Tips for taking your Playboating to the Next Level:
Tons of people I have had the pleasure of boating with talk about the “plateau” or “hump” that simply wouldn’t go away with their playboating. A common feeling of doing the same moves for years makes them less excited to jump back in to their local feature and do the same thing over and over. As someone who spends a majority of their time playboating, I too have felt this plateau, but after getting pregnant with my son Tucker and feeling a different challenge while playboating, it helped get me out of my comfort zone and try different things with different techniques. This change sparked so much more enthusiasm for me and I feel that I have been able to hold onto this excitement by remembering and trying a few different things with my playboat.
There is no order for learning… Grouping tricks by difficulty can really slow down your progression. For years I could only do a Splitwheel in one direction. But I could mcnasty, phonics monkey and do other moves before I finally nailed down that left splitwheel. If I had gotten stuck on that one move and had not been willing to try other moves that seemed “above” where I was. I might never have learned the skills I needed to get my split. Don’t be afraid to try, even if you are at the earlier stages of playboating, the beauty is you can try anything! Not sure how to start trying? Check out a couple youtube tutorials! And remember- the sky is the limit.
Remember that each feature is different and just because you can do a move one place, does not mean that it will be easy at another.
This is always tricky… You know you can loop at once place, and you visit another and simply can’t do it at first. Instead of getting hung up on this frustrating moment, try to see what other people are doing in the feature, or watch how they use the feature. Every feature is different so performing the same moves will also be slightly different. While the basic technique remains the same, there are small tweaks or modifications to your move that you can make to allow the trick to happen. Also know that for moves that you can perform left or right, some features are really difficult to do a move one way, and could be easier going the other direction. Be patient with yourself and remind yourself that are you learning how to do a trick in a new feature. This can be super exciting as it challenges you to try using different techniques.
Take it to the Flatwater:
Sometimes the features make it harder for us to focus on using right technique or edge control. Paddling on flat water removes this element and allows us to focus all our energy into our edge control. Whenever I want to try a trick in a hole, I like to “attempt” it in flatwater. This allows me to visualize and feel what motions I am going to do and less on how the feature comes into play. By being confident in the motions I am trying to perform, I can enter the feature feeling that I know what I am doing. For instance, the lean clean: The lean clean is a cartwheel, clean cartwheel, clean blunt, blunt, and many other moves done in flatwater. By having a solid lean clean, it will help us get further with learning the trick. Another move to try is the bow smash, the bow smash is the beginning of a loop. This drill can help us focus on keep our boat flat, while learning how to get the front of the boat, under the green water without dropping an edge.
Step 1 Have your boat completely flat while sitting upright, imagine sitting in an armchair, don’t lean to either side- BUTT FLAT
Step 2: While throwing your body forward focus on slamming your feet under the surface of the water. Remember, you must keep your boat flat. You should have a splash come up off the front of your kayak. As you get better at it focus on using less of your body motion and more on your feet pushing. If you feel you aren’t staying flat, this will correlate with flipping off to the side when you try it in a feature.
Play games with a Buddy! Such as Pig or Horse.
Having someone to goof off with at a feature makes playboating much more fun! I love the challenge of trying to perform tricks that other people are better at. One way to challenge yourself and your buddy is to play PIG or HORSE. Rock Paper Scissors to see who starts, one of you calls out a move and a direction- for instance- Left Cartwheel. Both of you have to try it. The person who calls it out goes first. If they complete the move then the next person has to try it, and if they don’t complete it, they get the first letter of either Pig or Horse. If the person does get the move, then its still a blank slate. If you call a move and miss it, it also counts as nothing and moves on to the next player. This is great because your friend will try to pick moves they think they are better at then you. This challenge allows you to try new things while playing a fun game!
Tip #5- Power of Positivity
There are two parts to being positive, one is visualizing yourself performing the move in they way you are hoping to complete it and the second part is how you talk to yourself. Before peeling out into the feature, imagine yourself doing the move exactly how you want to do it. This positive image in your head goes a long way towards helping you complete it.
Secondly when you are getting feedback or telling yourself how to do something. Always go positive. What I mean by that is, instead of saying: Don’t lean back, say, lean forward. By trying to fix our bad habits, if we keep saying don’t don’t don’t, then all we are thinking about is the thing we aren’t supposed to do. Think about what you are supposed to do, and tell yourself that over and over.
I hope these tips help you get out of our playboating rut and put the excitement back into your next surf session. I personally have found that by using these tips, regardless on how many times I have surfed a feature, or tried a certain trick, it puts the enthusiasm back into my paddling and gets me excited for the next time out!