Surf Companion

surf companion

The Surf Companion “workbook”, is your companion on further surf trips and the perfect addition while you learn how to surf. Doesn’t matter if you’re on your own, work with a coach, or if you’re spending your holiday in a surf camp.

The Surf Companion is a beautifully illustrated and easy to understand hand book, to accompany your journey to become a better surfer. It’s made with the knowledge of ISA Surfcoach Daniel Spes, and brought to paper through the pen of Florian Hättich.

daniel spes ©thefreesurfer.com
Dani when I met him a few years ago in Andalucia

I met Dani in early 2016 when he was working as a surf teacher in Andalucia. What surprised me from the beginning on, was his openness about other people’s thoughts in surfing and teaching. Plus his will to progress, as a surfer and a teacher.

A lot of other surf teachers simply feel like they know enough and their surfing is where it has to be. But Dani asked about my opinion and tried to get another point of view about things he knew perfectly well. This is the perfect mindset for a coach or any kind of teacher, but unfortunately, nothing that is found very often!

As with so many others I crossed paths, we didn’t stay in touch. I knew nothing about the Surf Companion until I hear the podcast from “get wet soon”.  And within a few days, I had a copy in my mailbox.

So what is the Surf Companion?

The Surf Companion is a handbook to accompany your journey to become a (better) surfer. It’s not a book that explains it all. But it is a book that makes you understand things visually, that might be difficult to imagine.

In surfing, everything goes so quickly, it’s often difficult to grasp the single aspects of a complex movement. If you go to the right surfcamp or have a good surf teacher, he will try to break down a complex movement into single steps. Then, he will tell you exactly what you have to concentrate on, on every single step. Once you’ve got these steps dialed in, you can put them together into one fluent movement. This sounds very easy, but you probably know how difficult this can be in the beginning, right?

surf companion by thefreesurfer.com
Use the blank space to write your personal notes…

The illustrations take you through these steps and tell you certain things you should focus on. But it leaves a lot of space around for your personal additional notes. After all, it is YOUR Surf Companion. And if you work with it, it will not only become more colorful, but more useful as well. This can be because a surf teacher gives you a little hint that makes all the difference to you. As you add it to the picture, it is easy to remember it the next time when you need that tip. Or maybe a friend sees something in your surfing you do wrong every time. He might give you something new to focus on, and this changes the game. Write this as a WORD CUES into your Surf Companion, so you remember it the next time you go surfing again. (I personally use this technique for a long time already. It helps me a lot to work on mistakes I know about, but struggle to change.)

Personal example:

top turn surf companion ©thefreesurfer.com
From the pages of the Surf Companion onto a wave…

If I want to surf a backside hit the lip, I usually hit it not as straight upward as I want. This is in fact something almost everyone does. But as long as you never see footage of you doing it, it feel like you’re going absolutely straight up! It Feels like high noon, when it is in fact more of 2’o clock!

I would know what I have to do differently, ( go deeper and more square in the bottom turn, rotate more toward the breaking wave, and then HOLD this position for a moment longer). But I struggle to do it! So in that very moment, all I do is to repeat to myself: Hold it, hold it… (and so on)

In the sequence above, I use the same CUE WORDS as the Surf companion uses.

For what level of surfing is this book?

surf companion line up explained ©thefreesurfer.com

At the moment, there is only an Intermediate edition available. They call it with a fair bit of irony the “German Intermediate”, as for example an Australian surf coach has different ideas on what intermediate means. It includes different kinds of breaks, paddling, take-off, riding a wave, basic maneuvers, and a bit of board selection too.

But further levels are in the making. A Beginners Edition will be available this year (probably before summer), and the Advanced Edition should be ready next year.

For whom is the Intermediate Surf Companion for?

I would say it is for everyone who is somewhere between: Going to surf for the very first time, to people who call themself intermediate and already know how to surf a wave and do some turns. Especially if you don’t surf every week. 

With the illustrations and your personal reminders from previous sessions, it can be a huge help. And the explanations of a re-entry and a good cut back might be helpful, even if you already know how to do it.

In short?

Buy it! It’s made with so much love for the details and it’s for sure helpful. Unless you’re a professional already. I’d say it is even helpful for coaches to work with it. Or you can simply use it as a colouring book while you’re away from the ocean and feel sentimental…

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