the surfers who could best be described as just loving it, every stand up is a little shaky and once they are up they just cruise the shoulder, but they just love it and will probably be doing the same thing until they die. And of course you have the beginners, who, well they are just starting out.
Considering all of these different levels of surfers, hopefully you see the difficultly of trying to find the single most important skill for surfers. Nevertheless, after much thought, I am going to submit my idea to you and hope to see your opinions, both positive and negative.
Think about everyone that rips out in the water, you know that he rips because you keep seeing him. You keep seeing him streak by, tearing wave after wave apart. He just knows where to be and can continually get himself in the right spot. I submit that the ability to read and catch waves is the single most important skill in surfing.
After a summer of surfing with my brother (who does airs and turns better than me), I realized that when we surf, he catches close to double the waves that I do. That guy just knows exactly where to be. Now, even if I was catching as many waves as him, he is still stronger, faster, more coordinated, and has way better balance than me, and as a result will probably always dominate my face, BUT still it is troubling to realize that although we spend an equal amount of time in the water, he surfs twice as much as I do. More waves mean more practice, the path towards perfection. I don’t think that catching more waves has everything to do with being physically in shape, though that obviously helps, I think the most important thing is to know where to be. “If the wave breaks here, don’t be there.” Or the flipside, if the wave breaks here, be exactly there! If you can continually get yourself in the right place at the right time, you will find yourself surfing more and sitting on your board less.
Obviously to progress in surfing you need to build more skills on top of this one, specifically, skills for what to do once you are on the wave, but without this one skill you can really never progress.
What do you think? Does the real secret to surfing success lie elsewhere?
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