Matt ‘Bromdog’ Bromley, well known Komskom free surfer, big wave hellman and a talent in the water from two to 20 foot, has released a series of online surfing courses, just in time for lockdown. Zag Review dives into the first module, hoping to iron out those kinks and bad habits, giving all grovellers the chance to up their game.
No doubt, surfing is a difficult and complex sport. Not one wave is the same, so your playground is constantly changing. Elements such as wind, tides, swell size, period and direction all combine to create unique surf conditions for every session, often changing mid-session. So, it’s therefore pretty easy to see how taking the plunge may be a little daunting, especially for those arriving at surfing a bit later in their lives.
The majority of us were just frothing groms who went blindly into anything that our friends were doing, so that element of fear and social anxiety was greatly downplayed. Others were natural merpeople and took to surfing effortlessly. However, there exists a large number late bloomers… or VALs (vulnerable adult learners). This is where Bromdog’s first module is targeted.
Knowing the learning curve helps you prepare your attitude and expectations towards your surfing. Contrarily to snowboarding, for example, there’s no moment at the 3rd day where you think “Ok, I got this” and then very rarely fall again. In surfing, you will wipe-out for years.
At the end of the day no matter how easy you think surfing looks approaching it by yourself can do more harm than good. Either get an experienced friend to teach you or better yet take the course outlined below in order to avoid injuring yourself and others, or even putting your life in danger.
Once you’ve signed up online and logged in you’ll be directed to a simple user-friendly interface, as viewed above, to make the experience a ‘walk on the beach’ for you.
The first section serves as an introduction to surfing and Mr. Bromley with the focus being on how surfing really is an all-inclusive sport stressing that all you need to start this thing we all love so much is a good attitude and a surfboard. Whether your 4 years old or 70 years old surfing can still form part of your day to day promoting mental and physical longevity. As long as you have the mental fortitude to push past those initial trial and error months along with the many highs and lows you’re good to go!
What most beginners forget, although at times it may not seem like it, there are waves for everyone, something Bromdog touches upon in section 1.
Once you’ve exchanged pleasantries with your virtual surf coach, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty. This section deals with certain mechanics that most beginners may not have considered at all with regards to one’s interaction with the ocean itself. The aim here is to make it all familiar and instill a little ‘know-how’ when it comes to – Reading the Ocean.
These short videos will go a long way in building confidence as it serves as a point of reference for when you do take that initial terrifying yet exciting plunge into the brine. If you’re landlocked and your interaction with the ocean is limited the value of the information discussed here is priceless, especially in videos 3, 5, 6 & 10.
The whole point here is to get you more comfortable as you learn about the things you might feel the most unsure about ensuring you don’t bite off more than you can chew.
When it comes to being safe and having fun in the ocean, the more you know the better!
Alright, moving on to section 3, here’s where it gets more ‘technical’. Like in any sport technique is paramount. If you’re a bowler in cricket you want that elbow brushing your ear when you run in and deliver. If you’re a batsman footwork is extremely important.
The same can be said for surfing. Knowing how to perform an action is ultimately what’s gonna make you able to execute it. Although this may seem rudimentary, it is crucial when it comes to developing one’s surfing, especially at the beginner level.
Videos 12, 13 and 16 provide you with a good foundation of what to expect and how you should respond when subject to performing the actions required. Videos 14 and 15 will help still the mind which inevitably leads to a calmer and more composed surfer. Nailing the basics, that should be your primary objective, something Matt (your virtual surf guru and guide) will explain throughout this section.
Going into the last section of the beginner guide to surfing you should feel far more at ease when it comes to knowing your environment and your place in it as well as getting those fundamentals ironed out.
Once that’s taken care of you can start to consider what’s below your feet – your surfboard! To the untrained eye, all surfboards are more or less the same. However, the truth is, your equipment and your relationship with it is far more complicated than you’d initially acknowledge. In the beginning, you think a fin is just a fin or that boards the same as this board yet the ruth is, it ain’t that simple. Just like a race car driver needs to understand the limits of their car the same can be said for a surfer and their board.
In this section, videos 19 and 21 unpack the complexities that exist when it comes to fine-tuning your equipment as well as setting it up. Knowing what each craft can give you and understanding how that can improve your own performance ultimately leads to you have more fun.
In closing, it must be said that Matt does a phenomenal job of giving you a wealth of knowledge in a very short amount of time. If you’re contemplating giving surfing a go or just interested in getting a more well-rounded knowledge of the beginner process then we here at Zag highly recommend this course. Matt will be doing a live Q & A session on the 1st of May at 10h30 via his Instagram where we will be ready to answer all you surf related questions.
If you’re further down the road, as many Zag readers are, watch out for Matt Bromley’s tutorials on ‘getting barreled’ and ‘stepping up in larger surf’, which we’ll review on Zag Reviews in the coming weeks.