Lesson Number 11

KAHUNA TIPS ON COMPETING!

 The key to doing well in any sport is of course being good at it.  First, knowing your craft and then being relaxed and confident enough to perform under pressure is the key. 

 Now, being good at surfing is a relative term depending on your age.  At the Menehune level, a long white water ride with a switch stance will work, but at the middle school levels that will get you last place every time.  The kids in the finals of a Jr. High School event will have trouble making their high school team as a freshman so that part of it is all relative.

 It is up to you to do well at your current level so it can be fun for you.  Here are some tips on how to prepare yourself for an event so you can take advantage of your own abilities.

 Equipment:  Certain shapes are designed to ride best in certain conditions.  Try to have a board to ride for the conditions you will be competing in.  In surfing, one size does NOT fit all!

 Make sure that your equipment is ready to go.  It is best to do this the day or evening before your event by preparing all of your potential boards.  Wax up before you hit the beach and use the proper wax for the current water temperature.  Don’t wax up in a hurry using some borrowed wax off the beach.  Make sure your leash is also in good shape and that it suits your board.  The longer your leash the slower you will paddle.

 Know the Rules!  Nowadays most events are following the ASP formula of top two waves count, 10 wave max with a scoring emphasis on maneuvers and taking risks; NOT just the length of the ride and style.  But, each event will differ usually in some respect or changing conditions may cause a change mid event, so, KNOW what is expected of you.

Know where the surfing area is for your heat!  Know where your boundary limits are.  You will NOT be scored if you drift out of the area.  If you take off in or near the boundary it should count, but if you take off outside of the area your score starts when you re-enter the competition area.Have a watch on your wrist.  Before your heat you need to be focusing and preparing and knowing exactly what time it is will help a lot.

A few heats prior to yours start your stop watch feature on your watch at zero. Digital watches are best.  If you are an amateur surfer, heats will start every 15 minutes.  When each heat starts take a glance at your watch to see how on time the event timer is.  During your heat know how much time is left and if you already have 2 medium scores or better, move further out so if a better high scoring wave comes you can get it.  If you have  1 or  no scoring waves yet at the  10 minute mark, you are  2/3’s of the way to elimination and your choices are to either come in and scramble or stay and prey but you have GOT TO DO SOMETHING!

Near the end of your heat you will sense the end is near but the watch on your wrist will keep you from guessing.  If you guess wrong and stand after the horn that you may not have heard due to the onshore wind or duck diving when it is blown, you will be penalized ½ of one of your best scores.  So, DON’T GUESS,  there is too much other stuff that you have to guess about like the ocean and what its going to do next. 

After the horn come in prone on your stomach to the beach, return your jersey to the beach marshal without your surfboard as the area will be very congested and hectic already and prepare for 10 minutes or so of agonizing waiting until your results are in.

If you advanced, check the board to see when you will surf again and at which site.  Then return to your adoring friends and family and team for some high fiving and some power gels or some kind of energy food and water.

 If you didn’t advance, you have two choices.  You can take the high road and be gracious to your conquerors and congratulate them and then check the math on your heat scores and see how close it was….or, you can find someone else to blame like the judges and peel out of the parking lot firing off a salute or two. I certainly do not recommend the later.  So, look…you either just had a bad heat so it’s no big deal or the other competitors were just better than you on this day.  So, do NOT storm off feeling crushed.  You must learn how to swallow disappointment and learn from these experiences.  It’s all part5 of the deal.  I know it’s not the part we signed up for but it will happen….deal with it.  Then watch the guys who beat you when they surf again.  You may see something that will help you out next time it’s your turn! Good luck and keep charging.  

Aloha, Kahuna Bob