Any competitor in the water wants to be the best. They want to perform at their best and anyone with that spark wants to win. It’s a feeling like no other. But, the question still stands. What does it take to be the best?
We sit in the comfort of our own home, watch the WSL surfing in Hawaii, Portugal and soon to be Bells and are thinking, “Wow, this would be the best job in the world!” However, to get there, sometimes is not such a dream. It’s the training that we don’t see, the effort, the blood, sweat and tears that lives behind closed doors for every competitive surfer that most spectators don’t see.
Like any job, you need to work hard. But being a high level athlete is a completely different level. And being a surfer, well, that again is a whole different ball park. There are so many aspects that need to be taken into consideration when getting ready to put a rashie on. You’ve got to look at what you eat, what kind of training you do, what boards you ride, are you in the best wetsuits, do you have the best fins, is your wax grippy enough? To get yourself ready to perform in that short 20-25 minute period is a lot of hard work, determination and grit.
Most CT surfers train every day. Yep, 7 days a week. Some days it’s intense training, other days it’s light training but keeping your body mobile and active is so important when wanting to qualify or even just to compete well. Making sure you have a good diet is so important too. You are what you eat right? So eating good, healthy food is something that is so important when wanting to get to the top. Of course, allow a treat day every now and then because you have earnt a little treat along the way.
Meditation is something that is also really important. As surfers we need to be able to learn how to adapt to the ocean and our surroundings. It is one thing in this whole process that we cannot control, as much as we’d all like to. So keeping your mind calm, centered and focused is so important, especially going into heats. One of our favorites, John John Florence does 10 minutes of meditation before every single heat. We know a lot of the women on tour meditate every day also. Whether that’s lying down, sitting up, guided meditation, with music or even just listening to your own surroundings, getting yourself into a “zone” is something that will help you to achieve greatness.
In saying all of this, if you did this every day but only surfed 3 times a week, every bit of training would go straight out the window. To be a surfer, the most important thing is to actually surf. But what is the desired amount of time to spend in the water? We remember watching a video on Caroline Marks a few years ago when she first qualified and she spent 4 hours in the water every day. So if you break that up into two surfs, that is 2 x 2 hour surfs everyday… or 1460 hours in the water every year. You can, of course, split that out how you would like to try to get to that desired time in the water, but if you don’t get that every single day, that’s okay, it’s just a goal to reach towards.
You know how some days you wake up and you just feel so lethargic, and really unmotivated to be super active, surf for 4 hours that day and just have no energy at all? That is probably your body telling you to rest. Rest and recovery (R&R) is so important when wanting to become an athlete. Everyone needs a little R&R and if you don’t give your body the time to relax then you will most probably overwork yourself and start to feel like even little tasks are getting harder and harder. Remember to take time out, if you are really not feeling it today, that’s okay, cut yourself some slack, you’ve been training all week and giving it 110%, you got to take some of that back to and put it into yourself.
Finding a good team of people through this whole process is going to make achieving your goals so much easier too. They will lift you up when you need it or bring you back down to center when you need it too. Creating a strong, supportive team is something that is so necessary during this process of trying to achieve greatness. It could be your mum or dad, sister or brother, surf coach, gym coach or even your friends who know exactly how to hype you up! If you have these kinds of people around you, keep them near because they are going to really help you along this journey.
After taking all of this in and thinking… “Holy cow there is so much that goes into this” If you want to achieve your goals and are prepared to dig deep through those hard days and the good days, every journey that you have and every single surf, gym, food, meditation session that goes into it, will get you where you want to be. Keep reminding yourself what your goals are, rest and recover where you need it and take it one step at a time. Every surfer’s journey is different and every competitor gets to where they want to be in a different way, you just need to align yourself with the best team of people who can help you get there and most importantly, believe in you.