Listen: Clayton Nienaber on Surf Mastery

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

Rightio, time to don the headphones and listen to the melodious tones of Clayton Nienaber.


Clayton is an ex-South African pro, plus surfboard shaper, plus coach, plus the owner of a golden set of pipes that make tuning in to this podcast a sheer delight. Clayton makes his points via calm, precise explanations rather than vocal histrionics.

And the points he makes are worth your time.

The talk is generally centred around a revelation Clayton had ten years ago when he rode one of Kelly Slater's boards. After many years of being frustrated at pro surfers who were unable to explain their technique - they simply couldn't articulate what their muscles intuitively do - the lightbulb went off while fanging through Supertubes on a Slater giveaway.

That insight now informs most, perhaps all, of Clayton's surf coaching - one small nugget grew into a great seam of knowledge.

You'll have to click over to the Surf Mastery webpage as there's a vid of Kelly you'll need to watch while listening to a later part of the convo.

Also, if you want to hear more from Clayton, and hear it in person, then consider the coaching trip Clayton is holding at Macaronis this January.


memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Wednesday, 6 Dec 2017 at 3:24pm

Ha, ha would be great if I was 20 years younger!

Jptb's picture
Jptb's picture
Jptb commented Thursday, 7 Dec 2017 at 8:25am

For all surfers out there , do your self a favour and listen or contact Clayton for general surf knowledge , awareness and all things surfing.. You may think you rip , however coaching instruction from Clayton will allow you to improve and understand why your improving.. His passion , care , knowledge and how he shares his knowledge will change your surfing and how you approach it..

flow's picture
flow's picture
flow commented Thursday, 7 Dec 2017 at 8:29am

That was an interesting listen. I tried to apply some of his principles this morning. Although I was surfing lefts I tried to lean into my bottom turn and not be aggressive. It did seem to help but the waves were pretty perfect. I think being relaxed is very important especially at the start of the wave. I also think if I started surfing a bit earlier in life some of these techniques would come easier. Thanks for the info Stu.

Tenn's picture
Tenn's picture
Tenn commented Thursday, 7 Dec 2017 at 3:50pm

Insightful breakdown, noted plenty of aspects I could improve and areas where I excel, worth the listen


gannet's picture
gannet's picture
gannet commented Thursday, 7 Dec 2017 at 5:03pm

...and for his next trick, Kelly will do the turn with a book balanced on his head.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Saturday, 9 Dec 2017 at 8:13pm

Loved it!
I KNOW that I don't rip, but now I have a better idea of what goes on when I have a moment when it just feels right. That was an ugly sentence, sorry.
Makes me want to go and have some lessons.

Horas's picture
Horas's picture
Horas commented Sunday, 10 Dec 2017 at 12:46am

Are you taking the piss?You need lessons.?Fuck me


Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Sunday, 10 Dec 2017 at 5:24am

Or should I say 'coaching'? Having a clever guy like Clayton Nienaber show you where you're obviously fucking up; righting decades of ingrown mistakes. That's what I meant.

Horas's picture
Horas's picture
Horas commented Tuesday, 12 Dec 2017 at 1:00am

Sorry if I came over as a bit harsh mate ,nothing personal.I just find it a bit hard to get me head around the whole regimented scene.Maybe that's just me.Hope ya getting a few and good luck to ya.Cheers.


Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Tuesday, 12 Dec 2017 at 5:12am

Not seeking anything remotely regimented. 90% of my surfing is done solo, or with a few mates, in obscure locations, and I have zero desire to surf just like pro A, B or C (except for John John at Rockpile yesterday!). Nobody is looking, and that's just fine with me.

I just want to unlock some 'secrets'. To more often do things in surfing that feel fucken good. To evolve.

wally's picture
wally's picture
wally commented Saturday, 9 Dec 2017 at 9:25pm

A lot of good advice there. Everybody who wants to surf better should have a listen. It's quite detailed.

Reminded me a bit of a comment Nick Carroll made on Beach Grit.

“my god, just go surf the board and feel it out. Put your weight on the straight bits and the board will run, put your weight on the curves and the board will turn. Turns off the outline curve are easier than turns off the rocker curve, but they won't carry you as far in the turn. Weight over the fins will shorten the turning arc. Don't try so hard, relax and let the board do it -- don't get in the way.
Surfing! Easy.”

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