How To Surf With Style – The Soul Arch

On a recent advanced retreat in Costa Rica, I asked the group for suggestions on classroom session topics. One of the guests suggested a talk about how to have good style.

What is style?

Style is one of those things that you know when you see but is hard to describe. One of the most stylish female surfers, Stephanie Gilmore says “there’s no right or wrong, you do what feels good to you.”

The SOul arch

For the talk, I listed a handful of generally considered stylish professional surfers and then created a slideshow of photos of them. One thing we noted that almost all had in common was a tendency to do a “soul arch”. A soul arch is when you usually have your feet relatively closer together and you thrust your hips out, arch your back, and lean your head back. Whether it is in the tube, on a bottom turn, or during a nose ride, a lot of stylish surfers will go for this move. It looks cool, it feels cool. I encouraged the Amigas to try it on their next session.

Inspired myself to take my personal soul arch to the next level, I really went for it one session. I was paddling out with a local friend and we were talking about surfboards. She wanted to try mine and suggested I try hers. She weighs a bit more than I do so her board was quite a bit thicker and stiffer than what I’m used to riding. This is a video of my first wave riding her board. After a few turns, I went for the soul arch, into a cheater 5 nose ride soul arch, into a head-dip tube. Does it look cool? It felt amazing. In the end that’s all that matters!

I dare you to try a soul arch on your next session. Let us know how it feels!

Holly Beck, soul arch, style, surf instructor, learn to surf, costa rica

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