There is a pattern when learning a new skill – that pattern is universally true and not at all limited to surfing. It is a path we all have to take on the road towards being better surfers. However 👉🏽 quality surfskate practice can accelerate that process and overcome some barriers found within surfing.
If you want to know how you can start progressing faster by employing surfskate practice and why it works so well – you should definitely read on.
1. The stages of learning a new skill
2. How to get to the next stage
2.1. From Ignorance to Awareness
2.2. From Awareness to Learning
2.3. From Learning to Mastery
3. Barriers found within surfing that slow down your progress
4. How to overcome these barriers with surfskate practice
5. Struggling with the Fundamentals?
The stages of learning a new skill
The pattern I have mentioned above 👆🏽 is called the four stages of competence. These stages are named 1. Unconscious Incompetence (Ignorance) – you don’t know you’re doing it wrong. 2. Conscious Incompetence (Awareness) – now you know what you’re doing wrong. 3. Conscious Competence (Learning) – you are learning and concentrating on doing it correctly. 4. Unconscious Competence (Mastery) – you don’t have to think about it anymore, you’ve mastered the skill.
These are the stages you have to go through on the way towards mastering any skill 👉🏽 So let’s take a closer look and how it applies in an example.
How to get to the next stage
So what do you need to do to get from one stage to the next? There are ways to get you to the next step faster and they are easy to employ in surfskate practice but not as easy in surfing – more on that later.
Here is picture to help you visualize the four stages of competence and what it takes to reach the next step.
From Ignorance to Awareness
This is the easiest step to take and yet often ignored completely – I guess there is a reason this stage is called Ignorance after all. Let’s say you really want to nail cutbacks. For whatever reason you just can’t seem to get them right. You have seen millions of clips of professionals doing them and watched a thousand YouTube videos explaining the maneuver – still 👉🏽 you don’t know why you can’t do it.
Well, what you haven’t seen is a video of yourself.
As simple as that will you leave the first stage behind in no time. Film yourself, watch it, compare it and analyze it. Probably you’ll see that your body posture is completely different from the pros and astoundingly way different from what you’ve thought you looked like – there’s a little room right here to have a weep after you’ve just seen yourself, I know I needed these a lot back when.
But that is how you get from Unconscious Incompetence (Ignorance) to Conscious Incompetence (Awareness) – by getting aware you’re doing it differently (incorrectly).
From Awareness to Learning
Now that you know you are doing something wrong 👉🏽 you can go back to the tutorials and clips of the pros. Keep comparing your form with theirs, paying extra attention to the things that are the most different from your own technique.
Next, start practicing these things and try to imitate as closely as possible. (Keep filming and comparing in that process – it will always remain a vital part) You will have to develop a feeling for the right movement. If you keep practicing the right way and inching closer towards the correct technique – one day it will click – you will just feel it – I promise.
It will feel smooth and effortless and these are the cues you are doing it correct.
From Learning to Mastery
Unfortunatley, just because you got the feeling right once – it doesn’t mean you will be able to replicate it every try now. But you do know the feeling you are seeking and you know what you need to concentrate on, which is the reason this stage is called Conscious Competence.
Well, how do you get to Mastery then? Countless times of repetition. If you really want to master it – go the Shaolin Monk way – hide away in the mountains, doing nothing but workin on your craft. But honestly, it will take hours of practice to really get to the point, where you are doing it right, without having to think about it 👉🏽 Unconscious Competence.
Barriers found within surfing that slow down your progress
The tips I have given you to fast track through the four stages of competence are easy enough to follow in most of the sports – but in surfing it can get quite tricky. Let me talk through the tips again and see how it might be a problem to apply these in surfing.
Filming yourself while surfing is quite tough or expensive, unless you have a buddy who’s happily sitting at the beach filming you for hours on end.
Getting the feeling is an even bigger problem. In case you’re not surfing in a wave pool – it’s likely you’re dealing with more problems than just the maneuver you’re trying to get right. Especially if you’re in the beginner or early intermediate phase of your surfing journey, you will still be scrambling to get waves and you will scramble to stand up on waves – how will you possibly be able to remember your were supposed to open your shoulders during the cutback?!
Countless repetitions – I guess you get the picture. This is limited in the same way we just laid out. Even for an experienced surfer trying to perfect his cutbacks it’s tough to get the number of reps he needs in the water. The section might not always be right for the maneuver, heck there might not even be waves at all, when you get off work and have time to jump into the water.
How to overcome these barriers with Surfskate practice?
How can we overcome these barriers in surfing by employing surfskate practice? Well, there really isn’t a lot to it. Nothing is easier these days than filming yourself – you just need your phone and a cheap tripod. You could even just lean your phone against a stone to prop it up.
In my opinion filming yourself is the single most important thing you should take away from this article. It is so valuable to see yourself, if you really want to progress in surfing. So if you have never seen yourself surfing or your surfskate practice 👉🏽 go film yourself right now and watch it.
Countless hours of repetition is also not a problem in surfskate practice. You don’t have to paddle for a wave, you don’t have to pop up and the section will always be the same. You can spend all your cognitive power on concentrating on the movement and getting it right.
Struggling with the Fundamentals?
Do you think you’re struggling with the fundamental movements and body posture of surfing? Do you feel like you can’t quite understand, what it is you’re doing wrong – even after seeing yourself on tape? Well, there’s no shame in admitting to yourself, that you need outside help.
I used to think I could figure it all out by myself – if I just kept practicing and analyzing – and I’d dare to say I got to quite a good level.
But my surfing progress accelerated so much, when I started taking surfskate practice more seriously after discovering the Ombe and SurfStrengthCoach Cardboard Surfer program. I’ve written a review about that program, that I really think you should give a read in case you’ve found yourself in the paragraph above 👆🏽You can find it here.
Now you know the stages you have to go through towards mastering any skill. You’ve also learned how you can accelerate the progress between these stages to a certain extent using a sufficient surfskate practice. On top I’ve pointed you towards a program that changed the way I approach surfing and that has accelerated my progress tremendously.
In case you liked this article and you want to support me in writing more just like it – I would really appreciate if you supported me with the equivalent of buying me a coup of coffee ☕️.
I don’t think there’s anything else for you to do now – get out of the chair you’re sitting in – and get into a good session of surfskate practice. (Don’t forget to film yourself)
I’m constantly looking for ways to improve my own surfing and writing articles about these topics – if you like to follow me along on that journey – I would love for you to go over there 👉🏽 on desktop or down there 👇🏽 on mobile and subscribe to my email newsletter.
I hope this will help you improve your surfing and that you had a successful day wherever you might be in the big wide world out thee 🤙🏽
Medical Student, future Psychiatrist, Semiprofessional American Football Player and Surfer.
Did you know, that if you improved 1% every day for a year, you would end up 37 times better than you have been, when you started.
I truly believe we can all be a better version of ourselves – getting there together is more efficient and a lot more fun.