Surf theory... it's time to turn...

Whilst working overseas in Sri Lanka we met and worked with a lot of great surfers, from those hitting the waves for the first time, through to those that have spent years scanning the planet for uncrowded and untouched waves to perfect their skills on. It was great assisting these people on their journey through surfing and it really refreshed and inspired our coaching methods to get them to the next level. From using video analysis to help with timing for take-offs, right through to working with Jake Boex, ex-professional surfer turned yoga & meditation teacher, who was linking specific yoga asana's to improve backside bottom turns. 

Jake Boex ( with a crisp backside top turn on a recent Sri Lanka mission...  Photo: DTL Photography

Jake Boex ( with a crisp backside top turn on a recent Sri Lanka mission...

Photo: DTL Photography

One thing that we did find interesting was the number of surfers that admitted they have been hitting a wall with their surfing. It was interesting to speak with people about this, as many of us just plod along with our surfing, neither progressing or really seeking assistance to understand how to hit that section a little harder, take off a little deeper, or turn a little sharper. Ask yourself the question, when was the last time I felt like I really stepped up my ability in the surf? When was the last time I honestly pushed myself? Have I thought about what my body is actually doing when riding waves? Have a tried to work on a specific turn recently? Have I attempted to ride a new surf break? How about stepping up to larger surf? What about a different surf craft to take a different line on a wave? 

Roam guide, Chris Ranford.   Photo: DTL Photography

Roam guide, Chris Ranford. 

Photo: DTL Photography

On the back of our surfing workshops and 1-on-1 sessions in Sri Lanka we are developing a range of surf theory materials to help inspire you to up your game... This will be followed up with some practical sessions with guest coaches to help you work on each of these themes... more details to follow on this soon.

First of all though, let's start with some fundamentals that we can all go out and put to practice immediately... it's time to turn 

Carving, bottom, and top turns…

The above clip shows some basic bottom and top turn combinations, both frontside and backside, so have a look first then read on for the breakdown...

Basically, everything in surfing is a variation or extension of bottom and top turning. So, it's a good thing to get right and be clear on the fundamentals of how they work, which are broken down below:

HEAD/EYES - look where you want to go

Read the wave, angle the take-off and look where you want to go, keeps your eyes fixed in that direction, not at the board or water.

Taj - Photo:  ASP/Cestari

Taj - Photo: ASP/Cestari

SHOULDERS/ARMS - open shoulders & raise arms in direction you want to go

For the purpose of developing good technique for bottom turns its important to keep your legs compressed and stay low to the board as you’re dropping into the wave, make sure you drop down to the trough of the wave to gain maximum speed, then raise your leading arm and twist/open your shoulders to point in the direction you want to go. This will get the torso turning which will lead to the hips…

Rasta - Photo: Bielmann/SPL

Rasta - Photo: Bielmann/SPL

HIPS - twist the hips in motion with the shoulders and arms

Follow the shoulder twist with the hips, as that will transition weight through the legs to turn the board. (Avoid leaning the upper body over the rails, as this can lead to a common error of bogging your rail, turns come from looking, pointing and pivoting. The above images show that all body weight is still aligned with the centre line of the board.)



Surfing is a continuous movement of weight between the front and back foot depending on what you are doing. When bottom turning the weight wants to be on the back foot, so to engage the fins as a pivot point and set up the turn. Once you have set the turn you then want to transition weight on to the front foot to accelerate forwards. 

The same principle goes for a top turn, using weight on the back foot to engage fins, lift the nose of the board, and then looking, pointing and pivoting to complete the turn and then lean forwards again for speed. 

Photo: Tom Servais   Above shows a lot of weight on the back foot to engage fins, which is then followed with head (look) , shoulders (point), hips (pivot)

Photo: Tom Servais 

Above shows a lot of weight on the back foot to engage fins, which is then followed with head (look) , shoulders (point), hips (pivot)

book a 1-on-1 coaching session to improve your surfing:

Youtube links to support the above:

Theory -

Cutback/top turn -

Roam + .: Yoga, surfing and an environmental education discussion with Surfers Against Sewage

ROAM + .: 

We don’t like to be governed by the seasons. We want to live this lifestyle year round. Winter brings roaring swells, it lights up quiet corners of the bay, it keeps us connected with our friends, our guests and most importantly, our community. And with the ever improving technology in the neoprene world, there’s definitely a lot less pain going for a surf in January than there was, say 5 or 10 years ago. 

