For many ocean swimmers, negotiating the surf is hard work (and it always will be) because they’ve never learnt the correct technique, and/or they simply don’t have the swimming strength and fitness to execute.
Yet, they still give it a go, battling the surf, stopping and starting, duck-diving on the spot, and spending just as much time vertical in the water, as horizontal on the surface.
The most efficient way to negotiate the surf is to use the swim-dive-swim technique, staying as streamlined as possible throughout, and using momentum and speed to continuously swim until you’re “out the back’.
There is, however, another technique that is overlooked that will transform your surf swimming, and it doesn’t involve diving at all.
Whether you’re struggling to dive and get deep enough under waves, or a wave catches you off guard, this technique will change the way you approach the surf.
I call it the ‘superman’ technique, and it’s designed to help you negotiate waves with the least amount of effort possible.
The technique simply involves stretching out into a superman pose on the surface of the water as a wave approaches, and passes over you.
To get yourself in this position, leave an arm out in front after the recovery phase in your stroke, and then bring your other arm over to connect to it. Stretch out long from hands to toes, engage your core, and keep your head tucked in-between your shoulders, eyes down.
As the wave reaches you, increase the effort in your kick to maintain momentum and to counter the force of the water in the wave.
By being in this streamline position you will be exposing minimal surface area to the oncoming wave, and you’ll slice through the wave – the wall of water moving over, and under, your body.
Once you feel the wave behind you, start to swim again, maintaining a streamline position, high on top of the water. Don’t forget to sight forward to check where the next wave is.
Lifeguards and lifesavers aren’t the only superheroes on our beaches, with this simple ‘superman’ technique, you can be one too!