AnyQuestion’s curated list of top performing surfers are here to help you learn about surf technique, etiquette, gear and competition prep. Find informed answers from the world’s top surfers like Tim Brown, Pat O’Connell, and Taylor Knox.
I recommend a 24/7 awareness of your posture, as well as engaging in activities that strengthen the muscles in the back, open up overused muscles, and stretch the inner body. Additionally, focus on flexing the ankles, moving the hips in different directions, and keeping the upper back and rib cage loose. Transcript: "Hi, Michael question is, do I recommend any training for poor posture? And the answer is absolutely. And it's a kind of a 24/7 bubble of posture that I recommend, that means being really conscious of what you're doing every day in every position that you're in. Also posture has a whole bunch to do with movement to. So, as you move, you also want to be aligned. So that's a different part of Consciousness, but I love to Posture work with breath work because they seem to go hand-in-hand and they feed each other. We tend to really work over work. The front of our bodies, we call them the mirror muscles because that's what you see when you look in the mirror. And so we tend to focus on those muscles, but they already get too much work. Anyways, so we need to open the overused muscles and then tone the muscles that don't get you. So the muscles in the back of our body and I'm speaking in very general terms here are usually weakest and predictable. Mmm. So work on, strengthening your back from the back of your heels to all the way to the back of your neck and then opening up and stretching the inside of your body as well as. And that means like inner legs Etc. Underneath the arms, your lats, your rib cage. That's critical. The three most important places to keep loose the front of your ankle. So flexing forward at the ankles, your hips. You want to be moving those hips. In all different directions and then your upper chest. Like, excuse me, your upper back your thoracic spine and your rib cage, critical to function. Alright. I hope that helps a little bit. There's plenty more to talk about. So if you've got more questions, let's ask."
Arms are important for controlling turns and maneuvers on a wave and should be paid attention to, both in the water and on land for cross training. Transcript: "Yes, arms are super, super important and I think not really utilize enough or not paid attention to enough will especially with beginners. The control, you have of your arms is going to affect how well your turn is how much weight and control you have throughout the maneuver. And I think a lot of cross training needs to be undone on land. Be able to build that awareness of where your arms are going to be when you're on a wave. So yeah, really important. And worth paying attention to."
When looking for a surfboard, I look for one that is going to float me enough and have enough foam under my chest. I prefer a squash tail and three fins for smaller waves. I also check the deck and bottom curve of the board to ensure there is enough release and rocker in the tail for quick turns. For bigger waves, I look for a board with more foam and maneuverability, but also enough drive and stability to hold its line on big drops. Transcript: "What do I look for in a board? That's a big question because it depends on the type of wave your writing and your ability for myself. If I'm writing say a high-performance shortboard and I'm writing small waves then I'm looking for something that's going to float me enough. But I'm going to be able to engage the rail to sink the rail enough and so I like kind of a more of a medium rail with just a little bit less on the rail. More foam under my chest actually. And then to be able to have just enough of that width underneath my chest as well. The paddling easily and I prefer a squash tail when it comes to two small waves and three Fin. And then I like to also feel the board under my hands to make sure that the board is not too wide and I'll look at the deck and then I'll foot the board around and look at the bottom curve and make sure Sure, that there's enough release and rocker in the tail, to be able to spring into turns, and to have quick release, and then a little bit like flatter and less curved from the center and up into the nose. So there's a lot that goes into surfboards and that's just one type of board. Really can go into like, what it's like surfing with a big board and a gun and needing a lot. Our phone a lot more length, than in the board. And then, you know, to writing, more of a step up and writing barrels and writing waves that are just like, you know, maybe like in the four to six foot range. You still want the high-performance like a short board would but you need more foam and you need to be able to keep it maneuverable. But also to be able to like drive down, like a big drop and hold and set its line and it's rails. So a deep question and a lot more to come with that one. Hope that's helpful. Aloha."
It's difficult to plan family/speaking engagements because I have to remain flexible in order to chase big swells. I try to give my wife two weeks notice if I know a big swell is coming, but it's still hard to commit to other plans when I'm always on the edge of my seat waiting for the next swell. Transcript: "Hey, sorry this answer's coming so late. Also, yeah, talking about stuff with life, we just had our second baby so it's been very busy and yeah, it's really, really difficult because I literally, when a storm comes I have to drop everything and just chase the swell. And I find it very difficult to commit to family events and other big events like speaking engagements. It's really, really difficult because I have to keep my life flexible to be able to chase big swells. So yeah, again, I'm watching the forecast almost every day so at least I can get like a two-week notice on that there's a big swell coming. And that, if I see something, I let my wife know and I try to arrange things around that so you know, at least I have two weeks kind of notice. But it is very, very difficult to arrange my life and I find it extremely tough to commit to other things because I'm always on the edge of my seat waiting for big swells to come. And it's a lot of downtime, like a lot of downtime in between and swells coming, it's not that great and then suddenly the one comes and then it's all guns blazing, booking a ticket literally the day before, flying out, arriving the night before and then it's suddenly so intense. So everything is about getting things ready to activate when that storm comes."
I used to compete in events when I was younger, but now I just chase storms. It's challenging because it's unpredictable and I'm scared of taking risks and leaving the comforts of home, but I know that in the end it will help me grow and it's something I'm supposed to be doing. Transcript: "Hey so I don't really do many competitions anymore. I used to when I was younger but now I just chase storms. But I guess the challenges of travelling to these big waves, it's always that it's unpredictable, you never know when they're going to happen, there's no calendar really for these big swells, they just pop up and then I've got to drop everything and go and that's really really difficult, it's uneasy. In my nature I'm very risk averse and change averse. I enjoy facing challenges but I find it really difficult and I get super scared, I feel very vulnerable when I do it. So often when I see a big swell coming, pretty much every time I see a big swell coming I get butterflies, I get scared, but I know it's in my best interest for me to face these challenges, to leave the comforts of home, get on the road and surf, chase these big waves because in the end it's going to be a growth experience and I also believe I've been created to surf these big waves so that's what I'm supposed to be doing. But it doesn't come easy to me and I have to really build a mindset every time to get ready to leave home and hit the road for the big waves."
I learned a lesson to never underestimate the ocean when my friend Odd was caught inside by a set and his flotation vest saved him from being paralyzed. Transcript: "I think the greatest lesson I had of never to underestimate the ocean was surfing out at sunset with two of my friends. Sunset breaks half a kilometer about five six hundred meters out to sea and it wasn't a particularly big day. I was wearing my flotation, I kind of always do when I'm out there but I didn't really think it was necessary and my friend Odd was also out and he wasn't going to wear his flotation vest and someone said oh like maybe you should wear it. He went back home from the car park put it on and luckily he did because we went out there he got caught inside by a set and it was like wasn't a particularly big set but the wave just landed on him in a certain way and it wrenched him and he was actually paralyzed and the really the only thing that saved him was he managed to pull his vest because his whole body his whole body was totally paralyzed he couldn't move and he managed to inflate just kind of before that and that kept everything together and we we towed him we paddled him back to the shore took us about an hour to get back to shore and we thought his back was broken but if it wasn't for him wearing that inflation vest he probably might not have even made it and yeah miraculously he is perfectly fine he suffered from bad concussions after that but everything was fine and thank goodness that he was wearing his vest that day."