Do you want to learn to surf? 10 things you need to know before you start!

Here’s my list of the top 10 things every beginner surfer should know before paddling!

1. Select the appropriate surfboard and wetsuit!
2.Go to the right place.
3.Go surfing on the right day.
4. Understand rip currents and how to avoid them.
5. Understand the concept of localization.
6. Understand how to ride a wave.
7. Do you know how to stand on your surfboard? 
8. Understand how to get outside (beyond the crashing waves into the green water).
9. Know some of the lineup’s unwritten rules.
10. Have fun surfing. It’s great!

1. Select the appropriate surfboard and wetsuit.

You don’t want to start out on a super thin high-performance short board, or any short board for that matter. If you are learning, you should start on a surfboard that has some width and thickness, preferably a long board. How long depends on how tall you are. The taller the person, the bigger the board needs to be. If you don’t want to be a longboarder, that’s okay, but you’ll get a lot better faster if you use the longboard. A longer board will help you master the basics. From there, you can get smaller as you progress. Remember, in steps. A short board is super wobbly and unstable if you are inexperienced. By starting on a bigger board, you can progress faster, ride more waves, catch the waves you do catch, and have more fun! Besides, choosing the right surfboard is choosing the right wetsuit. Check with your local surf shop about wetsuit thickness for your area. Your average water temperature determines what thickness of wetsuit you should buy or rent. You can also ask the local surfers what they wear.

2.Go to the right place!

You want to go to a beginner-friendly surf spot. If you don’t know one, ask your local surf shop where the best beginner spots are. Weather conditions can quickly turn a beginner-friendly place into a dangerous place. Stay away from heavy coastal breaks, reef breaks, and point breaks. You want a soft, sandy bottom with slowly peeling, mushy waves and a small crowd. You want to learn to surf, not get beat up, held and flogged. Do your homework and this will make the difference between a good first experience or a bad one!

3.Go surfing on the right day!

As mentioned above, every day is different. You have to respect the ocean. It might be your first day off in a month, but if current conditions are 14’W swell @ 13 seconds, it might not be the right day. Unless you’re surfing in a protected cove that blocks most of the swell and doesn’t have a rip current. Waiting for a better day can be difficult, but you want to be safe. If the surf is big, a lot more water moves. Rip currents are generally stronger under these conditions. It is also difficult to surf in bad conditions, as you waste all your energy fighting the current. Please contact your local surf shop again, or check your local surf report. Some surf shops (like ours) have a surf report on their website.

4. Understand rip currents and how to avoid them.

A rip current is a strong narrow current that goes from the coast back to the sea. The return of the water seaward is pushed in by the waves, the wind, and the tide. Don’t panic if you get caught up in a rip current; it wastes energy. Don’t paddle right into it; you’ll get exhausted. You want to paddle parallel to the shore where you see the waves breaking in, to get out of a crack. Most rip currents are not very wide, so paddling parallel to the shore should allow you to paddle out. Keep calm. You want to be able to hold your breath at any time while you are in the ocean. You never know when a wave may break on or in front of you. You won’t be able to hold your breath for long while in a panic, so remember to stay calm. Work with the ocean, not against it. Sometimes (with strong rip currents), you may need to move the rip into deeper water, where the balance is restored and the draught decreases. You can then paddle parallel to the shore and make your way in. Remember, don’t fight the ocean, try to work with it. The ocean is bigger than all of us.

Signs of a rip current:

1. Waves usually do not break completely into the crack (water is deeper in the crack as it is a seaward channel).
2. You can see objects or other surfers being pulled into the sea quickly and with little or no effort.
3. A change in the colour of the water within the crackIt may be cloudier in sediment or greener in depth.

5. Have a basic understanding of localization.

As with life, or even highway driving, surfing has a dark side! Surfers who surf the same spots a lot get the feeling that that spot is theirs. They like to take a sense of ownership of the place. Some locals feel they need to get all or most of the waves. New people who show up are considered intruders. Localism can present itself as someone yelling at you, coming at you, puncturing your tires, waxing your windshield, or even throwing your shoes and/or backpack in the water, among many other tactics. What can you do about it?

1. Be courteous to the locals.If you’re a beginner, you probably shouldn’t be surfing the same surf spots as the locals do until your skill level improves. You’ll probably just get in their way and give yourself and the locals a bad experience.

2. When you’re ready to surf with them, just try to be nice and respect them. You’ll find that most of the locals are regular guys and gals who, if treated with kindness and respect, will respond the same way. (Yes, I know they are exceptions).

3. Don’t come to the local hotspot with a large crowd of people. The locals won’t be happy with you, and you’ll most likely get a negative vibe at the very least.

4. When there are 5 or 6 surfers at a peak and you and your friends show up to go surfing, it’s usually better to paddle along the beach and wait for the crowd to thin out. Let them have the peak they were on first and don’t invade them.

5. Get to know the locals and maybe you’ll make a friend and a surf buddy. They are not all bad!

6. I could go on, but I think you get the point! Do unto others what you would have them do unto you!

6. Understand how to ride a wave.

The first few waves you catch are in white water (already broken waves). You want to catch your first few waves in the prone (lying) position. You have to point your board towards the beach, wait for a white water wave to roll in, then lay down on your board and practise driving to the shore. After you’ve done that, you can practise paddling to catch the wave. To paddle, you have to dig deep and really try to stay smooth and keep the board in a planing position. The paddle method will be more difficult. Don’t go too far back on the board as you will push water.

