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How to surf——7 tips for beginner surfers

How to surf——7 tips for beginner surfers

, by PTY LTDCroch AU, 9 min reading time

Surfing is one of the most difficult and complex sports in the world. Since not one wave is the same, so your playground is constantly changing. Elements such as wind, tides and swells are affecting the waves. So you surf differently every single day. Although the process of learning to surf may take some time, it can be one of the most pleasurable experiences of your life. Here are some steps to learn surfing safely and efficiently.

Surfing is one of the most difficult and complex sports in the world. Since not one wave is the same, so your playground is constantly changing. Elements such as wind, tides and swells are affecting the waves. So you surf differently every single day. Although the process of learning to surf may take some time, it can be one of the most pleasurable experiences of your life. Here are some steps to learn surfing safely and efficiently.

The proper surfboard is so important. It can make the difference between surfing 20 waves or zero waves in your session. It's not about having the brand new model, it's mainly about having the right volume and the right rocker for you. The volume is the measurement of how much flotation your board has. It depends on the length, the width and the thickness of the surfboard from its nose to its tail. You want lots of volume, choose big surfboards, either longboards or foam boards, boards that are wide, thick, long and have flat rocker. A rocker is the banana shape of the surfboard. It has a great performance advantages for experience surfers. For beginners, though, the rocker will only slow you down. Make sure you have a leash, it attaches you to your surfboard if needed, find a wetsuit for the water temperature of the spot that you're going to surf, you might also need to wax your surfboard if the top is slippery. This will help you stick to your surfboard. Put the proper wax on. There is wax for cold water, mild water and warm water.
Your surfboard should have fins under the tail. This will provide direction to your surfboard in the water. Without fins is very hard to stay in control and give a direction to your surfboard.

Choosing the proper surf spot is crucial for both your safety and your enjoyment in the water. A common misconception is to think that beach breaks, meaning spots with sound bottoms are better for beginners and spots with rocks or coral reef bottoms are better for more advanced surfers. In reality, there are sandy beach brakes that are better for advanced surfers. Some reef breaks are good for beginners, for example, here is a beach break in Bali. Even though the bottoms made of sand, these are not good conditions to learn on. This is a reef break a few hours away because the tide is high, surfers don't have to worry about hitting the reef. Also because the spot doesn't pick up as much swell, waves are much smaller, making it perfect conditions to learn on. If you want to know if the spot is good for your level, you must not only look up the spot info, but you also want the daily wave conditions. Some spots can be perfect to learn on some days and on other days when the swells too big, waves may only be suitable for experts at the same spot. There are many ways to find out what the right surf spot is and what conditions are right for you. You can ask any experience friends, visit a local surf shop or look online on the websites like or If you want to find out about hazards such as rocks, rip currents, localism, and the best tides to surf at, doing some research on the web is always good, but the best thing is to ask a knowledgeable and experienced surfer that has been surfing that area for a long time.

Before going to the beach, you should learn some basic security aspects of surfing. Here are some of the most important ones. First of all, you need to know how to swim before trying to surf. You can't count on your surfboard as a floating device. If you are not comfortable to swim without a surfboard in conditions you see it a specific spot, it’s not a good idea that you surf that spot. One of the most common cause of injuries are people hitting their own surfboard. If possible, when you wipe out, jump as far from your board and protect your head. Try not to dive in head first, especially when you're surfing small waves in shallow waters. Keep a good distance with other surfers in the water. Another common cause of injuries is collisions between two surfers. The impact zone is a place where the lip of the wave hits the flat water. This is the moment when the wave is at its most powerful stage. On big waves, getting caught on the impact zone can mean getting dragged fiercely down to the bottom. Beginners shouldn't be surfing in big waves, but it's always a good habit trying to avoid the impact zone by paddling either towards the white water or towards the open shoulder of the wave. Be careful not to get in the way of surfers riding the wave, you might have to duck dive or turtle roll in the white water to avoid this situation. Although it's not always fun to aim for the white water, it's sometimes necessary. Waves lose lots of power with every second that passes after they have broken. Going for the white water is better than being right on the impact zone and getting the lip crashing on you. One of the most easiest ways to lose your air under water is to panic. Lots of beginner surfers think they get stuck under the water for 15 seconds. Although it may seem like a long time, if you're surfing proper beginner waves, you shouldn't get stuck under the water for more than 3 or 4 seconds. In case of any emergency, you should be able to get your surf coach or a friend's attention quickly and easily. You should discuss with your surf coach or an experience surf friend about this signal, so it is clearly understood between you both. One of the most efficient signals is to call your coach whilst waving one arm in the air, straight to and fro above your head. A rip current is a powerful water current that runs out of the beach perpendicular to the shore. The longest rip currents can extend in length for a few hundred meters, but their width is rarely more than 10 meters. This means it's possible to paddle out of a rip current in a pretty short amount of time. Never paddle against the rip current, the first instinct of many surfers to try and paddle back to the shore when they get caught in a rip current. Rip currents move quickly, even experience surfers often can't fight a strong rip current. So if you are in a rip current, don't panic, because rip currents are narrow and because the strongest, fastest part is in the center. The best way to get out of a rip current quickly is to paddle sideways, parallel to the shore to make paddling easier. You can paddle in a diagonal with a slight angle out of the horizon. Once you get out of a current, you'll be able to paddle back for waves and for the white water to help you get back to shore with a limited effort.

The surfer with the longest potential ride has priority for the wave. Here, surfer A who is closest to the peak, the first breaking part of the wave has the right of way. Surfer B stops paddling to make sure he doesn't drop in on surfer A's wave. In this situation, surfer A can't ride the wave the way he wants to, because surfer B just dropped in on his wave. Droppings can cause collisions, frustrations, and injuries. As you paddle out to go catch some waves, you must do your best not to get another surfer’s wave. Don't paddle where most waves are crashing, where the majority of surfers are riding, instead, try to avoid other surfers’ trajectory when paddling back. When a wall of white water comes to you, it can be tempting to throw your board away and dive underneath. Don't ditch your board. It could injure another surfer paddling behind you.

Surf spots can have many hazards like strong current or sharp rocks. It's a good idea to do a proper spot check once you get to the beach. Don't just go straight into the water without paying attention to the potential hazards.

One of the things beginners struggle the most with is to stay in control of their big surfboards in the water. As you walk out into the ocean, hold the surfboard by its nose and keep it perpendicular to the waves. This will prevent your surfboard from bouncing back at you when the waves come towards you. The best way to stay in control of your surfboard is to learn the push through technique and the turtle roll technique. This means you'll be able to either roll upside down, while the white water passes over you. Or you paddle straight towards the wave, grab your board and pass right through it.

During your first few days of surfing, your focus will mostly probably on improving your paddling and pop up techniques. Although paddling can seem simple, there are some crucial elements to understand that will increase your performance. Learning more about elements such as limiting drag, body positioning and maximizing propulsion could strongly increase the number of waves you catch. Once you learn the proper paddling technique, your next focus will be to practice your pop up on small waves or white water waves. The good thing about practicing take offs is that you can practice at home. It's always great to practice pop ups on the beach right before you go into the water, so it feels more natural and automatic to you.


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