So, we have covered where to surf in the UK, the best spots to surf around the world, and we’ve even made a video about catching your first reef break. But one of the things we haven’t spoken about is what you need to do when you’re just starting out in surfing.
So let’s do just that…here’s our Beginners Guide To Surfing.
The first thing you need to master is being respectful to others in the sport. As a beginner you will get in the way, so there are some things you can consider even before you get into the ocean. Firstly only surf at beginner spots. Before you paddle out to a break, watch the ocean, the break and the other surfers for at least 30 minutes. Doing this will help you find the right spot for you.
If there’s any locals on the beach or in the ocean show them the respect they deserve...be polite to them and respect them and for the love of all things try not to get in their way. You need to understand the rules of surfing; one person surfs per wave and the person who is closest to the wave has right of way. And lastly try to stay out of the way when paddling out. If there’s a channel, paddle out there.
Know Where To Surf
Now you’ve mastered how to be respectful, it’s now time for you to find the perfect spot to learn to surf. When starting out you don’t need to look for the perfect peeling waves, look for rows of knee high white water rolling towards the shore. The real key is to find a place that isn’t too crowded, where you can keep hitting the waves and not disturb that many people.
If you’re not sure about where to do this, use the internet to research the perfect spot for starting out.
Know What To Ride
When you first hit the waves you want to get yourself a nice big board. Doing this will help you figure out your moves in the water and you’ll improve a hell of a lot quicker than if you were to jump straight onto a short board. Once you have mastered a big boi board then mix it up and start working with a short board; these boards have been designed for high performance surfing with fast turns and they give you more speed.
Once you have mastered the short board you can always learn new disciplines on other boards like a Gun board for big wave surfing, or a Long board for the more classic style of surfing. Or you can even go the opposite way and look at a Fun board which is nice and short and works perfectly for smaller waves.
Other Equipment You’ll Need
So the next thing you need to look into is other equipment. You should of course have a swimsuit which should include a rash vest to keep the sun from burning you, and these will also give you some protection from bumps and scrapes. If you’re surfing in colder waters then of course a wet suit will be needed. Don’t forget to buy a leash...it needs to be the length of your board and don’t forget to place it on the back of your ankle for your riding stance.
And lastly you really do need to buy some board wax...it will keep you from slipping! So yeah, apply a nice amount where you will be standing on the board.
When you’re surfing for the first couple of times, you’ll soon find out that you get tired pretty quickly and if you want to keep surfing you will need to up your overall training. A steady workout will help you improve your strength. You don’t need to hit the gym and lift the heaviest weights or run the fastest on a treadmill; it's about building your overall strength.
Also Yoga is massive in surfing, it’s not just because it looks cool. It’s because the movements help with the pain that surfing can give you and it helps keep that balance of strength and flexibility too.
Catch, Stand Up & Ride
And lastly the thing you need to master as a beginner, is of course catching a wave, standing up and then of course riding it. So the first thing you will need to do is practice this at home and on the beach before you head out. You need to practice popping by pressing your hands into the ground or your board beneath your chest and in one burst jump to your feet. If your left foot is in front you have a regular stance and if your right foot is in front your stance is goofy.
So if you're ready to catch your first wave you need to turn and face the nose of your board toward the shoreline, then lay down and begin paddling... please make sure that the nose of your board is not underwater or too high in the air. Once you have paddled for a bit, look behind you and gauge where the wave is. Once you're ready, use your peripheral vision to sense where the wave is and when you feel a burst of speed, it’s time to stand up. Once you’ve popped up, look ahead and fully commit to what you are doing...at this stage confidence really is key. Always keep your eyes forward, never look at your feet, at the nose of your board and never look back at the wave.
Keep your knees bent with slightly more weight on your back foot, hold your arms out to your sides to help with your balance… and that’s it… you’re surfing!
So what tricks and tips do you have for anyone starting out in surfing? Let us all know in the comments and share your beginner experiences with us! And if you have any recommendations for great beginner surf spots, also let us know!
Author: Shaun Johnson
Edited by: Gemma Johnson