Wade Carmichael – Turning Weaknesses Into Strengths

All Surfers can turn their deficiencies into strengths, just like Wade Carmichael did.

WSL World tour competitor Wade Carmichael turned a poor snap manoeuvre into his weapon of choice, simply by understanding what needed to be changed, and went about working on those changes.

Wade, as a developing talent was always a strong surfer. He was, and still is today, known for his power game and is rewarded consistently for that style of surfing. The fans and judges love Wade’s power and flow, and particularly his forehand snap manoeuvre, which is one of his main weapons in competition.

But this was not always the case. In fact, I did a training video of his surfing in 2011 where I stated that his snap manoeuvre was a real weakness. I recommended that he change his snaps so they were fuller, more on-rail, simply by turning his head more, so he looks back over his shoulder. This turning of the head, unlocks the body so that the full rotational power of the body can be created and applied, creating the world-class snap we see today.

To make this turn a major scoring manoeuvre in competition, the “full snap” should be his first choice when he comes around a section. By doing so, he create a rail turn displaying full risk and commitment throughout the turn, something judging panels reward highly. Through his focus, and hard work, Wade effectively turned a weakness into his signature move on the world circuit.

The phenomenon of turning a weakness into a strength is something I’ve often seen in the developmental space. Many talented surfers I have trained, have rectified poor skills and turned them into masterpieces of performance, usually becoming their signature move. For the recreational surfer – this occurs also but in a more competence form, turning their weakness into a skill that they know wont break down and is performed with confidence.