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3 Top surf coaching tips to successfully set the right surfing goals

Surf Coach Daniel Surfcompanion
Surf Coach Daniel Surfcompanion

Daniel has been a surf coach for many years and has accompanied many surfers on their journey. In addition, he has developed Surfcompanion, a guide that helps you become a better surfer. In this article Daniel shares his 3 best tips with us to set successful surfing goals.

Everyone knows this feeling: once more a one week surf trip is over and just now you're starting to feel comfortable on the board again, but have to leave.

Or, you paddle out and ask yourself, what am I actually doing here? Frustration spreads.

How many times do you just want to scream at the ocean, throw your board away and give up surfing completely? No matter what level you're currently surfing at, whether you're just starting or have been surfing for years - frustration, setbacks and level stagnation is something every surfer experiences in their life.

But what can we do about it? Are there possibilities, tools, tricks?

The answer is.


In this blog post you will learn my top 3 surfing goal and mindset tips that have helped or are still helping me and my students to constantly improve!

TIP 1 - Set your goals

Yes, as in any other sport, you should set goals for your surfing. If you practice high jumping, you might want to be able to jump a certain height, if you play golf, you might want to be able to hit longer distances, and if you play handball, you might want to throw more goals. These are clear, measurable goals.

But how do you set specific goals in surfing?

What I used in my coaching are the 3 goals that everyone should set individually (feel free to take a piece of paper and pen and write down your own 3 goals after this chapter :)):




1. Your ultimate goal:

This is YOUR own ULTIMATE goal in surfing. For example, you want to be super fit when you are 70 so you can still surf with your grandchildren? Or maybe you want to stand an air someday. Or maybe even surf Pipeline one day (Pipeline: famous surf spot in Hawaii)? Or stand a hang-ten on a longboard?

Everyone should set an ultimate goal like that, because the other two goals are based on your ultimate goal.

If you don't align yourself with your ultimate goal, you could train and try everything without ever achieving it. Therefore, set YOUR ultimate surf goal! Feel free to take a few minutes to think about what that might be.

My personal ultimate goal, for example: To always keep learning! I have made up my mind that I will surf as long as I make progress, no matter how small the steps should be.

2. Your Longterm Goal

Set a goal for a certain period of time.

This is a goal that you want to achieve in a certain period of time e.g. 2-3 months or one in a year. For vacation surfers it can be related to the surf vacation (often 2-3 weeks). To give an example: imagine you have planned a surf trip to Fuerteventura for 3 weeks. Then you can set a long term goal for this trip: " At the end of my Fuerteventura trip I want to be able to ....." If you spend more time by the sea, you can take for example half a year or a certain period of time, like summer, autumn etc. A specific example might then be, " This summer I want to get better on my backhand."

The long term goal brings you closer to your ultimate goal, but since the time period is shorter and closer to your present, it becomes more tangible and realistic to implement.

Daniel von Surfcompanion surft Welle
Daniel Surfcompanion

3. Your short-term goal -

Set a goal for each session.

The aim is to set realistic mini goals for each session. Note: It is important that you take into account the conditions. To avoid wanting to practice your cutback exactly on that day when the waves are steep, hollow and fast. You simply can't. Consider the conditions and then set your goal. Maybe it's to gain more crowd understanding, to use the current better, or to surf with a different surfboard. There are so many different ways to define goals, but your short term goal should be based on your other two goals.


In my second coaching tip, I share with you a way to not get into a phase of stagnation and frustration so quickly. Yes, everyone knows it: you feel like you're stuck in your surfing level and you're not progressing anymore. This can be frustrating - understandably. A great tool in this situation is analysis. Sit down and try to understand what exactly is frustrating you. Is it the waves, the equipment, your fitness, the crowd or something else? Then make a list or table to break these factors down into "DO I HAVE CONTROL OVER" & "DO I HAVE NO CONTROL OVER".

Then write down what you have control over and what you don't. The list might look something like this:

Matrix - Kontrollfaktoren beim Surfen
Surf Companion

Now look at the things that frustrate you in your surfing and whether you have control or no control over it. If you have no control over it, then you don't need to get upset, because you: (drum roll) have NO influence on it anyway. But now comes the exciting part of this exercise: If you DO have control over it, you can actively change something! So if your paddling power frustrates you, you can actively train it. Or if you don't know how a re-entry works, then you look at the Surf Companion, so you actively get surf knowledge! So try to control everything you can control as good as possible.

TIP 3 - Positive Self-Talk

This last tip is one of my most important ones, because it's all about mental attitude. Basically, try to have a positive talk with yourself!

Means: When you set goals, describe them in a positive way. For example, instead of saying "don't grab the rails on your take-off," you could say "put your hands next to your chest." There is no "NOT" in the second sentence and it describes the TARGET state rather than the mistake.

The next time you set a goal, think consciously about how you describe your goal.

But also, it is important to always aim to speak positively to and with yourself. As an exercise try to practice to ask yourself after each surf session "What was my best wave?" or "What new thing did I learn today in the session?" This keeps you motivated and interested.

Daniel von Surf Companion
Daniel SurfCompanion

I hope you can learn something about goal setting in surfing with these three tips and understand how to tackle them. I hope I was able to give you something useful with this blog entry and wish you lots of fun with what we all have in common here, surfing.

You can also find Daniels Guide Book: SurfCompanion in our webshop.

Your Daniel Spes | ISA II Surfcoach | Co-Founder Surf Companions


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