With a solid run of surf forecasted, light offshore winds and sea temperatures still hovering around the 10 degree mark, we invited some fine folk that were keen to get amongst the elements and explore what Roam + .: is up to for 2017. 

Basing ourselves in the sleepy village of Gwithian, embedded at the North end of the stunning St Ives Bay, we spent the day exploring the connections of yoga, mindfulness and surfing, as well as gaining a deeper understanding of how we as coastal recreational enthusiasts interact with this precious environment that gives us so much pleasure.   

Starting with Jake of Yoga-Meditation, an ex-professional surfer turned yoga and mindfulness teacher, we learnt a series of asana’s that are deeply beneficial to the basic surfing movements. Jake has produced a pdf guide for this, which we will be using at future events.  

A highlight of the day was our first guest speaker, Dom Ferris of leading UK Surf-Enviro charity Surfers Against Sewage, who discussed three key themes that Roam + .: will be exploring throughout 2017, People, Place and Planet. Dom offered some great insights to the work that SAS are doing, from mobilising over 19,000 volunteers in 2016, to teaming up with Ecover, and their future plans for engaging with inner city communities and schools to reach beyond the usual comfort zone of coastal towns.

We recorded the talk and will be continuing to do this with future guests. Check the link below to listen ...

The surf was well and truly co-operating with enough swell to light up the southern end of St Ives Bay, so a swift wholesome breakfast (thanks Jill) and hit of coffee and we found ourselves scoring perfect head high waves on our own peak. A great way to fuse all elements of the morning together and put physical and mental teachings to practice. 

Many thanks to Dom for offering a really personal account of what People, Place and Planet mean to him, Jill for being an amazing breakfast host, and all of our guests for their willingness to listen, learn and take on the January temperatures to prove this is not just a bit of summer fun. 

Lookout for future Roam + .: events…

Surfboards, art & wine... a gathering

WILLIS ROAM POLGOON Pages, Monday, 12 December 2016 at 11.20.23.png

We tend not to stray too far from the ocean here at Roam. But on the odd occasion we like to gather good people to share stories on all things sea and coast. With the festive season upon us, and many a fun surf going down, there was an easy energy around town and an eagerness to throw a little social to connect some collective minds.

Hosted in collaboration with Willis Surfboards we spent an evening in an old net setting loft on the quayside in Hayle. A pair of old battered blue doors gave way to a warm glow on the inside with an evening of locally made art, surfboards, wine and music. 

Met at the door by the friendly faces of Polgoon everyone was suitably hydrated on entry to fend off the cold with some super charged mulled wine and cider. A friendly crowd came together to mingle amongst the hand crafted boards and resin art works of Whip, as well as muse over some fine silver wear from Hannah Humpston. 

The night was capped off with everyone gazing on in awe at the screening of No Country for Cold Men by Zion, which saw 3 hardy blokes take on the frigid waters of Iceland and Norway for some empty waves and adventure (this put the not so freezing Cornish sea temp into perspective!)

A fun night and soon to be repeated…thanks to Katie from the photos. 

Mindfulness and Stand Up Paddle-boarding: a fresh perspective for staff-training

How can mindfulness and stand-up paddle boarding help a business? Staff training is often in a drab office with a flip chart, some data, and possibly a dry sandwich and too much coffee. By applying ancient techniques of mindfulness and by being in the natural environment through stand-up paddle boarding we found a new way to positively impact staff with a shared team experience that fuels new ideas and a fresh perspective.

