Surfing is great fun. Furthermore, you can take advantage of the bonus of keeping fit. Surfing will help you build strength and stamina. But, you might still be a beginner for this activity. If so, continue reading the rest of the article to learn what you should know about this sport.
Hire a coach
You can always learn how to surf by yourself. After all, you can now access the Internet for do-it-yourself (DIY) techniques to help you start surfing. But, consider hiring a surf coach to help hasten your progress. Surf coaching is a career path chosen by enthusiasts of this particular sport to help other individuals, like yourself, start this activity.
Many surf coaches may even come to your home to teach you the basics of surfing. Remember, knowledge is still an integral part of learning how to ride a surfboard on the water’s surface without wiping out. So, hire a professional who’ll teach you the different aspects even if you’re still away from the beach.
Various surf coaches also provide emotional and psychological support to their students. It’s because many surfing beginners tend to be afraid of heading out to open waters because of various fears. These worries may include the fear of drowning or hitting their heads with their surfboards. Your chosen surf coach should help you stabilise those emotions and thoughts, leading you to start practicing this water activity soon. With the help of the right coach, you’ll start practising surfing and build confidence in yourself.
Furthermore, the expert will help you have a great time while learning the fundamentals of this sport. If you decide that this is a sport you want to pursue for the long-term, it should be in your best interest to hire a surfing coach to get you started on the right foot, literally and figuratively. Check out the following video to learn more about hiring a surfing coach:
Choose a beginner surfboard
Note that not all surfboards are equal. Some models tend to be ideal for intermediate or veteran surfers, whereas other boards might be excellent choices for beginners. Thus, it would help if you consider buying a beginner surfboard first before progressing to boards for veterans.
Start by finding a shop with a good selection of beginner boards. You’ll find various available styles in this category, so there’s bound to be a model that perfectly suits your specific taste and needs. Additionally, you can get your board fitted by someone experienced in the different types of surfboards, as doing so will allow them to help you pick the right product.
Furthermore, it would be best if you consider some essential factors to keep your preferences in line with your choice of board. Some characteristics that you should look into as you’re shopping for beginner surfboards are:
- Volume: This trait is the amount of space that your surfboard can occupy. Surfboard volumes tend to be in cubic litres, and these are the figures that expresses the boards’ dimensions. Using a board with too little volume may mean you won’t catch as many waves as intended. But, too much volume may make the board feel weighty, making it more challenging than usual for you to transition and turn.
- Length: The length of the surfboard is the distance from its tail to the nose. Perhaps, one classic surfboard buying mistake that you should avoid is purchasing a board that’s too short. Otherwise, you’re going to restrict your advancements.
- Durability: Perhaps, one of the last things you want to happen while surfing is for your surfboard to break. Thus, you should consider buying a sturdy board that can handle rough waves without bending or breaking.
- Practicality: Travelling with your board can be cumbersome because of its length. Hence, you should find a surfboard that can fit in your car and place of storage without becoming a major hindrance.
You might need to consider other essential factors in picking a beginner board, such as its fins, manoeuvrability, and price. Consult your surfing coach or a local surfboard shop to help you pick the right beginner board.
Surf only at beginner spots for now
As a beginner surfer, it might be challenging for you to take on massive waves. Resist the temptation of trying out these waves, regardless of how awesome you might look in your imagination. Always remember to surf smart; don’t risk your health and wellbeing to ride waves that might be too much for you to handle using your beginner skills. Remember, there’s no harm or shame in practising your surfing skills at beginner spots. But, how can you differentiate beginner spots from surfing destinations for experts?
For one, the waves in beginner surfing spots tend to be significantly smaller than the waves in expert surfing destinations. However, these waves shouldn’t be too small to the point that you can only sit or stand on your board without any movement. If you think that you can handle the beginner surfing locations without much trouble, then, that would be the time to move to intermediate surfing areas.
Understand the learning curve
It would be best to understand that surfing, like other sports, has a learning curve. But, this water sport is, perhaps, one of the most challenging and complex water activities in the world. The reason behind this thought is because of the several random factors that you might encounter while surfing in open waters.
Think about it—each wave will be different from the other. Therefore, your ‘playground’ will constantly be changing. As a beginner surfer, it’s one of your tasks to train yourself to adapt to these constantly changing environments. But, your passion should always be stronger than your fear of losing to the changing elements. Also, practice makes perfect.
For example, take the story of Meg Roh, a University of California graduate with a passion for surfing that blew up since 2011. However, her surfing experience started when she was only four years old. But, it wasn’t until she was 12 when she decided to surf every day. Her determination, discipline, and perseverance allowed her to set records. Moreover, she’s doing an activity wherein she can exploit that burning passion within her.
So, if you think that you’re always wiping out even if you’re only surfing the beginner waves, don’t give up. Your tenacity will pay off one day, and you can go through the different challenges that the waters are throwing at you.
Take the time to observe the waves
It might be exciting to head to open waters the moment you set foot on the beach. Doing so may only lead to higher chances of wiping out (along with other dangers). So, spend at least 30 minutes on the beach before you start surfing. Watch other surfers and the condition of the waves. Observe where the waves are breaking and check the ability of other surfers in the water.
Are these other surfers beginners like you? Perhaps, they’re already experts. If it’s the latter, it might be best for you to leave these waters alone for now. Keep in mind that you should feel relatively comfortable while surfing. It can be thrilling to surf massive waves, but don’t risk your life riding these waves if you may not yet have the right skill set to achieve this goal.
You can also be in the water while you’re observing the waves. Paddle out to sea and sit on one side of your board for about 30 minutes. If you think you can’t handle the waves even as you’re sitting on your board, promptly and safely head back to shore.
Always be respectful
As with any outdoor activity, the locals tend to know the area the best. Hence, these folks may feel a sense of ownership for that particular surfing spot. Thus, always be polite. Don’t yell at the top of your lungs as you might disturb other people in the area.
Aside from respecting the locals, you must respect other surfers in the area as well. Thus, try not to get in their way while you’re surfing or observing the waves. Hence, stay as far as possible from other surfers. As a rule of thumb, let one person surf one wave. Follow the line (if there’s one) before you start running off to the open waters.
Also, keep your eyes peeled at all times. You might not know the layout of the surfing spot, especially if you’re enjoying this sport in international waters. Hence, be mindful of any obstructions that may heighten the risk of you falling from your board. Furthermore, ensure that no swimmers are in the area. Hitting your head with your board isn’t a fun experience. Therefore, you should know how it would feel if a swimmer gets hit with your surfboard.
Surfing might be the most enjoyable sport that you can try out in your life. But, like many experts, you need to start somewhere. Let this guide help you learn about the different surfing fundamentals, especially about the activity’s ethics and learning curve. Over time and with enough practice, you might be surfing different waves with the experts.