How to Stand on a Surfboard

Before going to the beach, practise doing pop-ups. Lie on the floor with your hands close to your chest, but not too far. You want to be able to push off your board to get up in one fluid motion without touching your knees. Practice lying down, popping up, and landing sideways in a surfer’s stance. Jump back to a prone position and repeat, until you can do 20 of these popups without stopping. Remember, it will be harder in the ocean because you and the water will move. Your board will not be as stable as the floor. You don’t want to practise getting on your knees. This is a bad habit and will make progress much more difficult. Your first surfing experience will be much better if you master this before you ever get in the water! Remember to stay off your knees.

8. Understand how to get outside (beyond the crashing waves into the green water).

Look for a channel or a place where the waves don’t seem to break. These spots will have cloudier and deeper water. You may be thinking, “Hey, that sounds like a rip current. Don’t I want to stay away from that?” If they make you uncomfortable, yes, at least stay away. Do experienced surfers use the rips and channels to get into the lineup? Yes, surfers work with the ocean, using rips and channels to get into the lineup easily and faster. When working with the ocean, the crack can help you get past the breaking waves more easily. It is still important that you remember your limits. Have you looked at the surf report? Do you know how big the swell is? Are you in shape to handle the current conditions and the size of the swell? all important factors to consider. With a longboard, it can be difficult to get out when there is a lot of wild water to fight against and without a channel or a crack to help you. You can paddle straight onto the white water and before it hits you, you slide off your board and flip your board over while holding the rails, pulling the board down as the wave sweeps over you. You need to quickly flip your board and start paddling before the next wave or whitewater hits you. With persistence, you can make it out, depending on how big the day is, how much white water you’re dealing with, and how strong and determined you are. This is called “spinning turtle. Shortboarders can duck, but this is a beginner’s article, so we’re not going there. You can paddle straight onto the white water and before it hits you, you slide off your board and flip your board over while holding the rails, pulling the board down as the wave sweeps over you. You need to quickly flip your board and start paddling before the next wave or whitewater hits you. With persistence, you can make it out, depending on how big the day is, how much white water you’re dealing with, and how strong and determined you are. This is called “spinning turtle. Shortboarders can duck, but this is a beginner’s article, so we’re not going there. You can paddle straight onto the white water and before it hits you, you slide off your board and flip your board over while holding the rails, pulling the board down as the wave sweeps over you. You need to quickly flip your board and start paddling before the next wave or whitewater hits you. With persistence, you can make it out, depending on how big the day is, how much white water you’re dealing with, and how strong and determined you are. This is called “spinning turtle. Shortboarders can duck, but this is a beginner’s article, so we’re not going there. You need to quickly flip your board and start paddling before the next wave or whitewater hits you. With persistence, you can make it out, depending on how big the day is, how much white water you’re dealing with, and how strong and determined you are. This is called “spinning turtle. Shortboarders can duck, but this is a beginner’s article, so we’re not going there. You need to quickly flip your board and start paddling before the next wave or whitewater hits you. With persistence, you can make it out, depending on how big the day is, how much white water you’re dealing with, and how strong and determined you are. This is called “spinning turtle. Shortboarders can duck, but this is a beginner’s article, so we’re not going there.

9. Know some of the lineup’s unwritten rules.

1. The #1 unwritten rule in surfing is that the surfer closest to the curl has the right of way. If you are on the shoulder of the wave and someone else is deeper (closer to where the wave is starting to break), they have the right of way. Always watch before hitting the wave. Beginners are notorious for simply paddling into something, unaware that someone else already has the wave. For this reason, I try to stay away from beginners. I don’t want to collide with anyone while I’m surfing. This is one rule you don’t want to learn the hard way. It can lead to collisions, being yelled at, or, in the worst case, cause a fight. I think it’s better to know the rules before this happens.

2. When paddling back, it is your responsibility to stay clear of other surfers who are on the waves. That may mean paddling far from the starting area and then back to the starting position. You don’t want to get in anyone’s way. If you find yourself in a surfer’s way, riding a wave, pick a direction and keep going that way. Changing direction at the last minute makes it difficult for the surfer riding the wave to steer around you! The surfer, who is riding the wave, also has the responsibility of trying to avoid the collision. Most of the time, they should be able to avoid you. But sometimes it means destroying their wave. In that case, they will not be happy. If you find yourself in this position, try to apologise and paddle wide next time.

3. Don’t be a golf hog! If you just caught a wave, you don’t want to paddle back out and sit deeper than everyone else. If you’ve just had a wave, give other surfers a chance! It is better to wave than to wave all the time. I understand that sometimes beginners don’t paddle to the starting spot and therefore never really get waves. The better surfers usually get more waves because they know where to go and have the ability to take off at the critical part of the wave. As you get better, you learn where you want to be, catch more waves, and hopefully give a beginner a few waves to play with. Beginners should try to find a place where there are not many other people. This way, they can catch a lot of waves, learn to surf faster and have more fun without the negative atmosphere!

10. Have fun surfing. It’s great!

Don’t get discouraged too early and don’t expect too much of yourself. Surfing takes a while to get good at, but it’s still fun while you’re learning! Try to have fun and enjoy it.

There is no other sport like surfing! I hope this article helps make your first browsing experience a great one! I was so excited when I first started surfing, and I hope you’ll share in that excitement!