For years I never got into watching any pro surfing events, or even found much interest in surf videos. The pros always seemed to surf on perfect waves I’ll never ride. It was for kids looking to be the next Kelly or Lisa. It all seemed too contrived, too competitive, and too commercialized.
While my latter opinion hasn’t changed much on the commercialized part, I have begun to take an interest in pro surf events in particular, since I believe they help to improve my surfing. I’m still not a competitive surfer (except for a few fun charity events each year), but surfing better just means more FUN. And that’s all I’m after.
I highly recommend signing up for the World Surf League’s updates on their website. They now have free streaming of the live professional surf events online, which I’m really grateful for. It’s not perfect (there’s a few dropouts in the feed from time to time), but it’s generally pretty good.
Luckily for me in Florida, the current event, the Rip Curl Pro, is in Bells Beach, Australia. This makes for excellent evening viewing instead of the nightly news and dumb sitcoms. We don’t get the TV coverage of surfing here in the USA like other countries (Oz, I’m looking in your direction).
Unlike most sports events here in the USA, the BEST part of watching this pro surf comp feed is the commentary. They have been helpful in breaking down the waves, the sections, what to look for in a wave, etc. This can translate into any level of surfing. I’m not going to work on a roundhouse cutty into a reverse air anytime soon, but watching the pros wait patiently to select a good wave so they can set up a solid bottom turn…. that may be helpful to watch a few times.
Another thing watching super pros surf in competitions does for me is to prove that the top Masters in the World of Surfing like Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning, and Courtney Conlogue DO fall on occasion. And it’s because they’re pushing themselves. Hey, I pushed myself to even TRY surfing. Then I pushed myself to ride the face of the wave. Now, I’m pushing myself to use my rails more. And on and on. Hopefully for many years to come. They prove there’s never an end- not even for pro surfers.
Lastly, watching a professional surfer gives me confidence. I mean, have you SEEN some of these moves?!? Like I said, I’m not ever doing airs or McTwists, but I may try harder not to fall off next time the wave hits a bit of turbulence. I mean, just LOOK at what’s possible!
I’m on a far slower and different learning curve however, but it doesn’t mean I’m not willing to learn just the same as the pros did. I mean, a reverse 360 air does look like fun. If you land it.