Stab Magazine | The Average Surfer Makes These Common Mistakes Says The World Champ

The Average Surfer Makes These Common Mistakes Says The World Champ

Barton Lynch’s sound advice on how to improve performance. 

style // Dec 29, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The 1988 world champ, Barton Lynch has had his finger in the coaching pie for the past 20 years. From the ladies and gentlemen of the CT to anyone looking to improve their surfing, Mr Lynch is there with decades of knowledge. So we had a pointed discussion with the man to find the solutions to the most common mistakes made by the everyday surfer. Because as the New Year peers its head around, we can all use a dose of sound advice.

1. Lead with your front arm and your head and the body will follow:
Barton: The number one mistake and what I work on the most with people is proper rotation of the upper body. If your front arm and your head and eye line are leading the way your body will follow. This is important in any change of direction whether it be a top turn or a cutback. Where you look and point your arm the board will go, primarily when people go from the toe side to heel they have trouble committing and rotating completely. When you open up and point the front arm to where you want to go at the same time as looking in that direction it keeps the whole body moving together in a focused direction.

2. Pay attention to the three primary movements:
In surfing there are three primary body movements. There is the compression and extension regarding vertical movement. There’s the rotation of the upper body and the use of the arms. 

The third primary body movement is the weight transfers from front to back foot. While people are conscious of the compression and extension the shifting of weight from front to back tends to get forgotten. And it’s those three movements that really bring about performance. A consistent, thoughtful shift of weight is critical when it comes to livening up your surfing. But more than anything you want to move fluidly and purposefully.

3. Squat don’t bend at the hips:
The biggest mistake people make when it comes to tube riding is they tend to bend over from the hips in an attempt to get lower rather than squatting down through the knees. It’s really important to always keep your head centred above your board–no matter what you’re doing. Even if you’re doing a cutback and the boards on rail you still want that point of centre. Wherever the bowling ball on top of your shoulders goes you go.

4. Lose your human ambition:
Pay attention to what is going to suit the wave. What most people do is pop up with what they want to do in their mind. When people get to their feet they cue into their human ambition. But you should get to your feet and look at the wave and do what suits it best. The best surfers compliment the wave; they make the wave look good. It comes down to having respect. Rather than getting up with your own ambition on top of mind, you have to get up, look at the wave and put your dance together with it. As humans we tend to think that we are the universe, that we’re masters of the universe. We’ve got that dominant headspace and it’s important with the ocean, surfing and waves to be happy to take a backseat and realise it’s a bigger better power than you every day of the week and you might as well just ride along and enjoy it. It’s that philosophical disposition you take into the water as much as anything else.

Barton is one of the fine men that you can send your clips into as part of the Hurley Surf Club. You can sign up right here


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