“Focusing on each breath allowed me to observe my thoughts as they arose and provided a space to reflect and share”


Mindfulness training, Jake Boex

The use of Mindfulness at Google and Apple amongst other companies has been shown to be highly effective for managing stress and perhaps more interestingly improving positivity and creativity. Staff with improved wellbeing perform better (1). Mindfulness techniques are based on yogic and meditative principles, by using the breath and gentle body movements our thoughts are more easily witnessed, allowing a valuable opportunity to better understand ourselves. By exploring and sharing work situations and in the past present and future fresh perspectives emerge, a group dynamic develops through enhanced collaboration and a shared view results in team cohesion. Next, with a clear mind and calm perspective, applying newly learnt techniques of present moment awareness, we emerge ourselves into the challenging environment of the rocky coast of West Cornwall. 

Stand-up paddle boarding, Chris Ranford

It is suggested that people are happier and reinvigorated when spending time in more natural settings. As exciting as the prospect of a pay rise, a faster car or bigger house can be, studies show that the level of happiness will always fade and return to a baseline. Escaping urban areas or the office and becoming a part of nature has been shown to significantly correlate with life satisfaction, vitality, meaningfulness, happiness, mindfulness, and lower cognitive anxiety (2, 3). Taking this idea into the ocean not only affirms that feeling, but considerably raises the bar. Opening yourself to ocean swells, cool offshore winds and an ever running tide encourages one to be totally in the present. SUP is a relatively new concept to getting out on the ocean, but ultimately its a vessel. A vessel that will get you out of your office chair and standing upright on the sea to explore the marine and coastal environment, away from modern life distractions. Whilst equipping people with the basic safety knowledge and paddling technique the idea of guiding is to give people the space to explore, not only the stunning surroundings, but explore their own ability and test their comfort levels in a fun, but ever-changing environment. A SUP is a fantastic tool to explore stretches of coast that are otherwise off limits and offers an excellent bonding experience due to the relaxed standing position, slow pace and novelty of being out on the ocean. 

Client feedback, Chloe Northcoatt

The day was a great way to engage with colleagues outside of the workplace and have a chance to focus on both personal and group development. Jake led us in a time of yoga, meditation and discussion encouraging us to become aware of changes in our physical and emotional state. Focusing on each breath allowed me to observe my thoughts as they arose and provided a space to reflect and share. Jake is a fantastic teacher and was inclusive of all abilities in the group. The discussion provided a welcome opportunity to share individual goals as well as reflect on our approach to work life in an informal setting. The afternoon led by Chris was a great exercise in team building. Whilst Chris oversaw the route we took, he gave us the freedom to explore and enjoy time together. With a range of abilities, Chris supported everyone's needs and we came away with a fresh perspective on life. 


Jake Boex  Chris Ranford Chloe Northover 

Images by Nick Pumphrey 

1. Blog post, 2016, Why Mindfulness is Big is business, 

2. Nature Maters Conference 2016 

3. Interview with Laurie Parma, 2016, ‘Nature and Happiness’, 


What. Is. A. R.I.P. current?

They are the flipside of the fun that waves and beaches can offer. All too many times we hear of tragic stories of rip currents taking people's lives, and unfortunately, it's those that are not too familiar with the sea and her ways that become the victim. 

Rips occur in any state of sea, be it completely flat, or a raging 20ft winter swell. The ocean's vastness makes it impossible for it to ever fully settle and as soon as you add some other variables in the mix, such as surf, rocks, cliffs, rivers and headlands, then the equation for risk and danger intensifies.

The best advice ever given to me was from my early days of lifeguarding when my supervisor summed up what a rip current is up in 10 words..."a body of water trying to find its own level'. It is not angry, it is not out to get you, it is not going to pull you under, it just wants to level out.

Having been caught in many myself, witnessed 100's of others in trouble and also pulling a fair few to safety from them,  rip currents are something that any beach goer should have a basic understanding of. Growing up on the coast offers you a way of learning these basics as a youth and retaining this vital knowledge for a life time. However, how do we communicate these fundamental life saving learnings to those from inner city areas, how do we make it appealing, how do we make it stick? Well, the below link is a great 3 minute clip from the NOAA that should be watched by every human on this planet, as taking this simple advice can save your life, and also offer you the basic understanding to be able to educate others.

