By the time you are reading this I’m on a ferry headed towards the mainland on my way to the Yukon. I wish I was off on some epic late season bike tour, but in reality I’m just road tripping to a project site for work. I enjoy long drives in beautiful country and I’ve never headed north from the coast through British Columbia. I assume it will be lovely and I’ll be rocking out to my iPod in a caffeine fueled frenzy of adventure planning as I eat up the miles.
One of my future adventures will be more surfing lessons and practice. First I need to assess where I am at and what I need to do next. I managed to get in 1hr of SUP surfing lessons and 5hrs of longboarding lessons on Mon/Tues. So here is my report card from my recent lessons in Tofino, BC:
- I can get through the impact zone okay on my SUP and on a longboard.
- I’m pretty good at paddling a SUP in the waves.
- I need more practice catching waves on my SUP [conditions were too windy this time for good SUPing]
- I need to work on my arm strength to longboard better. I was getting tired too easily just paddling out through the breaking waves.
- I can catch most waves I try for on a longboard, but I need to work on my pop up so I get up on the board more easily.
- I’m doing pretty well at spotting the waves I want to ride.
- I’m doing pretty well at spinning around and getting into position to paddle onto the wave.
- My longboard swimming [paddling] technique sucks and I am not getting good power transfer to the water which is tiring me out unnecessarily.
- I’m okay in a small lineup and understand the right of way rules in the waves, but my spatial awareness isn’t great since I’m so focused on what I doing when I’m trying to catch a wave.
The first question is whether I should spend my time SUP surfing or stick to a longboard until I get better and then go back to the SUP?
- My SUP skills are more advanced and a SUP is more efficient so I don’t get as tired.
- It’s easier to catch waves on a SUP.
- SUPing is warmer since you are out of the water and the water on Vancouver Island is cold.
- I own some surfing SUPs.
- Longboarding is fun and a better workout for me in a weak area [arms] than SUPing.
- Longboards are ubiquitous so if I travel I can always rent a longboard cheaply.
- Longboards are easier to use on windy days.
I think working on both makes sense. I can’t really SUP surf if it’s windy and I don’t have the arm fitness to longboard for 3hrs+. I own the SUP gear and I’m further ahead in that area so I’ll prioritize that, but a used longboard can be had for $100-$200 so I’ll get one next time I run across a good deal. If it’s windy I’ll longboard and it it’s not I’ll SUP for a few hours, longboard until my arms hurt and then if I’ve still got some energy left I’ll SUP again.
I found a surf instructor [Adam @ Pacific Surf School] who teaches both traditional longboard surfing and SUP surfing – very handy! I’m at the point where, as long as I am conservative about the conditions I paddle out in, I can practice safely without further lessons. That will let me take my time and go for the best waves and also let me take a break on the beach without a clock ticking. I expect if I put in another 6 or 7 more days in the waves I will be ready for some lessons to hone my technique. For now I know what to do I just need some time making it happen and getting a bit more fit in the process!
I’ve never enjoyed swimming in a pool, but my appalling swimming skills and fitness may just force my hand and convince me to get a few lessons in the pool so I’m not splashing around like a wounded seal in the water!…=-)
In the meantime I’ve got a few surfing books and videos to absorb. Something I’ll do a bunch on this trip to the Yukon during any downtime.