Psychology & Big Wave Surfers: Dr. Lenny Wiersma Studies “Mavericks”

Dr. Lenny Wiersma is faculty at California State University, Fullerton and has long been an admirer of Big Wave Surfing.  So he decided it might be good to understand more about the mental skills involved in this remarkable endeavor.  He got a great sense of what these incredible athletes experience, train, and go through in the process of meeting the challenges they face with every wave.  Prepare to learn more about the razor’s edge in focusing mentally, and where being “in the Zone” has a whole new meaning.

“Mavericks” are not to be confused with a rock band.  This well-known big wave surfing community is located approximately 30 miles south of San Francisco, where waves travel over a thousand miles and crest into this unique and remarkable surf. Have a look just so you’ve got some sense of what we’re talking about here:


Lenny’s appreciation of the challenge and who these athlete’s are is palpable, and emanates from a strong foundation in respect for what they do, how they train, their regard for each other and the community they have formed.  To say that this is a team endeavor is more true than one might think and the interplay between those on boards, those on jet skis, and the elements is nothing short of fascinating.  Confidence, committment, and focus are discussed in a way that every athlete (regardless of their sport) would do well to understand and seek out ways to apply what these athletes have to offer.  Listen to the Podcast:

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Take a look at these Five Tips for Mental Toughness Wiersma offers through the Speedo “Tip of the Week”.  Wiersma is one of the top sport psychologists working with USA Swimming and is frequently asked to work with elite swimmers from various southern California swim clubs.  One of his strengths is training athletes “how to compete”.

Thanks Lenny for a really remarkable post.
Lenny Wiersma

Lenny Wiersma, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Kinesiology
Telephone: (657) 278-3806
Email: [email protected]
Dr. Lenny Wiersma joined the faculty in the Department of Kinesiology at California State University, Fullerton in 2001. He is co-director of the Center for the Advancement of Responsible Youth Sport, and serves as the Sport Psychology consultant on the High Performance Network of the United States Swimming Sports Medicine and Science Network, working with developmental and elite swimmers on psychological skills training, biofeedback, and competitive preparation. In addition, Dr. Wiersma is currently serving as the Measurement and Evaluation section editor for the Research Quarterly in Exercise and Sport.

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