It doesn’t matter what level you’re at, when your surfing improves you end up having more fun.You get a sense of personal accomplishment, or maybe you unlock something that means you can take on bigger waves, or you fix your technique and finally do that move you’ve been working on….
Improvements come in many ways – increased ocean knowledge, better physical preparation, awareness of technique just to name a few.
I’m on a mission to help beginners and experienced yet average surfers unlock their surfing potential.
The approach I take is quite different from other surf schools, is very thorough and treats everyone as an individual. You won’t find any big group lessons here.
Read on and find out if my style of surf coaching is for you.
Why UP Surf Coaching Exists
Reason 1 – I noticed that standard beginner surf lessons often don’t teach people the skills they need to progress quickly, or prepare people to surf confidently on their own.
When people go to a surf school they usually have an awesome time in that first lesson, the instructor puts them in the right place, they catch waves, stand up and get hooked.
But most surf lessons don’t go into the nitty gritty details of what it takes to be a surfer, and if the student is serious about getting into the sport this can set them up for some frustration.
Many beginners feel a bit lost after the typical one-off lesson. They wonder what they work on next, how they go from standing on small whitewater waves close to the beach to riding proper waves out the back with the real surfers. Others don’t have the confidence to paddle out from the shore as their lesson didn’t teach them enough about the ocean or how to navigate around and under the waves and other surfers.
I reckon lots of would be surfers get demoralised at this point and give up.
Reason 2 – I realised that “average” surfers often lack clarity about the mistakes they are making and get stuck, not knowing how to improve. They also struggle to find coaching that is genuinely aimed at their level.
Almost all surf coaching and training is being focused on 2 specific groups – total beginners and upcoming professionals.
What about the 35 year old late-starter who wants to improve his top turns and get his first barrel?
What about the girl whose been surfing 3 years but wants some help to surf point and reef breaks?
What about the busy family man who doesn’t surf as much as he used to, but wants a training program and some technique coaching to ensure he rips on his next surf trip to indo with the boys?
They often get that classic surf tip “Just surf more”. Whilst water time is vital, it’s not that simple. Many average surfers go on making the same mistakes year after year.
They generally attempt to improve by buying the latest boards and fins, but possibly haven’t considered that coaching could be a much more effective and cheaper solution.
It’s crazy that there aren’t many coaching options for these forgotten surfers – they make up more than 90% of the worldwide surfing population.
My name’s Andrew Lucas and I’m the lead coach at UP Surf Coaching. I qualified as a surf coach in 2006 and worked for schools in New Zealand, Australia and Panama before starting UP Surf Coaching in Raglan in 2012.
My time working in Panama showed me how quickly beginners can learn when given a comprehensive course, that was my main motivation, to offer beginners in Raglan something similar. I’m stoked I followed through with that, as the ‘Become a Surfer’ course has become more and more popular and it’s cool to see people progress so fast.
As mentioned above, providing something for the intermediate or average surfer was also a goal, so I spent time learning off some of the best coaches in the World like Martin Dunn and Matt Griggs (coached Mick Fanning when he got his 1st world title). I found out what they do with the Pros and then tweaked it to meet the unique needs of the average surfer.
I think my main strength as a coach is my understanding of the average surfer, especially those that didn’t start surfing at a young age.
I got into surfing later than I would have liked and as there were no real waves where I lived, I was basically a weekend warrior and would often go months without surfing. It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I decided I needed to re-locate, finally becoming a regular surfer. My first real surf trip was when I went to Indo at age 25.
I’ve got myself to a level where I can surf a wide range of conditions, do a few decent turns, get barreled when the waves allow and attempt the odd air (without too much success but working on it). I’m in my 30s now but still feel I’m improving and I’m feeling more surf fit than ever.
If you have a background at all similar to mine, you’ve likely had to work for a living 40 hours per week, maybe sitting for much of that, not getting much water time. This kind of lifestyle basically trains your body to be better at sitting, just as a pro-surfers lifestyles train their bodies to be better at surfing from age 5 or whenever they start.
Once you realise that any lack in your surfing ability isn’t simply a lack of talent but more that you’ve had a lack of opportunity and practice, you can start doing things to overcome the negative effects of your non-surfing lifestyle and sometimes see quite rapid improvements.
Because I’ve been through it, I can recognise and understand the main barriers average surfers have to improving. Whether the barrier is a physical issue like tight hips and limited movement patterns, a mental one like unawareness of correct technique, chances are I’ve been through it and can help you fix it.
I share a common background and have spent hours and hours researching ways to fix problems that many average surfers have. If I had just surfed all day everyday from age 5 I would no doubt surf better, but I wouldn’t be anywhere near as good at spotting, understanding and fixing the common problems average surfers have when trying to surf better.
Level 1 and 2 International Surfing Association (ISA) Surf Coaching Certificates through Surfing New Zealand
C.H.E.K Exercise Coach (the training system Mick Fanning and other pro surfers use)
Completed a High Performance Surf Coaching Program with Matt Griggs (former Rip Curl team manager)
Community Surf Life Saving Award and Current First Aid Certificate.
A few years ago the demand for lessons exceeded what I could handle myself so there are now 3 of us coaches on the UP Surf Coaching team.
These guys are not only experienced surfers and coaches with all the necessary quals, they’ve also been through detailed training on how our beginner courses and other lessons are run.
A lifetime surfer and photographer by trade, Rod has been running our beginner courses in Raglan the last few seasons and has also been chief photographer/surf coach on several intermediate coaching trips to Indonesia and Taiwan.
He has a photographers eye for detail and that makes him a great technique coach too. And if you want tips on longboards, twin fins and retro boards, he’s your man.
Julia was lucky enough to grow up surfing alongside her Dad on Raglan’s beautiful lefthand point breaks, one of her favourite places in the world.
At 17, she traveled to South America and landed her first surf coaching job in Miraflores, Peru. It was there she realised how much she loved sharing surfing with others and saw the positive impact it had on people’s lives.
Since returning from that first trip to South America, she worked as a surf coach in some of the most progressive surf schools in Australia and New Zealand. She is great at explaining technique and loves encouraging people to push their limits.