This year saw Hurley Classic celebrate its 25th birthday, and once again it was an amazing event. One of my many highlights was Saturday’s Younguns – ‘Paddle with Stars’. It was an intense morning of fun and action for all involved, starting with the stars meeting their groups, before heading over to the first of many activities.Sweetwater Coaching was providing video analysis sessions to learn the moves of the stars. As a group we watched one of the stars performing a cool freestyle trick, and then briefly discussed how best to break the skill down into parts. Then the really fun part, a dry rehearsal of the actions required to complete the move (using the PETTLEP imagery model).

This was further enhanced by them learning to use a basic video analysis tool called ‘Coach’s Eye’ (free to down load from the internet). It was awesome to watch the ‘Younguns’ working with their stars to rehearse their new skill and analyse the videos of each other, until they could perform the task both left and right.


This was great fun and everyone learnt the actions of some pretty complex freestyle skills. The aim of the session was to think BIG. The beauty of this process is that it greatly speeds up learning by ‘pre-loading’ future moves and helping automate skills… no sooner are you celebrating a successful blunt, and then boom, where did that next link come from…

This was just one of many great sessions provided including; boat outfitting and equipment care, an ear check providing an awareness of Exostosis (surfer’s ear), the paddle board challenge, effective/efficient power strokes on the Ergo’s, flat water freestyle and not forgetting plenty of time to paddle and learn from the stars on one of the UK’s premier play waves.

It was awesome to see the high standard of paddling – proof that recreational youth freestyle is growing and healthy.

Hurley Classic truly is a flagship for freestyle, with people from around the globe attending the event.

I honestly think freestyle has a bright future here in the UK and the best is still to come…

Big thanks to the stars …

Mathieu Dumoulin, Stephen Wright, Nicola Beeby, James Bebbington, Nuria Fontane Maso, Nick Troutman, Alan Ward, Quim Fontane Maso, Emily Ward, Jason Westlee Craig, Robert Crowe, Kataya Kulkova, Sam Ward, Craig Ayres, Mariann Saether and Sebastien Devred.

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