Saturday, November 29, 2008

How To: Pro-Gress

Ello there disciples of shralp,it's another lovely day down here in the land of Jewels! Had an epic Thanksgiving filled with frothy myrts, shralpy waves, and the good ol' fashioned flu! Having a cold/flu at thanksgiving is like having to take a shit on a Tuesday... not fun! The worst part about it was the fact that everyone knows that there will be waves on Thanksgiving, as has been the case for the past 10 years (I think it has something to do with the Mayflower's wake? joke drum? dun dun sheesh!). Anywhoo, we are gathered here today to talk with non other than myself about progressing your surfing skillz.

Experimenting with your surfing skills can be fun but also dangerous at the same time (kinda like visiting the glory hole at 127 San Pedro street behind the taco stand ummmmm I mean ummmmmm ummmm I don't know what the fuck you are talking about?!!). On the one hand, you have to experiment to progress and go to new places with your surfing. However, on the other hand you don't want to be pushing yourself to the point where you leave the water everyday with a 13 stitched fat lip that makes you look like a friggin cartoon dinosaur (I should know, this happened to me, no joke, ask Hsoj). So where is the happy medium? The happy medium lies somewhere in between.

You ought to first think to yourself for a moment and ask:
a) "where do I want my surfing to go? "
and b) "why do I surf?"

If you're anything like me and have been uber obsessed with the new flicks out on the streets these days like Stranger Than Fiction and the likes, then you probably answered
a) "I want to do rodeo flips, air reverses, and surf like Dane"
and b) "so I can get some ass."
For those of you who this applies to and are older than 20 years of age, have a job, or other full time commitments that keep you out of the water, two words of advice: "WAKE UP AND SMELL THE ROSES SUSAN!" Don't worry though, you are not alone, I once was just as naive as you. I once thought I could drop out of college, surf all day, and become pro within 4 years. Who knows, may be I could have, but things are much more different now (shoulda woulda coulda).

The straight up caliber of surfing that is being thrown down these days by pros ontop of the level of athleticism that they so frequently display is much gnarlier than any of us could have ever imagined! Sad but true, the obvious standard for even being considered for a sponsorship these days is a bare minimum ability to pull off flawless air reverses (and that might just get you a Fro-Yo sponsor or some bull shit like that). Take a look at these groms for example, bet they're a hell of a lot better than you:

One fact remains, surfing has gotten Gnarls Barkx! It's gotten Bob Gnarly! It's gotten Burlington Coat Factory on our asses! Etc Etc. Needless to say, surfing has reached an unfathomable pinnacle. So what does this all mean?

Do not despair my fine frothy friends, fun is found in foolery (say that 69 times fast, dare you). Progression in surfing is monitored and documented in steps. First, you learn to stand up. Next you learn to go down the line. Then you learn how to pump, bottom turn, top turn, floater, off the lip etc. The progression is obviously similar to any kind of path to mastery; things start off small but gradually increase in skill level, difficulty, and concentration. When you were a kid watching MJ do the moon dance on MTV were you able to immediately start busting sick spins, backwards moon walks, and crotch grabs? No! (well may be except for a few, like legends Wade and Slade). I digress... Progressing in surfing in general is a very long a drawn out process that resembles a gradual sloping curve. Some of us are born with it, most of us are not.

Through my 14 or so years of surfing I have come to notice a thing or two. What I've noticed the most about improvement is that it comes when you least expect it and especially when nobody is watching ("did ja see that Kerr flip I just did?" Nope!). Here are some helpful hints that ought to better you on your way to progressing your surfing:

1. Water Time!
If time in the water could be physically measured by something like notches on a belt, Kelly Slater could open a Belt Barn the size of 4 and a half Disney Worlds (I should know, I measured and did the math on my TI86!). Regardless of the lame analogy, the bottom line is: pros spend more time in the water than you spend time sitting in your cubicle, on your couch eating potater chips, and taking shits reading Maxim combined! If you want to get good at surfing, you have to put in the hours, days, months, and years of water time! It's just common sense! The more time you spend in the water, it is truly inevitable that you will at some point start to progress. So do what I started recently doing and get up everyday at 5:40 rain or shine, flat or not, and paddle your tired ass out to your closest line up whether you get to surf for 30 minutes or 2 hours! Just getting out there and being motivated to progress will set you apart from all the other weekend warriors at your local swamp!

2. ADIDAS (All Day I Dream About Shralping)
Whether you're in or out of the water, there should always be two things on your mind:
1) surfing
2) surfing
If you really want to become good at something, you have to be obsessed and dedicated with it both physically (water time) and mentally (adidas). You can get by just doing one or the other, but you can not progress without physically experiencing something and then mentally internalizing the thing you want to get good at. When I'm out of the water all I see is waves and sections to do shit on. Like when I drive down the freeway and see some big hill on the side of the road I'll just fully be mind shralping the shit out of the thing doing backside floater tweaks, to round house cutbacks, and ending with a backside air reverse. Think that's weird? Think again my friends! Most of the pro surfers that I encounter or interact with from time to time, think, talk, and dream about surfing to a point that I can't even come close to! Like just the other day a pro I was hanging with saw the video camera we were using as it quickly tilted back on its tripod head and slammed into the tripod legs; to which he commented: "haaaaa! laaaayyybaaack! sick!". So again, to get good at something, one must involve all of the senses (thinking, feeling, doing, smelling, tasting, etc) to really capture the essence of its being!

Cajones, rasins, crasins, juevos rancheros, berries, scrotels, bubble gum, what ever you want to call 'em, they're the things in between your legs (or for some of you, your ears) that make you sack up and do shit you really don't want to do! Girl or guy, human or dog, surfer or kook, there are many things in life that will bring you great success and happiness but they are never going to be given to you! Life is a risk involving struggles of bravery and valor, especially for things of which you so badly desire! If you really desire progression in your surfing life then take proactive steps to taking risks in your surfing.

One such risk involves traveling the world wide and surfing new breaks that will push you into foreign territories both in and out of the water. Traveling should be in a class of its own due to how much it really grows you as a person, not to mention improves the hell out of your surfing.

Another risk could be to try a new trick you've never tried. What's stopping you from trying to do an air, or a rodeo flip, or a Kerr-Agius? Repetition goes hand in hand with internalization. Sure, the first time you try to bust an alley oop or some shit like that it's gona be weird and awkward but the more and more you do it, the closer and more comfortable you will come to landing it. And guess what, after about 200 tries, I'm sure you will have at least landed one in this lifetime or the next!

All and all progressing your surfing is a complex yet fun adventure because there are so many different kinds of surfing, so many different ways of improving, and so many other people out there who probably have better advice than I (NOTTTTTT!). The bottom line is surfing can be fun, surfing can be work, surfing can be sport, and surfing can be art but at the end of the day surfing is always reality! Never stop the stoke, never fade the Shralp!
Live to ride, ride to Shralp!

until next time, peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeace
-Surf Ambassador Hendo
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1 comment:

  1. nice work man!
    post some videos, the public demands to see the Ambassador Shralping in the flesh!