“I have the relaxed side of me but, as a professional, I’m paddling out with a purpose”— Candra Jordan is one of the top American female long boarders, currently ranked 24 in the world. Surfing might have a more relaxed reputation than most sports but, as Jordan says, “if you want to be good, it requires a lot.”
For Jordan, training isn’t just going out for a surf, it’s a focused practice: “I’m going out to try something new or push something, maybe test new equipment,” Jordan says. Even before she gets in the water, Jordan says she is “usually thinking on the way and looking for waves specifically for what I want to work on.”
But for Jordan, high quality practice isn’t enough.
Despite her hard work and talent she developed from a child, proven at competitions, Jordan admits she struggled a lot with her confidence.
“I had the ability but the mental side…,” Jordan pauses. “I was self-conscious. Someone would paddle up to me and say they like my [surfing] style and I would be like ‘who, me?’,” she laughs.
Just like her surfing skills, Jordan started to work on her mindset. Over a few years, Jordan set into place a stretching routine and started to work consistently with an acupuncturist; but, she says the most important practice is her meditation routine. Using the Headspace app on her phone, Jordan learned meditation and breathing techniques that helped her find her confidence in the water and in herself.
Before competition, Jordan sits on the beach with her hand on her surfboard and goes through a breathing meditation to calm herself down and bring her into the present moment. Having a hand on her board is a key part to her routine. “I always have my surf board,” she says. Competing all over the world, always in a different situation with different people, Jordan says her surf board is familiar and helps “bring her back in.” “Nerves can take over your body,” she says, but with meditation she can remind herself that she “safe and enjoying this”.
“It’s made a massive difference,” Jordan says of her pre-competition meditation. Jordan says it empowers her to paddle out with confidence and changes her experience for the better: “This is what it can feel like,” she says, seemingly reliving her last competition wave. “Surfing well, selecting good waves, it’s a great feeling…If you can overcome the mental stuff, your body just follows.”
While Jordan credits breathing meditation as her key to confidence in competition, she has other ways to tap into the present moment and feel confident that include simple things like “a cup of tea and dance party to wiggle off the day,” she smiles. Her recommendation: the Quinten 909 remix of Dusty Springfield´s Spooky.
After a long period away from competition due to the pandemic and injury, Jordan will be competing this year to re-qualify for the World Surf League. Even though she hasn’t been able to compete, Jordan remains confident and positive for the upcoming season. “I’m feeling good but I don’t know what next year looks like…I just focus on the day-to-day, getting strong, getting healthy, and using it as an opportunity to build on the other things.”