Are You Experienced?

But first

Are You Experienced?
Have you ever been experienced?
Well, I have

-Jimi Hendrix

Did you hear about Bob and Sue (not their real names of course!)?

Well, they got the axe today.

My co-management member launched into a terrible story. Basically, Bob was taking Sue, his manager, on business trips around the country. Bob was the Vice President of his department so maybe taking his manager was not a bad idea. Well except that he had a director. Which also just happened to be the husband of Sue. So he should have been going on the trips instead of her. But somehow he was talked out of going because his expertise was needed to hold down the fort.Sometimes loyalty does not pay off!

Some smart person in accounting noticed some tell tale clues and they were later terminated.

After her divorce and termination, Sue needed to gain a new line of employment. I was shocked to hear what she did next.

Sue is now a certified Life Coach. There to guide people to do the right thing.

In the surfing world and in our modern society; there are many Sues out there. People whom lack the qualifications, experience, or traits to be a leader yet have no qualms portraying themselves as being qualified. Thankfully in most cases, one would understand what they are getting. For example, most parents would figure out that their child’s Pop Warner Football Coach is probably not a former coach of the New York Giants. But in the surfing world, instructors and coaches often portray themselves to newcomers as if they have spent years traveling the world surfing Pipeline, Puerto Escondido, and Shark Island when the reality is that they spend their day on the beach towel watching when the surf size maxes out.

That can lead to a situation such as what happened the other day. A post on social media that made me do a double take.

A person with very minimal surfing experience was talking about their class they are taking to become a surfing instructor and they were going into the finer points of the local surf breaks. Some of the breaks in this area are pretty heavy and I am sure this upcoming instructor has never been out at.This person has limited water experience. They ended their post with their excitement to teach people to surf and were urging people to take to the seas under their guidance.

Some endeavors in life require commitment and experience. Lots of time spent building and honing your craft. Surfing is one such commitment. Sure there are a million surfers in the world, just as there are a millions of people who are not animal behaviorists that taught their dog to shake hands. There are far less folks in this world who can train animals such as dogs or cats to do a complete show. The number of people who have experience training a whale drops to a mere drop in the bucket when compared to the population of unskilled folks with the hand shaking dogs.

To anyone out there reading this that is new to surfing…Believe me…your instructor may seem friendly and they probably mean well but the odds are they have little idea beyond teaching you the basics of standing up. If your goal is just to take one class and be done…then this can be OK. But if you really want to learn the art of surfing then it would be prudent to research who in your local area has a proven track record of doing more than just churning out a thousand hunched over, foam-groveling minions on soft tops.

In my opinion, a real certified coach should have done a few of these items:

  1. Surf in extremely large surf. If they have never spent a day out at Pipeline or Puerto Escondido then they more than likely lack any idea on how to help you if the surf gets large. Sadly enough, if things in the ocean sour, your instructor may need to be saved themselves.
  2. Judged a real surfing contest. Even an amateur contest for the N.S.S.A. or a club contest will do.
  3. Coached someone from zero to at least top ten in their division.
  4. Coached for a surfing company.
  5. Surfed as a professional or been entered in an amateur event with a title at stack. This could be the N.S.S.A. Championships or I.S.A. World Championships. Wearing a Hollister shirt that says 1971 Laguna Surf Championships is a big no no!
  6. Posses a very keen understanding of body mechanics.
  7. Surf very well on a longboard and a shortboard. If your favorite board is a funshape or a pop out, then you are more or less pulling yourself out of consideration.

So what skills would you believe that a surfing instructor should have?

Oh yeah, this weeks Noise to Note! is Jimi Hendrix. To stick to the theme, I was looking for Are you Experienced. Sadly, I could not find a video for the song so the substitute is Voodoo Child. The video is long. Very long…but you can watch a person who has spent countless hours fine tuning their craft. Not someone who took a course and is trying to bypass real world experience.





About 1stpeaksteve

Welcome to The Side Wedge! The Side Wedge is a product of the journey through life of Steve Zima. Former professional surfer, a writer, surf coach, and hospitality manager. This is a collection of travel tips, motivation, and stories from my past. Finally, I offer surf coaching through The Side Wedge. Please feel free to contact me with questions if you want to improve your performance today! Thanks for reading!
This entry was posted in Helpful Stuff, Music, Surf Contests, Surf Training and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Are You Experienced?

  1. A first aid certificate 🙂 especially if clumsy me was the pupil

    • 1stpeaksteve says:

      A sad story Charlotte…My friend and I took some students to the beach to learn to surf. I left my buddy with the students and went out and caught some waves. When I came back to the beach, I saw one of the girls laying on the towel with another towel on her face. I asked her if she was OK and she pulled the towel away and had a big swollen nose that was bleeding! Yikes!

      She did a big dive into the water but unfortunately the surfboard beat her to the entry point. Years later she would point out to people that we were responsible for her slightly off keel nose.

      Learning to surf sounds fun…huh?

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