Going in, I told Barry these were my goals:
I want to grow into a competent shortboarder. I tried shortboarding before I was much good at surfing, and ended up skunked and frustrated most of the time until a friend suggested I go longer again. Last year I got decent on an 8'3" and this year I've been riding a 7'0", intending to transition down more gradually. (I'm planning to have Ward Coffey shape me a shorter board for my birthday in November.) I want to get barreled, and be confident in bigger hollow waves that throw barrels. I want to conquer my fears (please read this post, although I've made progress since I wrote it). I want to be able to get outside with less struggle; I could semi-duck dive my shortboard but turtle-rolling has never worked well for me and I'm still sometimes denied on short-period days. I want to be more comfortable and less stressed surfing in crowds. I'm out there to have fun, but it's most enjoyable when I successfully meet a challenge, be it in conditions or maneuvers.After the initial assessment, I've had eight rougly bi-weekly sessions with Barry, the last one following an unintentional three-month hiatus. With his help, I've made a lot of progress. Focusing on my goal of shortboarding, he's taught me to think and surf more like a shortboarder. My wave judgment has improved so I know better where I need to be, even if I don't always make it to the right spot to get the ride. He's also helped me to increase my paddling power and speed through cross-training, including swim sprints and weight exercises, so I can get into more waves, though I'm not quite as fast as I need to be just yet. I also started using an upside-down Bosu balance trainer and skateboarding (the latter derailed for a bit by an Achilles tendon strain). I'm still working on areas such as body awareness (lead the body with the hands), board sensitivity, and assertiveness.
|Coach Barry, far right, during the initial assessment. My surfcam stays home when I'm training.|
Last week's session #8 was the first time Barry had seen me on my new shortboard although I've had it for a couple of months. In no small part due to his preparatory work, I'd made a smooth transition from my 7'0" to the 6'2" from the first time I surfed it.
I've come far in a much shorter time than if I was trying to figure it all out on my own, though I still have a way to go to reach my goals. But with Barry's help, I'm confident I'll get there.