[Interview] Female Surf Coach: Ruby Meade

1. How long have you been surfing and how did you get started?
I started surfing when I was 14 at a place called Maori Bay; I’m now 22 – so about eight years. I always spent time at the beach as a kid, but neither of my parents surfed, so I was not exposed to it as many other groms were. One day I decided that I didn’t want to live in the city and be in the rat race. I loved the ocean and wanted to make it my lifestyle. This was when I decided to try surfing, and my passionate love affair with it began.
 
2. Where do you surf in New Zealand?
New Zealand has surf on both coasts, everywhere. I live in Raglan – the most famous wave here. It is made up of 3 left-hand point breaks with two fun beaches and a heavy right-hand bar. This is only one spot however, there are hundreds of amazing waves here…you might have to go exploring if you want to find them 😉
 
Surf Coach Ruby Meade3. Where have you traveled to and what is your favorite destination?
My favourite destination was a place called Santa Teresa in Costa Rica. A beautiful long white sand beach with playful peaks and a jungle background – simply magical. I have also surfed all through Bali and Lombok, through parts of Australia and over the different islands of Samoa. 
 
4. How did you get into training people for surfing?
As a uni student I decided that I didn’t want to waste my summers spent working cramped up in a store, or behind a bar. Naturally my love of the beach, teaching/working with people, and my hate for conformity living and the 9 till 5 grind led me to surf instructing. Over the years, it has developed from teaching beginners to moving into move advanced surfing, and loving every second of it.
 
5. What is your approach to improving surfing?
I believe that surfing is most definitely not just a physical practice. There are so many overlaying factors that contribute to success in the ocean. From physical fitness and ocean knowledge to understanding your psyche and self-awareness. If you are serious about improving your surfing – you should take a comprehensive approach. Being open to understanding the biomechanics behind the sport, and what motivates you are just two examples of ways to look at performance improvement.
 Ruby Meade

6. What inspires you to train women in surfing?
I have always been a little bit of a feminist. I still enjoy being feminine in many “typical” ways however I am passionate about equity and believe that women should have the exact same right to men in (and out of) the water. I want to train women specifically so that they can improve and be coached in a way that resonates with them. I want to help women break the gendered stereotypes that aim to keep us suppressed/ not regarded as powerful or assertive in the water. Though there are a lot of “learn to surf” coaching services available to women there are little based around real performance surfing -especially with a comprehensive approach.
 
7. What do you find are some of the most common challenges your clients face?
A lot of ladies want to know how to be more confident in themselves, especially in male-dominated crowds. They want to surf better, but find it difficult to get good waves in macho and male dominated lineups. It’s cyclic, because once they gain experience with their technique they become more confidence to hustle for the waves and push themselves. I think mentally that is a present challenge, however technically there are always different challenges. Everybody has such different styles and goals. It’s hard to pick a trend!
 
8. Explain how your coaching service works?
For now I am based online. Surfers can send me in some footage of a couple of their waves and I will analyse it. Basically I will put you next to a professional (female) surfer that is completing the same maneuver as you. I will slow it right down and show you where (and why) your technique should be altered to improve your performance. With both voice over annotations with helpful and easy to understand goals, and a visual analysis so you can see exactly what you need to do. I will then send it back to you as a video file (email), and you can watch it before you go surfing. That video is yours to keep and refer back to for as long as you need it.
 
9. Can you give a quick tip for someone to apply to their surfing right now?
Don’t try and change everything at once. Pick an area that you want to improve in and spend the whole session really breaking down exactly what it is that you need to do to maximise the movement. The best way to start is to get filmed and see yourself, however if you already know what to do, it is just breaking the maneuver down to the fundamentals and working on it slowly from there.
Read more about Ruby at http://thesurfbox.net/