There are few feelings quite like being out on the water as the waves keep rolling in, set after set, lying on your board with the whole of the ocean out in front of you. The feeling when you eventually catch a wave, stand up, and surf is simply incomparable.
If you are a beginner surfer, it can be tough even to know what to expect. Ensure that you get a lesson on your first outing if you are an absolute newbie to surfing.
A qualified coach will show you surfing positions, keep you safe and teach you the essential techniques that will be the basis of your surfing life. The following are some of the most valuable tips to help you get stoked to get out and start catching some waves.
1. Choose the Right Gear For You
It can be daunting to walk into a surf shop to get the right gear, especially since you will be presented with many options for each item you require. The ideal surfboard is dependent on your size, experience, and goals.
Since no ‘one size fits all’ beginner’s board, you must do your best to be thorough because the correct answer is different. Ideally, you would rent or borrow some boards but don’t be afraid to ask better surfers. Ask surf shop owners, your surf instructor, or any other beginners who are a similar size as you about their board.
A giant board will be easier to paddle and balance on at first. However, as you learn to perfect your fundamentals, everything becomes more complex with a big surfboard. Controlling your board in the water, carrying it, getting through white water, and taking off on steeper waves is all made more difficult by using a giant board than necessary. There is a perfect size for you out there, and you can find it with a bit of diligence.
2. Practice Locations
When you are on a surfing beach, the place where you see all the people surfing is almost always not the place you want to start learning to surf. It is an intimidating endeavor to teach yourself to surf. Novice beginners should start with literally zero waves, such as a pond, bay, or lake. A visit to Santa Barbara surf school would be the best place to start.
It allows you to practice your fundamentals without the need to keep your eyes on the ocean and worrying about how you look to other people. Going to a surfing beach is acceptable if you have basic proficiency in the fundamentals.
However, you will find the most pleasure and effective practice when you stay in the white water. Do not attempt to paddle out the peaking unbroken waves unless there is no crowd and the waves are waist high or less. Waist-high is a good rule of thumb as a maximum size wave for beginners teaching themselves to surf.
3. Have Safety Measures in Place
If you want to learn surfing, you must realize that it comes with a dose of potential dangers. Although the risks certainly exist, awareness is the first step to prevention. One of the significant causes of injury and collision in surfing occurs when beginners surf near other surfers.
It would help if you found a spot to surf where you can be alone or maintain a large safety radius around you at all times. The golden rule in surfing, especially for beginners, is to hold on to your surfboard.
Keeping your board in your hands at all times significantly reduces the chance of being hit or hitting others. In case you lose control of your board, an excellent reflex to cultivate is to cover your head by intertwining your fingers behind your head, your forearms squeezing your temple, and elbows pointed forwards.
Do not try to come up to the surface while the turbulence of the wave has you. It would be best if you stayed underwater and waited for the tide to dissipate.
4. Learn About Surfing Etiquette
Just like most things in life, there is a certain etiquette to the surfing lineup. The ‘line up’ is the name used to describe all those people with boards and wetsuits out in the water trying to catch a wave. When you are paddling out, be aware that other surfers maybe surfing the wave you are about to go through.
Usually, the person closest to the break gets the right of way on a wave though as a beginner, it shouldn’t come into play too often. Ensure that you don’t cut in line or steal anyone’s waves the first time you are out by yourself.
If you love nature and love spending time outdoors and exploring different environments, you are almost guaranteed to enjoy surfing. Although getting hit by a wave puts you underwater for a couple of seconds, it makes you feel good when you come back up. As that happens, expect to see waves everywhere you go.