IT’S ALL ABOUT SURFBOATS

Coaching

Coaching surfboat crews is very challenging. It combines scientific and technical factors in an ever changing environment. Surfboat coaching includes surf skills essential for safety and competitiveness.

Surfboat coaches must prepare competitors to respond to the unexpected with a sense of adventure.

Coaching young people in a team sport incorporating surf conditions carries many responsibilities. Coaches must be qualified with an understanding of physiology, psychology, training procedures and technical aspects.

Good coaches are able to relate to competitor’s feelings. They know how to motivate and inspire. These qualities come naturally to talented coaches and cannot simply be gained by attending a coaching accreditation course!

Typically coaches aim to optimise a competitor’s skill and performance level. Assisting novice rowers to develop fundamental skills can be just as rewarding as coaching highly competitive, elite crews.

History

One of the most uniquely Australian images are the famous shots, that most readers can recall of bronzed surf boat crews around Sydney in the early to mid 1900’s.

Whether it was the sweep in control at the stern, batting their way though a huge break to rescue a hapless swimmer fighting in a rip, or most likely the image of a wooden surfboat and crew taking a huge back shoot down a wave. These are the evocative images of Australian surf boats that featured in news reels and media.

Classic Wooden Surf boats were the rescue work horses of the Surf Lifesaving Associ- ation in Australia…when a swimmer was in trouble too far beyond the break to be reached by a lifesaver attached to a belt and reel the boat went out. Likewise if res- cues had to be made around a rocky headland – maybe a fisherman had been swept into the sea – it was a job for the surfboat.

The introduction of inflatable rescue boats, and surf rescue helicopters, meant that the surfboat was no longer deemed a rescue craft. But intense regional, state and national SLSC boat competition and the incredible commitment and enthusiasm of thousands of participants, and in recent years a massive increase in female crew members, has kept this challenging and thrilling sport alive.

 

Strategy

The surf zone is a fundamental part of surfboat racing. It can influence a crew’s competitive destiny. Conditions often vary across a race course, for instance some crews may have to row through waves while others benefit from a smoother trip to sea. Returning to the beach some crews may be assisted by a wave while others have to deal with a shallow dead zone or outflowing water. 

We must accept surf and variable conditions are a core part of our sport. Competitors who think it is unfair to be hit by a wave may be better suited to a different sport!

Surf skills can substantially influence a crew’s safety, competitiveness and luck!

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