An Introduction to Performance & Competitive Surfing for Groms Aged 8-10.
A gloriously sunny Sandend beach hosted the first ever SSF Menehune Camp for 8-10 year old surfers. The purpose of the one day event was to give an introduction to competitive surfing and the tactics, rules and technical skills required to help them to enter the SSF competition pathway. It was also to help bring on the coaching and judging skills of local coaches.
The day started with small but contestable surf – ideal conditions for our purposes. Initially we focussed on the core fundamentals such as wave selection, positioning, paddling technique and improving pop ups before moving on to speed generation, line choice and manoeuvres.
After a beach picnic we then moved on to judging criteria, heat formats, strategy and priority. An on-beach priority simulation was devised and soon the kids were employing their new found knowledge and tactics to out-manoeuvre their fellow surfers during the mock heats.
The kids were judged on their heats and were able to build and improve upon their initial heat totals as the day went on. We discussed the scoring with the kids so we all developed an understanding of what would be deemed good competition surfing.
As the waves dropped away we then moved onto a surf-skate session to fine tune the techniques required to maximise scores. With fewer variables compared to actual surfing, we could isolate the body mechanics and saw a vast improvement in a short space of time. The kids (and adults) gave it their all and we all came away really happy with the outcome.
I was assisted as the head coach by a great team with many years of surf coaching and competitive experience including Donald Peace as a regional coach; Natalie Kobedza as a recently qualified coach and a previous national girls champion; SSF junior team manager Russell Cruickshank; and Lainy Cruickshank behind the lens and doing an amazing job with the edit.
Well done to the surfers, including some travelling from the far corners of Scotland: Asher Noble, Faraid Winterton, Jonny Russell, Kai Cruickshank & Oscar Morgan – this bunch can achieve big things in future competitions. Thanks to the Scottish Surfing Federation and Sport Scotland for funding it. Craig Sutherland (Suds) SSF Junior Squad Head Coach