Surfing can be an intimidating sport to get into – although it might look simple at the beach or on television, your first foray into the water can be a discouraging one. In addition to a variety of skills that need to be learned and developed, new surfers also have to consider surfer etiquette when at the beach, such as respecting other surfers, not stealing other people’s waves and not chasing every wave you see (save some for other people!). In this blog we cover some basics for those who want to start surfing, including some basic information about surfboards and how to paddle, stand and surf when you’re familiar enough with your surfboard. Soon you’ll be riding waves with the best of them!
Understanding your surf board
Surfboards, by design, have a natural centre of gravity that allows them to float easily on water. As a beginner, the first step you have to manage is figuring out how to manage this centre of gravity in relation to your height and weight. When you understand where to rest your chin, you can predictably apply your weight to the surfboard every time so that you can start surfing properly right away. Once you understand where not to put your weight, you can start paddling. Paddling with both arms simultaneously is never a good idea – this will prevent the surfboard from maintaining a consistent speed in the water. Instead, alternate your arm strokes. When you’ve gotten the hang of paddling, you can now attempt to sit on your surfboard. If you’re having trouble doing this, it’s likely that you’re moving too much and shaking the board. To stand up, lie on your chest, look ahead, and place your hands by your sides, palms down. Push up, and hope you don’t fall in too quickly and lose your boardshorts .
Surfing safety tips
Even after you’ve gotten the hang of surfing as a beginner, there are a few safety rules you should keep in mind. First, beginners should always apply the leash or leg rope that is applied to their surfboards – if you’re particularly unsure during your first couple of sessions, wearing a helmet is a perfectly acceptable thing to do. Having a surfing buddy is also a good idea – this way you can practice safe distances (5 metres is a good idea) and have someone on hand to offer advice, tips and tricks, particularly if they’re a more seasoned surfer. When you fall off your surfboard (and it’ll happen a lot during your first few times) always make sure that you cover the back of your head with your hands, as a falling surfboard can cause some serious damage. Similarly, stay underwater for a moment longer than you need to just in case the surfboard does come crashing down.
Practice makes perfect
Surfing is certainly not easy, especially for beginners. At the end of the day, it’s all about practice, practice, practice. To speed up your practice sessions, find an experienced surfer willing to watch you surf and give constructive criticism. You don’t necessarily have to practice you surfboard movements in the water, either. You can practice your surfboard positioning on the sand before you enter the water, or even by placing your surfboard on top of our bed at home. With a few hours of practice each week, you’ll soon be on your way to surfing nirvana – good luck, and welcome to the wonderful world of surfing!