How to Surf: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Surfing

people learning how to surf

What exactly is surfing? Surfing is that amazing sport of riding waves in an upright or prone position. There are several sports in the world, but none can beat the feeling that comes with gliding through the face of the ocean. No other sport makes you feel closer to nature. It relieves your mind and it makes you feel the joy of mother nature. The peace and serenity that comes with surfing is an unbeatable one.

Back in the days, surfing was a sport for the royalties in Hawaii. However, over the years, surfing has become a lifestyle, an attitude, and a recreational activity. There is a thrilling experience that comes with catching waves.

Are you thinking of catching your first wave for the first time? You don’t need to be afraid. Going out to surf is something you’ll never regret doing. This article will teach you how to surf and it will also help you get familiar with the etiquette of surfing.

Before You Start Surfing

Learning how to surf starts and ends with the right equipment. There are several instances where people get into the water without having the right materials and equipment. Below, we discuss the right surfboard, wetsuit, wax, and leash for your surfboard.   

Get the Right Surfboard

surfboard with a leg leash

Just like every other sport, you need to get the right gear when preparing to hit the waves. As a beginner, it’s advisable to buy a soft surfboard which is otherwise known as a soft top. You need the right surfboard which would make your first experience exciting and safe.

When getting a surfboard, you must consider your weight. The last thing you want is a surfboard that’s too light or too heavy for you. You need to get a surfboard that’s great for your weight. If you are confused, you can talk to the people at the beach or surf shops, they would help you get the right surfboard for your weight.

You might also try out a longboard. Longboards are very easy to paddle and are easy to maneuver. A fun board is also very easy to maneuver as it’s shorter than a long-board. The fun-board is about 7 to 8.5 feet. You can find the right surfboard for your skill set and weight right here.

Find the Perfect Wetsuit

surfing wet suit

As a beginner, getting the perfect wetsuit is very important in your surfing experience. The wetsuit keeps you warm in the water when surfing. A wetsuit protects you from chills and hypothermia.

You already know the water is often very chilly and extremely cold. Therefore, you need to keep warm to enjoy surfing and only a wetsuit can keep you warm in the water. There are several wetsuit brands out there, you only need to find the perfect one for you. You may also rent one when you’re still trying to learn how to surf.

Wax Your Surfboard

wax your surfboard

In order to avoid slipping off your surfboard, you must ensure your surfboard is properly waxed. This would ensure you get a steady ride when gliding through the water and help you find balance while surfing.

Get a Leach for Your Board

surfboard leash

Another important thing you must do when starting out as a surfer is to get a leash for your board.  This is avoid being separated from your board in the water. The leash keeps you from smashing up against rocks or crashing into other surfers.

1. Exercise on the Ground

Before hitting the sea, you must first rehearse on the ground, in order to get yourself ready. Get your leash attached to your back foot and ensure it’s connected to the tail of your board. The next thing you want to do is lie on your tummy, balancing on the board to ensure your body is lying parallel to the center of the board.

This is where you practice how to paddle with your two arms to get an idea of what muscles you would be using. Jumping straight into the water when you’re learning how to surf is the best way to get frustrated and lose interest in surfing.

Therefore, every beginner is advised to practice on the ground.  Practicing on the ground with hand movements and foot positioning will give you the confidence to go into the water. This is where you practice getting either your regular or goofy stance. Your regular stance is when you use your right foot when the goofy stance is the act of using your left foot.

Watch surf instructor Frank Caronna’s video tutorial about learning how to surf. He discusses the correct techniques and practices that you can do on the ground. For more information, you can check out the Natural Surf Technique.

2. Get Friendly with the Sea

One thing you must know is the fact that you must get in sync with the water. Water is an essential part of nature and in order to explore the fun, water has to offer, you must understand the language it speaks.

Understanding the language of the ocean comprises of so many things. One of these things includes your ability to swim. Everyone who is interested in surfing must know how to swim across the length and breadth of the ocean.

This would not only make your surfing experience easy; it would also help you explore every area of the ocean. Water has its own language. When you understand this language, you get to read the mood of the water and know when it’s the best time to glide across the surface of the ocean. Once you react to the ocean’s mood, then you will understand the best time to glide and catch waves and tides.

Before hitting the sea, you must first understand how the water works. You may want to swim across the ocean first, in order to get familiar with the water and get comfortable in it. You must be prepared to go out in slop, get flipped back when the waves are too big and also lose your footing underwater. All these are necessary things you must be prepared for as a beginner.

3. Practice Getting Up

Taking off or getting up on the surfboard is something most beginners find a little bit difficult during surfing. However, you must know that it’s a skill that could be learned, practiced and mastered.

While you’re on the surfboard, you need to bring your hands from paddling by placing both hands underneath your chest region. Your palms should be facing the plane of the board, ensuring your fingers are properly bent above the sides of your surfboard.

Always remember to avoid grabbing the rails of your surfboard during takeoff. In a very speedy wave, raise your body up with your two arms, carefully tucking up your feet below you. Steady one foot where you pushed your hands from and the other foot should be placed a shoulder’s width backward.

Getting up on your knees and bringing up your foot at a time, until you’re standing may be easier for beginners. When you slip or lose your balance when trying to get up, it means you must get your surfboard waxed properly.

Below, you will find a helpful tutorial by Barefoot Surf on how to pop up on a surfboard.

4. Practice Standing on the Surfboard

The next thing you must learn is to stand up properly in the right manner, on your surfboard. This is always a little bit challenging for beginners, but you could become a professional in no time. Ensure your knees are bent, your arms loose and stretched while your feet are steady on the surfboard.

When learning how to surf, you may adopt a squat stance with your feet widely extended across your board. Beware of this stance as it usually appears comfortable but it’s only a trap to get you to struggle with control. In fact, professional surfers often ride with no distance between their feet.

5. Get Comfortable with Paddling

The best way to find comfort on your board is to plunge into the water and paddle. Ensure the nose of your board is a little bit above the water while your toes touch the least string. This is the perfect stance you can ever get in water. You must paddle the right way and paddle efficiently. The best way is to paddle to any length that’s very comfortable for you.

Ask for Help

When you are hitting the beach as a beginner, you need to do it under the supervision of someone who is better than you, or more knowledgeable in the area of surfing. You may not necessarily need to pay an instructor if you have a friend or a relative who can guide you and advise you when necessary.

Know Your Surfing Etiquette

It is very essential to get familiar with the rules of surfing before heading out. You must be aware of the dos and don’ts involved in surfing. One of the rules includes respecting the right of way. This means you must look out for other surfers when trying to catch a wave.

Whosoever that’s closest to the peak of the wave should be given a chance to catch the wave. You must also get familiar with the beach and ocean rules before you go out surfing. Every beach has its own rules and regulations, you need to be careful not to break any of these rules. Following the rules can make your surfing journey easier and stress-free.

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