How To Improve Your Style

According to Craig Anderson, Less Is More

Craig Anderson: It's all in the knees. Photo: Maassen

Although it’s often hard to pinpoint, we know a good style when we see it. From a deft stance in the tube to a subtle twist of the torso, a polished approach can take a good surfer and make him great. Recently, we rang up one of today's the most stylish surfers, Craig Anderson, to get his take on what constitutes a good style and what it’s going to take for you to start improving yours.

Remain Calm: Although the different elements that constitute a good style are often difficult to define, above all, poise and a sense of casual carelesness in conditions of consequence are paramount. “To me, good style is about being in tune with the ocean, timing, nonchalance, vision, and just being relaxed,” says Anderson. If your surfing can make light of backbreaking conditions, you’re already building a solid foundation to becoming a more stylish surfer. According to Anderson, it’s all about simply giving the appearance of not struggling. Although it seems like a catch-22, at a fundamental level, it’s about taking the difficult and making it look easy. “Surfing is an art, not a sport. You can’t try too hard, you’ve got to enjoy yourself.”

Make It Your Own: Each surfer brings their own subtle nuances to the lineup that inevitably attribute to their own style. Although you can pore over videos of Fanning and Parko, at the end of the day, your own style can never truly mimic someone else’s, and it’s important to relish in your individuality. “Even though I grew up watching surfing vids a bunch when I was younger and I always had my favorite surfers to watch, I dont think I ever really tried to copy them,” says Ando. “I don’t think it’s really even possible. Everyone’s style is gonna be different. It’s all about being comfortable and enjoying what you like and everyone has a different take on what they enjoy.”

Don’t Overthink It: Many of the most stylish surfers appear to have an intrinsic relationship with the wave. Their surfing is explosive, in control, and unpredictable. Nothing seems planned, but everything feels collected. A good style is never forced. “For me, when I paddle into a wave, once I’m on my feet, I can’t think about anything,” adds Ando. “When I surf, I really try not to think about it too much. At the end of the wave, it either felt good or it didn’t.”

Who do you think is the most stylish surfer? Leave your answer in the comment box below.