Tips From An Ex-CT Surfer

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Brett Simpson | Image source:

While turning surf coach after CT might seem a step down for some, Brett Simpson isn’t one of them. The former CTer says it beats autograph signing, and he enjoys being a guide not to comp aspirants, but to regular people wanting to improve and enjoy their surfing. In the Hurley Surf Club, there’s no age barrier, and Simpson finds himself coaching everyone from kids to middle aged or older persons.

Caught on film

One of the features of Hurley Surf Club sessions is that they are filmed. This allows coaches to better point out what needs work, and lets the students see for themselves where they can level up. As Brett explains, few people get to actually see themselves surfing, and the more they see themselves surf the easier it is to improve.

Asked by Stab how most people could use improvement, Simpson lists a few pointers:


A lot of people stand in one place, staying wherever their feet land when they pop up. They need to learn to step up a little when pumping. Then when making turns, they aren’t far back enough on the board. They need to have their back foot over their back fin, which will serve as a pivot point.

Use the right part of the wave

Brett instructs his pupils to use the top three-quarter section of the wave to generate speed. Too deep a bottom turn will end with you losing all your speed.

Project towards the flats

Many people doing airs project up and out, coming out the back of the wave. If you project towards the flats, you can catch the wave as it rolls on.

Wrong board?

Telling someone their board is too small can be a delicate matter as equipment costs money. The first step, however, to improving one’s surfing is using a board that’s suited to their skill set.

Surfline’s Dashiel Pierson took a session himself with Simpo. Under Brett’s tutelage he learned the following tips:


Opening the shoulder will open your turn and let your body compensate, giving you more speed through the turn. It’s especially important in smaller waves to create energy with your shoulders and hips.


The right timing can give the illusion of power. Hitting a lip at just the right moment will release a ton of spray, as opposed to hitting it too late.


On mediocre waves, you want to maintain speed by working on flow. Save hard bottom turns for good waves that break down the line, where you actually want to reduce speed.

Hurley Surf Club’s philosophy is simply, when you surf better, you have more fun. And Brett Simpson readily admits to the warm fuzzies it gives him just to see how stoked people are on improving their surfing.

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