Surfing Dangerous Seas

Surfing is a sport that requires fine tuning a basic set of skills which have to be particularly sharp in dangerous seas.

Case in point: Cyclone Oma, which in late February camped off the coast of Queensland, Australia and spun off big surf which rolled and pounded the coastline. Take a look at the picture on the left.  Would you ride that wave? And if it broke in front of you, would you know to handle it without breaking something? Like your back. Chances are you would sit on the beach, right?

The Surf Life Savers Association, which is tasked with minimising risk to swimmers and surfers on the country’s coastline (and saving those who get in trouble) , shut down the local beaches as a precaution and posted the red-flag “Beach is Closed” sign. The red flag attached to the sign snapped to attention in the relentless southerly winds cart wheeling off the cyclone.

But that shutdown sign didn’t stop intrepid surfers who revel in cyclonic surf spawned by the likes of Oma to test their big wave riding skills. Many of the surfers who rode Oma surf had to be pulled into the building waves by grabbing a rope attached to a surf ski, a technique known as tow-in surfing. The conditions demanded it  because fierce offshore winds made catching the waves difficult if not impossible on short, lightweight boards which are favoured by surfers who want more manoeuvrability.

Many spectators went down to the beaches and points in southeast Queensland to watch the show. They were not to be disappointed. Yet, these waves were small compared to what other big wave riders tackle in Portugal, Mexico, Hawaii, and California where Pacific and Atlantic storms build liquid towers reaching 60 to 70 feet that break on mid-ocean shelves and pinnacles.

You don’t get to that level of big wave riding skill without lots of training. For example, there is now a breath holding training program for these daredevils that anyone wanting to expand their lung capacity can use. After tons of water crush down on you, you have to be able to hold your breath for minutes, not seconds. This requires lots of training, which would-be big wave riders can do on land and a pool. Surfers also need to do weight training and serious conditioning work before going out and riding giants.

Anything, including surfing, works better following an incremental program that buildings confidence like waves. You can build on previous success, but it would be foolhardy to ride a 60-foot wave on your first outing. So take a lesson from surfers when you design your e-Learning.

To stay with the analogy, your learning pathway should involve training that starts you off with a foam board you can ride just off shore. It may be a short ride, and you may fall off, but you can always go to the next step at your own speed.

Let My Learning Space help you ride toward competence in building a training program anyone can ride.