Negotiating the surf

Developing efficient ocean swimming skills

As an ocean swimmer there’s nothing more satisfying than swimming out through the waves like they weren’t even there and then body surfing gracefully all the way back to the beach.

This intermediate-level clinic focuses on the surf zone; developing a better understanding of waves, learning to adapt your wave negotiation techniques on the go, and making smarter navigation decisions.

You will get personal realtime feedback on your technique, timing and decision-making as we train within the wave zone.

To finish, we’ll touch on some advanced skills and race strategy that will develop your speed, efficiency and competitive tactics.

Combining this clinic with the recommended pre-requisite Learn to ocean swim clinic will complete a fully-rounded ocean swimming education, and prepare you for a lifetime of ocean swimming.

Our 2017/18 season of ocean swimming clinics has finished. Join our mailing list to be the first to know about upcoming clinics.

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What you’ll learn

  • How to go beyond a basic beach assessment to see what others can’t see
  • How to make smart navigation decisions in the moment
  • How to identify multiple types of waves, and the best techniques to take on each wave
  • How to get every little bit of assistance from the ocean as you can
  • Adjusting your swimming stroke to the wave-zone, choppy and open water
  • How to swim onto a wave and bodysurf it back to the beach
  • Navigating the shallow inshore zone by wading and dolphin-diving
  • Buoy turns, pack swimming and drafting
  • Tactical competitive decision-making

Participation prerequisites

This program requires the following pre-requisites:

  • Have completed a 1km ocean swim event
  • Tread water for 10 minutes
  • We strongly suggest starting with the Learn to ocean swim clinic.

Clinic details

Who’s it for?

Choose this clinic if you’ve completed Learn to ocean swim, or you’ve been ocean swimming for a while and you’re looking to become stronger and more efficient in the waves.




  • 3-hour clinic
  • Minimum two instructors
  • OceanFit silicone swim cap ($10 value)
  • A pair of Vorgee Missile or Vortech goggles ($29.95 value)
  • Up The Ante 2km online training program ($49 value)
  • Post clinic advice and support

Clinic size

Capped at a maximum of 12 participants.

What our participants say

I really liked the personal feedback and repetition of skills until improvements were made!

I highly recommend the Ocean Swimming Level 2 clinic… within the 3 hours I had full confidence to throw myself into the ocean with safety, ease and a much better understanding of negotiating the wave zone.

I can’t recommend this clinic enough. I was nervous about the surf, but the class explained all the mechanics of how the waves work, and by the end of the theory session I couldn’t wait to get in the water and put it all to the test. Andre is an excellent tutor: very practical, very reassuring, and really knows his ocean swimming onions. If you’re thinking about this clinic – do it!

This clinic was 3-hours well spent with extensive experience shared by Andre and to practice new skills. Well supported in the water by Emily. I’ve enrolled in the Vitality program as a result of this well structured program and to assist my skills further for my first ocean swim in Feb.

I loved our ocean swim clinic on Saturday morning. As someone with a pretty overwhelming fear of big waves it was certainly a challenge for me at first, but by then end of the clinic I was body surfing waves that only the day before I’d have freaked out at the sight of! Andre made us feel safe and comfortable and I can’t remember the last time I learnt so much in such a short period of time. If you’re considering doing a clinic I can’t encourage you enough – DO IT!

I learnt so much about the ocean and open water swimming from Andre’s wealth of knowledge and now feel more confident and able to practice what I’ve learnt. I’d only done one open water swimming event previously which was flat but can now aim towards improving skills in surf conditions. I’d highly recommend this clinic and hope to do more.

Thanks Andre for an awesome session. The time flew by and I left wanting to know even more and feeling so much more confident in the water. Now its time to start practicing! Thanks again Andre and see you again soon.

Common questions

In Negotiating the surf we build on the ocean awareness session from the Learn to ocean swim clinic by focusing on how we can use our new knowledge of how the ocean works to swim smarter and new ocean swimming techniques are introduced.

The strength of this clinic is in the time allocated to practising your new techniques with your instructor close by to give immediate, personal feedback.

You’ll leave this clinic with a huge bank of techniques you can practice in your own time, in our ocean fitness classes or at your next ocean swim event.

The highlight of the clinic is putting all your new-found knowledge and skills together at the end in a mini ocean swim event out around the buoys and back.

You’ll be surprised at the level you can take your ocean swimming in such a short time.

We strongly suggest completing the the Learn to ocean swim clinic, before participating in this clinic.

This is because when it comes to ocean awareness, it is often a case of ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’. We guarantee you will learn things you didn’t know previously, and we will bring everything you do know into a clearer picture of how to get the most out of your knowledge from an ocean swimmers point of view.

When it comes to the ocean swimming skills, your actual swimming skills will definitely help, but the focus is on learning techniques, and not doing lots of ocean swimming. So if you’re a great swimmer, we’d expect you to be able to pick up the techniques faster, and perform them better than others, but you still need to master the core techniques.

We are also very good at spotting great swimmers, and we will help you get even more out of your technique session by having you move onto advanced skills, or we’ll tweak them down to the last 1% of efficiency.

Please note:

If you choose not to complete the Learn to ocean swim clinic, please be aware that we won’t be repeating the content from the former clinic in this clinic. It is expected that you are proficient in all the skills and knowledge taught in the Learn to ocean swim clinic.

This is a technique-based clinic, and so speed isn’t important. You will need to be able to sustain whatever speed you swim at for the entire clinic to get the best out of it. We’ll bunch swimmers of similar speeds together for all the group drills.

Next steps

Completing this clinic makes you eligible for ENERGY, and to take things to the next level, book in for a personalised Private lesson.

What to bring

For your comfort & safety, please bring the following items to your lesson.


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