Before you start learning how to surf you should know that it is not easy. Surfing is a difficult and complex sport, and getting started will take both time and effort.
But as difficult as it may be, there is nothing quite as satisfying as the first time you ride your first wave. So if you are committed to learning how to surf – keep reading to find out how you can start.
Get the Right Equipment
If you want to start learning to surf, you need to have the right gear. And the first thing you’ll need is a surfboard that is buoyant, easy to paddle, and stable.
Because of that it is recommended that beginners start with ‘soft top’ longboards that have fuller shapes. Initially you may want to rent a surfboard, or buy one second-hand.
Aside from your surfboard you’ll also want to get a wetsuit to keep yourself warm in the water, and a surfboard leash so you’re not constantly chasing after your board. Getting some surfboard wax can help improve your grip on the board, and sunscreen is key to protect yourself.
Practice the Basics
Before catching any waves, you need to practice the basics of surfing. That includes:
- Popping up by lying flat on your board with your feet at one end then pushing yourself up on your surfboard in one quick motion with your arms. As you rise, one foot should be placed where your hands were, while the other is positioned a shoulder-width behind it.
- Standing with the right stance which has your feet planted firmly on the board with your knees bent and arms extended but loose.
- Paddling in the water to get used to how to balance properly. If the nose of your board is too high up it means you’re lying too far back, while if it is too low then you’re too far forward.
Finding instructors when you learn to surf in Newquay or elsewhere can help you master these basics more quickly. That said if you are learning on your own then looking for online videos may be a good idea.
Before heading out on the waves you may want to also learn basic surfing etiquette and how to recognize beginner-friendly waves.
Get Out There and Try it Out
Once you’re confident that you’ve got the basics down, you can try catching your first wave. Essentially what you need to do is:
- Find a good spot for beginners. It is best to not go too far out but look for a spot where the waves break slowly and you see long rows of knee to waist high white water heading towards the shore.
- Paddle to your spot keeping yourself perpendicular to the waves so you cut through them. If you see a channel where the waves don’t break you can paddle out there.
- Turn your board towards the shore by kicking your legs and position yourself to catch the wave.
- Catch the wave by starting to paddle as it approaches. Once you feel its momentum push your board you can pop up on it.
- Ride the wave as best as you can by keeping the right stance. Look forward and watch out for other surfers.
- Try turning by leaning into the wave while keeping your balance.
Be prepared for the fact that you’re likely to wipe out your first time round. If you feel yourself starting to fall you shouldn’t panic, but try to fall towards the side or back of the board.
Make no mistake, pretty much everyone wipes out the first time they catch a wave – so don’t be disappointed. Instead, just go with the flow, get back onto your board, and paddle your way back to your spot so that you can try again.
It may take a bit of time – but now that you know how to learn to surf you’ll slowly get the hang of it as long as you practice.