Tips for your first wave pool session after lockdown

Surf Coach Cahill Bell-Warren shares expert advice about how to ease back into the pool after an extended dry spell…

After what will have felt like an eternal flat spell, Urbnsurf Melbourne is back open! Launching into a surf session will naturally be on the minds of Victorian surfers, particularly the Melbourne Metro surfers who have been unable to wax up and get wet through this most recent lockdown period!

At Surf Better Now, we thought it timely to help you ease back into the water with some tips and hints to get you up and running again.

Expectation vs Reality.
Your first surf session back after any break will naturally be filled with excitement and expectations of delivering a career-best performance first up. The chances of this actually happen are slim to none, the most likely outcome is some blown takeoffs, cartwheels through the inside section and a level of fatigue you’ve not experienced in months!

Accept that you will be overwhelmed by the experience again, regardless of how much time you’ve spent in the Tullamarine lineup. The wall, the generator, the hype the eager eyes on you… Enjoy it! We’ve waited so long, if you didn’t feel the rush, there may be something wrong.

If you’re not up to your usual caliber of surfing after a lengthy lull, why not ease back into it with a less-intense session?

Don’t over froth!
Easy to say, hard to do, especially when a set of 12 waves comes reeling down the pool.  It’s natural to feel a little off on the wave after some time out of the water.  Don’t expect too much from yourself and the way you are hoping to surf each wave. Take it easy, find your groove and slowly build back to being able to rip into the waves you’re on.

Wave Entry is Everything.
If you are familiar with Surf Better Now, you’ve no doubt seen us banging on about this before. Why? Because it’s true and isn’t going anywhere. You’ll tire quickly, but ensure that you give your all on entry… you can recover after you kick off into the channel much better than while wearing the rest of the set on the head. Want to know more?

One step at a time.
It’s very difficult to do a huge re-entry before you’re even at your feet. Remember that each wave requires a step-by-step process. Find your place next to the wall, paddle hard, get to your feet and begin to feel out the waves again. As you feel more confident and comfortable back in the lineup, naturally your surfing will improve wave to wave.

Doing laps at Urbnsurf. Photo by Urbnsurf.

Pocket Tips:
Don’t be scared to take a step back for your first surf…
Advanced sessions got you nervy? Hit up an intermediate.
Intermediate sessions a challenge before COVID? Cruiser is so much fun.
Last session in the whitewater? Have another Learn to Surf.

Breathe and be happy to be back in the water.
Lockdown has surely given lots of surfers time to think, wishing they were back in the water doing what they love. Fumble a takeoff? Catch a rail? Someone get in your way? Breathe, focus on the fact that you are lucky to be back doing the sport you love. Laugh off mishaps, mistakes and errors, feel privileged to even be in the position to be making them! As you move back into the surf, the foundation maneuvers will be the most important to revert to while you are building your performance back up.

Warm Up!
The sprint from the Lifeguard Hut to the water, all 8 meters of it, is not a sufficient warmup for any session, let alone your first in months!

It’s difficult to jump right back into the deepend of your favorite wave pool, as this clip illustrates…

About the Author: Cahill Bell-Warren is a former professional surfer turned surf coach. He is currently the High Performance Coaching Director at Surfing Victoria. Cahill has coached several Championship Tour competitors including Carissa Moore, Nikki van Dijk, Paige Hareb, Ethan Ewing, Morgan Cibilic, Connor O’Leary and Isabella Nichols. He is currently managing the Urbnsurf Surf Academy development pathway for both surfers and coaches alike.