“Your friends lie, your family lies, photograph’s lie… but video tells the truth”
Yup, I hate to break it to you, but it’s true.
If you want real honest feedback about where your surfing is right now - and what you need to do to improve - then you’ve got to get some footage of yourself surfing.
Seeing yourself surf on camera for the first time can be a painful experience (trust me 😬), but with flaws fully exposed, the real building can begin.
So in this article I want to break down the benefits of surf video analysis as a method of coaching, and why I think it’s the fastest way to improve.
WHAT IS SURF VIDEO ANALYSIS
Surf video analysis is this:
Gather footage of yourself surfing, then break it down - frame by frame - using surf video analysis software (ideally done by an expert).
WILL SURF VIDEO ANALYSIS HELP YOUR SURFING?
Surf video analysis in and of itself won’t help improve your surfing, it will however highlight the exact areas that you need to focus on to see improvements.
Once these key areas are uncovered, it’s then a case of implementing the techniques needed to iron things out and make adjustments.
Big improvements, fast.
*THE DOWNSIDES OF SURF VIDEO ANALYSIS*
Alright I’m going to be honest here…
Video analysis is great, nah screw that, frickin awesome, if (and only if) you’re able to catch your own waves unassisted successfully.
Well think about it like this, if there’s no footage of you to analyse then it kind of renders the whole thing pointless.
So, if you fall under this bracket (which is totally fine, we’ve all been there) then stick to what you’re doing for now, or get some in-water assistance from an experienced coach.
Get the basics dialled then hit up the video sessions from there 👊
5 COMPELLING ARGUMENTS WHY SURF VIDEO ANALYSIS WILL HELP YOU IMPROVE
I think surf video analysis is the best way to learn how to surf and improve - at the fastest rate possible.
And here's why 👇
FRAME BY FRAME
Breaking things down on video gives you the ability to review your surfing frame by frame, in extreme slow motion.
Why’s that a good thing?
Well it’s both a good and bad thing in all honesty…
It’s bad in the fact that you’ll likely have to contend with the reality of how horrendous you look surfing (I know I did 🤦♂️).
But that’s countered with just how myopic you can get with your technique.
An arm out of place here, feet too far back there, too much weight forward, legs too straight, the list goes on.
Breaking down the footage of you surfing like this gives you the opportunity to make lots of little changes, which lead to big improvements over time.
Coaching in-water or from the beach is great and all but there’s a BIG distance between you and the coach breaking things down.
This is good for big macro changes to your technique, but the subtle details often get missed.
The ability to zoom in (plus being able to slow things down frame by frame) will shed light on technical flaws invisible at a distance.
And again once these technical flaws are uncovered and the root cause of a problem is identified, an action plan can be taken to implement subtle changes to get them fixed.
TAKE IT AWAY WITH YOU
Unlike virtually all other forms of in-person coaching, the great thing with surf video sessions is that you get to take the teachings away with you, yours so revisit, forever!
That’s pretty potent right there.
For years to come you can revisit the footage to work on new things, re-address old bad habits, and return to the footage to learn new things.
SIDE BY SIDE COMPARISONS
In-person surf coaching can be difficult at times because it can be difficult to articulate body movements with just language alone.
Sure, you can demonstrate on dry land - or even in the water - but nothing beats being able to see yourself side by side against somebody more advanced to fully visualise what’s going on.
The subtle differences, the tiny nuances, the intricate details.
Side by side comparisons help you to see all these subtleties as clear as day.
REFERENCE POINTS TO SEE IMPROVEMENTS
The curse of knowledge is real, and surfing is no different.
As you improve over time you overlook the advancements you’ve made and take them for granted.
Having this old footage of yourself can serve as a reminder of where you’ve come from and the huge advancements you’ve made.
Not only does this make you feel nice but it also serves to reinforce the fact that you are indeed improving, and you’ve got a whole lot to be proud of.
So wherever you are in the learning cycle give yourself a pat on the back right now, and take a second to acknowledge all the improvements you’ve made up until how.
Here, here 🥂
WRAPPING IT UP
If you’re serious about improving then surf video analysis is the most effective coaching method by a long shot.
It’ll hurt the ego at first, but all transformations come with honesty, transparency and vulnerability at first so don’t be afraid and give it a go.
If you’ve got access to an expert in your area that offers surf video analysis then go hit them up, you won’t regret it I promise.