The Surfing Competition Experience February 29, 2016
You are awoken by the sound of your 6:00am alarm with butterflies in your stomach. Thinking about some of the rules in a surfing competition, the first thing you do is to call the organizers hotline to find out where you will be competing today. After a light breakfast, you jump in your car and drive down the beach to meet with your friends and fellow competitors.
The heat draw is up and you follow the crowd to discover your first heat is at 10:00am with three of your best friends. You notice your rashie color is white and are thankful you're not in unlucky yellow! As your heat is not scheduled, for a while you enjoy the atmosphere and surf music with your friends and relax before your upcoming heat.
It is now 9:00am and time to begin your heat preparation. You plan on using the 60-minute method involving a 20-minute warm up surf, 20 minutes observing the heat before you and 20 minutes surfing during your heat.
You shimmy into your wet wetsuit while cursing yourself for not hanging out to dry last night. You re wax your board and check both your fins and leg rope before running down to the water. The water is cold but refreshing as you feel your muscles warming up through the familiar routine of paddling. You catch a few waves to work out the nerves and boost your confidence for your upcoming heat. Checking your watch it's 9:15am, time to head in on the next wave to begin your second phase of heat preparation.
You're back on the beach wrapped up in your towel and grab a drink of water while you watch the current heat. You analyze the waves timing the sets, counting how many waves are in each set, noticing which wave of the set is best, and finding the perfect landmark to be in position for the right waves in the water. You watch the surfers in the water and listen to their scores over the speaker noticing which manoeuvres are scoring highest and plan to incorporate them into your waves during your heat. It is now 9:30am, you hear the announcer call your name and you head down the beach to grab your rashie with your friends.
On the beach, you begin your warm up routine of dynamic stretches and continue to analyze the surf while joking with your friends about who will win. The five-minute flag goes up and you run into the water. The butterflies are back and it’s competition time. You hear the siren sound and put your game face on. You and your friends all know what happens in the water, stays in the water.
You catch your first wave and begin to relax; you’re happy with your two turns and paddle back out into the lineup. The announcer calls out your score as a 5.5, a solid start. The next set is approaching, but your opponent in red has the inside position. She scores a 7.0; you've got some work to do. Out the corner of your eye, you see the perfect wave approaching, unfortunately so had yellow. You race each other to the wave in a paddle battle and take the inside position. The wave is yours and you finish every turn. You smile as you hear your score through the speakers, a 9.0. You have won your heat and are moving through to the semi-finals.
After grabbing a drink of water and a snack from your car, you check the heat board to see how long until your semi-final. There is three heats before yours, meaning you have an hour to rest before you head back in the water.
It's now time for your semi. You know this heat will be harder than the last, but you are confident. You have five minutes left and your heat has not gone to plan. You are in 3rd position and need to catch another wave to scrape into second in order to make it to the final! The score you need is a 6.0. It's not impossible, but difficult to catch in five minutes. Finally, you see a wave coming your way with one minute to spare. You catch it and milk it all the way to shore really making the most of the wave.
You've done it! You got the score! It's on to the finals!
Back on the beach, you debrief with your coach. You do not want to make the same mistakes twice and intend on surfing better in the final. You only have a 20-minute break so you quickly refuel before grabbing your rashie and heading back down the beach. Your stomach is churning and your nerves are at an all-time high. You use this nervous energy to your advantage, giving you an extra boost of energy at the end of a long day. The siren sounds and you make the most of every wave. You’re in first place with an 8.0 and an 8.5 with five minutes remaining. It's time to use high performance surfing tactics and stop the surfer coming second from catching a wave by using blocking. The shooter sounds and you've done it! You won the final!
You shake the hands of your fellow competitors in the water and thank them for a great competition, before catching a wave to shore. On the beach, your friends and family are waiting, screaming and cheering. Before your feet can touch the sand, they sweep you up and chair you up the beach. A competition ritual for the winner of the surf comp.
Back in the car park, it begins to sink in as you are congratulated. It feels fantastic to have your surf lessons South Australia and training finally pay off with a big win. You sit with your friends while waiting for your name to be called at the presentation. Your final is announced and your name called as you are handed the trophy. You make a quick speech thanking the event organizers and sponsors, your coach, family, and most importantly, friends/fellow competitors.
As the competition packs up, you say goodbye to your friends as they joke and say "I'll get you next time!" But they will have to wait and see.