Fijian Surfer Hannah’s top tips on preparing for a Surf competition
I’ve been planning to attend the Vanuatu surf fest since January this year and as Vice President to the Fiji Surfing Association, my focus was on everything logistical except competition. I had to force myself to take a break from organising and start preparing myself for competing. When I was about three weeks out, I began to apply dietary structure to my daily routine which looked like this:
My daily food diary
– kickstart my day with fruit & soy protein powder shake
-3 snacks for lunch such as salad, trail mix, granola bars
-big meal for dinner that included healthy carbohydrates and non fatty meats (my favourite being pasta lean meat balls)
-knowing that I had to travel soon, I began taking turmeric, ginger, lailai shots every other day in the week leading up.
My workout regime
My workouts always consist of as much surfing as possible especially before an event because I want to fine tune my equipment and work on some new moves. A couple weeks before the event I have my surf coach attend my sessions in order to get maximum feedback and to practice surfing in a heat type environment.I’ve also recently found a love for cross training and I’ve changed up my entire routine this year. I used to go to the gym a lot and work on some weights but I’ve found that it restricts my mobility. So I’ve completely stopped going to the gym and have been practicing yoga regularly along with surf specific exercises that focus on flexibility and explosiveness. The results have been extremely evident!
Calming my nerves
Before this trip, I hadn’t attended a competition for some time so I knew I had to mentally work on being in a calm mindset before my heats. Sometimes excitement gets the better of me hehe. So when I practice my yoga/ stretch routine I try to do it with my eyes closed in silence and take deep breaths to calm the nerves. I do this when I wake up and right before I paddle out for my heat. This contest in particular I was really aiming to win the entire event because I was that confident in my surfing and I really wanted to step it up! I competed against girls from New Caledonia, Japan, Australia and Vanuatu. Not only did I want to win, but I wanted to work on constructing a smart heat which meant more than just surfing good waves. It meant I needed to pay attention to the scores the judges were giving me and try to better each score on every wave. It also meant I needed a heat strategy according to the wave conditions, etc. What I’m most happy about with my result in Vanuatu is the way I was able to execute my heat strategy even though I came short in the final winning second place. Ahhh well next time!
Rest and recuperation
After competition, it was clear I needed rest and serious hydration. My body was in such a focused state for the week that when it was all over I kind of crashed. I pretty much slept for 10hours! I think the Vanuatu surf fest was one of my favourite contests but also one that I performed the best in. I set some goals and fulfilled every one of them and that to me is worth more than the prizes I got. Now that I’m back in Fiji, I’m back to the drawing board already out surfing trying to work on the things I know need improvement whilst it’s still fresh in my head. Some of those things include surfing smaller non-perfect waves (which I’m so blessed with here in Fiji) surfing out of my comfort zone (meaning trying more innovative manoeuvers) and learning to perform in conditions that aren’t ideal.