If the ocean is new to you then always stick to life guarded beaches...

Surf & Yoga Sessions

Sync your brain and body with the outdoors this summer

We've been teaming up with Jake Boex from Yoga Meditation and exploring some incredible links between yoga and surfing. Have a little read and see what we get up to ... 

Since its inception in Spring 2016 there has been a real buzz around the combination of
a yoga and surfing session being delivered as a partnership from two start-up
businesses, Yoga Meditation and Roam Surf Guiding. Having already run four events
across a range of breathtaking Cornish beaches and surf spots, the synergy of yoga and
surfing has profoundly impacted those who have taken part in the Spring half day taster

To put this experience into context the sessions start with a ‘surf orientated’ one- hour yoga session, led by ex-professional surfer turned Yoga and Meditation teacher Jake Boex (Yoga Meditation). You can leave your yoga mat behind for this as Jake insists that the session is carried out on the beach or nearby sand dunes, as this offers an incredible feeling of being connected to the outdoors. The beauty of outdoor yoga is not only in the stunning views of a West Cornwall beach, but it's also the sound of waves and wind encompassing you as you are led through a series of asanas that will begin to prepare your mind and body to take on the surfing element of the experience.

(Photo: Luke Pilbeam)

Following on from the yoga session comfy clothes are quickly swapped for wetsuits and
surfboards and participants are then guided through a two-hour surf session with Chris
(Roam Surf Guiding.) This covers everything from the very basic safety aspects of being
in the ocean right through to advanced techniques of surfing, as well as understanding
the waves, tides and wind, as this offers a toolkit to allow you to continue learning on
your own after the session. It is not a typical surf lesson format, the emphasis is to guide
you into the sport and culture of surfing so that you building your skills to be able to
come back to the beach and practice on your own, using correct techniques, safety
knowledge, and the right equipment to confidently enjoy the waves.

Jake Boex, Yoga Meditation, “Feedback from guests has been super positive so far and
we are promoting this as a great way for anyone wanting to get a taste of surfing and
yoga all combined into one package. The two combined make for an excellent way to
connect with the outdoors and make the most of our surroundings ahead of the summer

Chris Ranford, Roam Surf Guiding, “There is a such an obvious link between yoga andsurfing and it’s proving effective as everyone is surfing with correct technique due to the
body and mind being fully engaged and alert thanks to the yoga session ahead of taking
on the surf instructions. The group synergy is so positive everyone is so supportive and
encouraging of each other's progress throughout the day.”

(Photo: Luke Pilbeam)

As well as the physical benefits the sessions are concluded with an environmental
outdoor educational session touching on a range of local issues such as water quality,
marine litter and climate change to aim to raise awareness and empower people to take
ownership of their local marine and coastal environment. Jake and Chris are both
academically qualified in environmental science and comment on how the feedback and
environmental discussions add a great touch to the experience, “After a few hours of
high physical activity people are keen to engage the brain, so with a post surf coffee
buzz these discussions offer the group an informal platform to ask questions and gain an
understanding into what they can do to protect their beach to continue enjoying it as it
should be. We’ve even gone all out and run a full blown impromptu beach clean with one
of our groups, so it's obviously a great way to cap off the morning!”
The Surf & Yoga Sessions are running all summer in a variety of locations throughout
Cornwall every Saturday. Jake and Chris will be partnering up with a wide range of surf
and yoga teachers/schools to offer participants a highly personal and engaging

(Photo: Luke Pilbeam)

Jake Boex of Yoga Meditation is a former professional surfer and recently began
teaching yoga, but has been in practice for the last two decades. Jake also holds a
Ph.D. in Climate Science and is a qualified teacher. Chris Ranford of Roam Surf Guiding
has 15 years experience as a surf coach and has run surf guiding experiences in far
away countries such as New Zealand. Chris has a specific focus on working with small
groups and individuals to offer high-quality experiences. Chris is also a marine and
coastal environmental expert and the West Cornwall Rep for Surfers Against Sewage.