Do you want to learn to surf? Of course, you most likely have a romanticised idea of gliding seamlessly over a waterfall of water, going up and down the wave, driving all the way to the beach… right?
wrong. Chances are, if you’ve never surfed before, you should be prepared for it to be, let’s say, a very humbling experience. I hate to tell you this, but learning to surf isn’t easy. Of course, anyone can take a lesson and be technically “surfing” on slack, crumbling waves in minutes. But come on, any surfer will tell you this isn’t really surfing. If you want to experience the thrill of surfing, so indescribable that it is said “only a surfer knows the feeling”, you will need a lot of practice, patience, and most likely some helpful tips and suggestions.
If you stick with it, past the embarrassing wipe-outs and the initial awkwardness, you’ll eventually experience that great “thrill,” but be warned: it could change your life!
Paddling on a surfboard: 3 pointers for the inexperienced surfer
1) Sit on your surfboard with your hips balanced and centered.Imagine your surfboard is like a seesaw; you want the nose and tail to be evenly balanced. If you sit too far forward, your surfboard will pearl. Too far back and you will sacrifice speed and struggle to catch waves. As a rule of thumb, the nose of your surfboard should remain only a few centimetres above the water while paddling.
2) ‘Ankle to Ankle’: To avoid swinging back and forth (side to side), keep your ankles glued together. This may seem difficult at first, but the key to paddling effectively is a strong core. Keeping your ankles together as you paddle your surfboard will tighten your core and improve your balance. This simple trick will undoubtedly be beneficial.
Make a bowl with your hands as if you were holding water in it for drinking. This is how you want your hands to be when paddling. Stretch your arms straight out one at a time and reach your cupped hands deep down and follow the whole way. Try to keep your shoulders or hips from swinging too much by keeping your core balanced and straight. This helps your surfboard across the water to improve speed and, ultimately, makes it easier to paddle.
Pay attention to which surfers seem to catch the most waves. Look closely at them and note their paddle shape. Are their ankles apart? Is the nose of their surfboard only a few inches above the water? Is their paddle stroke even and steady? Chances are they’ve been surfing for years, so don’t worry if you don’t catch as many waves as they do. Learning to surf is a process that takes time and a lot of practice.
Practice your posture on the beach first.
The very first thing you need to know before attempting to stand on a surfboard is whether you are a “regular” or “goofy” surfer. No, not if you look crazy when you surf, because trust me, all beginner surfers look crazy while learning to surf.
So what am I talking about? Well, the terms “regular” and “goofy” refer to which foot you naturally put forward on your surfboard. A’regular’ footer surfs with the left foot forward, while a ‘goofy’ footer surfs the opposite, right foot forward. If you’ve ever tried skateboarding or snowboarding, it’s usually the same attitude.
Unsure? These three techniques should help you figure it out:
#1 As if you were surfing, bend your knees and find a relaxed and balanced position.Try to determine which foot feels most comfortable forward. Usually, the stronger foot is placed back to help the weight on the tail of the surfboard when turning.
#2 Lie on your stomach as if paddling, then quickly rise into your surf stance.Notice which foot you naturally put forward.
This simple trick requires help from a friend. Find a flat place to stand, close your eyes and relax, and without announcing it, have your friend push you slightly in the back so that you naturally step forward. The foot you place forward to find your balance will most likely reflect your natural surfing stance.
Still not sure? Don’t worry, you should be able to figure it out after a few rides.
It is important to always put your belt on your back foot. This prevents the belt from getting tangled around your legs.
Where should a beginner learn to surf?
If you have never surfed before or are still in the learning phase, you may need some suggestions for choosing a suitable beach to learn to surf. Let’s start with a simple explanation of the different types of surf breaks:
A) Beach Breaks: Sandy bottom in shallow water near the shore.Often, these waves break best near piers or rock jetties. The shape of the wave is formed by the shifting contour of the sand below. Therefore, wave quality can vary widely seasonally or even daily as underwater currents constantly adjust the position of the sand below. Waves on the beachA beach break is probably the best place for a beginner to learn to surf (initially). The shallow water makes it easy to get up if you fall off your board, and the sandy bottom usually has few hazards to get on. Watch out for swimmers, though! Most beaches have special zones for swimmers only in the summer. Look for the “blackball flag” and stay clear of that area. Because you are now a surfer, you should stay in the surf zone from now on.
B) Reef Breaks: These waves are formed by the bottoms of rocks or reefs.Some of the world’s most treacherous waves break on a very shallow coral reef. Oahu’s world-famous “North Shore” consists almost exclusively of shallow reef breaks. As a beginner, you may not be ready to conquer giant spittle barrels yet. Don’t worry, the best thing about reef breaks is their diversity. As you progress beyond the initial stages of learning to stand up, you will most likely want to head for a reef break with gentle, sloping waves. Reef break wave tip: look for the “longboard” spots. Reef breaks can offer longer rides than beach breaks and give you the opportunity to really feel the sliding of your surfboard under your feet. That first ‘face’ The wave you catch will stay with you forever. Note: Reef holidays can often be busier than beach holidays, so make sure you master the basics (paddling, turtle diving, and quickly flipping your board) to avoid collisions with other surfers.
C) Point Breaks: Some of the best formed and longest rides are available at Point Breaks.Breaking fittingly against a ‘point’ These waves usually curve around the outer edge of a bay or peninsula and can have sandy, rocky, or reef bottoms. Well-known examples are my personal favorites, Rincon in Santa Barbara or Honolua Bay, Maui. If you’re unfamiliar with these places, do a Google search and you’ll see pictures of long, smooth, perfectly formed waves begging to be ridden. point break wave. The kind of waves that the daydreaming student surfer would scribble on his or her notebook during class…just perfection! Note: Perfection doesn’t usually go unnoticed, so be prepared to battle it out with a bunch of other wave-hungry surfers looking for that perfect ride. Please note: intermediate and advanced surfers only.
D) The Estuary: Estuaries are essentially beach breaks with sandy bottoms, but under the right conditions, they can occasionally rival the shape and form of one of the best reef or point breaks around.Surf breaks in Rivermouth are usually triggered after a hard rainstorm when a bout of water trying to reach the sea pushes a temporary accumulation of sand in just the right place to channel the incoming swell into jacking walls of water. Note: Beware of water pollution in urban drainage areas.
In short, stick to the beach breaks while you master the basics of paddling and balancing on your board, but don’t be afraid to head to the ‘longboard’ reef breaks for a real adventure!
Surfing conditions for the beginner
The following is a mini-glossary of surfing-related phrases and keywords, some of which have been used so far:
A black-ball is a yellow flag with a black ball in the centre that is used by lifeguards to warn surfers of an area prohibited from surfing.
Barrel: The ultimate ride is when the crest of a wave folds over itself, forming a cylinder shape with enough room to provide a “tube” for the surfer to ride through. Related terms withdrawn; chained, pitted, tubed or otherwise walking; dirty pits; the green room.
Dropping in: Refers to the critical point when a surfer gets up on a face wave that is upside down. (Dropped on), used to describe the act of a surfer incorrectly riding the same wave in front of another surfer. Also see: snake
Face-Wave: The crest of a wave that surfers ride. usually breaks at the outer peak. can be considered the opposite of whitewashed waves.