Video Saved the Surfing Star

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Video Saved the Surfing Star

Practice makes perfect, but sometimes an objective eye can help you figure out what’s holding back your surfing. Below our awesome instructor Helen (and self-proclaimed “Surf Nerd”) shares a “techy trick” for how you can morph your moves from kook to ka-pow! 

I’ve already waxed lyrical about the benefits of video analysis for improving surfing, but, GEEK ALERT: I’m now taking the dorkiness to a whole new level with my discovery of sports video analysis software.  While my friends are at the bar meeting hot latin men, I’m at home on my computer synchronizing and comparing my bottom turn with Kelly Slater’s, or drawing trajectory arrows and pretty circles on surfing screenshots.

The really cool thing about analysis software is that you can really slow down, study and comment on a surfer’s technique.  However, it’s a pretty humbling experience to come face-to-face with your own performance.

For example, let’s take a look at this screenshot of me going backside…..

Helen video analysis backside

Let’s start with the good things about this screenshot:

1) My head is up, I’m looking where I want to go.

Now the not-so-great:

1) I’ve been exposed as a rail grabber.  I’ve used the magnifying glass to zoom in on my hands and they are clearly on the rails and the fingers are not pointing forwards.

2) The other thing that sticks out like a sore thumb is my back knee. It should be tucking in behind the front leg, but the knee is pointing backwards.

3) Check out my left shoulder: in the screenshot my shoulders are parallel with the stringer, but ideally they should be more ‘open’ with the shoulder axis facing towards the nose of the board. 

Another rather snazzy thing about video analysis software is that you can create a split screen and compare two different video clips. Want to surf like Kelly Slater? Here’s how. In the screenshot below I’ve captured my top turn and Kelly Slater’s top turn (I’ve twiddled a few buttons to convert Kelly Slater into a goofy footer like me).

It’s obvious that our body positions are completely different. Kelly Slater is almost upside down as he executes his top turn. My commitment looks pretty feeble in comparison. The world’s most famous surfer is holding a compressed position applying lots of power and throwing spray, I’m standing upright like a Barbie doll, not even throwing a squirt. Kelly Slater’s board is above the lip, mine is more than a foot below it.

Helen vs Kelly photo

So if you’re serious about improving your surfing come to surf camp and get analyzed. As humbling as it is, remember: A picture is worth a thousand words, so just imagine what 50 frames could do for you.

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