High Performance Surfing Tips

9 July, 2015

2015 Mark Richards Camp at Surfing Australia's High Performance Centre


Day started at 7am with breakfast and intros followed by a warm up session performed by the Surfing Australia HPC fitness & conditioning coaches. We then packed boards and wetsuits and headed to Kingscliff for the first video surf session. They watched how to surf videos which enlightened them the do's and dont's in surfing.

After the surf we returned to the HPC centre to review the video footage with surfers and get their input on the session and select a surfer as the “best performer” of the designated task (perform 2 critical manoeuvers on each wave) Billy Harrison awarded best surfer for this session and had to do presentation speech for this.

The presentation speech had an emphasis on “being different” and interesting to the possible media to make it an attractive talk and something they can run with. Sponsors want to have multi-talented surfers who not only perform in the water but are also ambassadors for the companies they represent and ‘saleable’ in the market place.

Lunch and a short break then it was down to the beach again with 4x world champion Mark MR Richards with us to see the session. We went to Cabarita where we were greeted by 3ft cross shore conditions with clean faces for the afternoon video session.

Returning to the HPC centre for an in depth talk on board design led by Mark Richards we were treated to some inspiring stories and wise words that all the kids and coaches learnt from. Talking about heat preparation, and ways to get the job done in a heat and life, to be focused, and train hard. I took the opportunity to get my photo taken with the great man after the talk before we signed off for the day to have dinner and relax for the evening.


Early rise at 6.30am to overcast conditions and light SW winds (offshore) After breakfast it was time to review yesterday arvo session footage. The task of 2 turn combinations was reviewed with most meeting the task however inconsistent performances from all. Sandon Whitaker(Avoca) was awarded the ‘Man of the match’ with several high scoring combinations.

Talked about the need for consistency and setting tasks, and practicing these whilst freesurfing. MR went on to talk about finishing waves and the rigors of competition and his 4 world titles ( Mark is a great storyteller with plenty to share). He also added the surfing competition rules that should be follow in order to win the game.

The task was set again for our next surf lessons South Australia session and we packed the buses and headed to the beach for our next session greeted by clean 2-3ft lefts and rights offering an outside section and some continuing through to the inside. The task for this session was again on surf skills and 2 turn combinations with an emphasis on finishing waves.

All surfers upped the ante, many surfers accomplishing the task with some high scoring combinations impressing the coaches but standout surfer was another Avoca surfer in Caleb Tancred receiving the ‘Man of the match’ for this session who scored long rides with multiple critical manoeuvres on several waves.

With lunch and a little relaxing time out of the way it was time to hit the pool with Nam Baldwin from Equalize for Breath Enhancement Training (B.E.T). Nam works with professional surfers Mick Fanning and Mark Matthews in their competition and big wave breathing programs to maximize performance and breath hold times. This was a very educational session with WCT professionals Glenn ‘Micro’Hall and Matt Wilkinson joining the session and getting as much out of it as we did!

Late afternoon was decided to be some relaxing time ready for a big final day of gym session followed by heat scenario competition finish to the camp tomorrow!


Last day of the camp and another early rise for scrambled eggs, cereal and other assorted treats..

Breakfast done and it was down to the gym for a fitness & conditioning session before packing the van with kids and boards for our last surf session “competition day”. The kids were given the heat draw and after a quick free surfing exercises it was into the first heats. The standard of surfing was high throughout all heats with 7 to 9 points rides attained for for the surfers that progressed. With the semi finals done it was down and 4 surfers remaining the final was a high scoring and tight affair with numerous exchanges going down with vertical reentries, carves, hacks and a few massive top turns.

After the final it was back to the HPC Centre for lunch, wrap up and presentations of the contest and MR surfer of the camp.
The final result of the MR contest was a deserved winner in Caleb Tancred just beating an in form Sandon Whitaker followed by Dexter Muskens 3rd and Jagger Bartholamew 4th.

The surfers were then put in an interview situation where they had to tell everyone a little bit about themselves with a “story” to give to the “media” to grab their attention.

Final presentation of the Mark Richards surfer of the camp went to, Sandon Whitaker for his overall attitude, dedication and performance throughout the camp which was presented to him by Mark Richards.

Surfing South Australia representative Levi Bailey Post Camp Interview:

What did you like most about the camp?
Meeting new people and surfing in the warm water.

What was your favourite session?
The final session because I used a Mick Fanning model DHD which was there to try and loved it.

What was the surf like?
Pretty fun but difficult to catch a good one, and a lot more powerful than I expected.

What do you think you will benefit most from as a result of the camp?
Watching the other kids surf and comparing myself to the other kids surfing standard to improve my surfing

Who was your favourite surfer?
Sandy (Sandon Whitaker ) – heaps of power in his turns and good flow

What advice would you give to other SA juniors from what you saw and learnt over the camp
Push yourself and don’t always do safe turns. Try some new stuff!!


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