Tips from the tower: Part 2
Style and flow
Nothing is more pleasing to the eye than watching a surfer who makes riding waves look easy. Some surfers are born with it naturally engrained in their DNA. Most surfers, though, acquire a "smooth" or "clean" style and approach to riding waves only after years of practice in the water. Not only will cleaning up your surfing visually stimulate anyone watching from the beach, but if you're a competitive surfer, it will also appeal to a judging panel.
In this part 2 of 'Tips From the Tower', we're talking "style and flow".
Style and flow are at the base of the pyramid of the overall judging criteria, and are part of the entire approach that a surfer chooses to take to paint their chosen canvas. This includes during and in-between maneuvers. Surfers that can go from one maneuver to another without and hops or hiccups along the way, will generally score higher in a heat.
Hopping is one thing that I often see surfers choosing to do to get through slow, flat, fat, or deep spots. Though this works, and is sometimes your only option, it is better to weave rail-to-rail to generate speed through those types of sections whenever possible. Do yourself a favor and YouTube some old clips of Kelly Slater at the US Open in Huntington Beach; perfect example of the "speed weave". It's also very similar to generating speed on a skateboard without pushing off the ground. Keep the mullet-stomping to a minimum.
Optimally, a surfer will link one turn to another without having to pump for speed at all. This is referred to as rhythm or flow. Good timing and proper placement are critical to having good rhythm on a wave, as well as a decent wave to do it on. This will reflect positively on your score card. Loss of control at any point in a ride can also affect your overall flow and timing on a wave and ultimately negatively impact your score.
Try to keep all of your body parts in-check and where they should be. Judges cringe at flailing limbs and "stink bug", wide stances. Study the pros and their body placements throughout maneuvers. Watch some clips and slow them down. Work on and be aware of your body mechanics.
It's good to look agressive and confident in your surfing, both at the same time. Control, rhythm, timing and placement, minimization of unnecessary body movements and stance will all contribute to your overall steeze and flow in a heat.
Up those scores! And until next time, surf smarter, go harder!