Surfing is a water sport that requires you to balance on a board while riding a wave. There are different variations of surfing: short boarding and longboarding. You can learn these variations by either teaching yourself, or going to a local surf shop for lessons. However, it is safer to always learn with a buddy.
To surf you obviously need a beach with some waves, but that is not always the case. Depending on where you are from, there may be surf ranches near you. A surf ranch is where man made waves are created so surfers can have fun and practice. It takes away the unpredictability of the ocean, and puts you in a more controlled environment where you can practice your skills without worrying about other elements such as tide and wind.
The best way to get into surfing is to find a surf school and take some lessons. Here are some steps to follow before you pick a school:
The commute is what often deters someone from getting into surfing, so picking a location that is most convenient for you will help prevent you from getting burnt out.
After you have found a possible school, you should scope out the area to see how intense the waves can get. The intensity of the waves will vary depending on the day, but it is good to get a general idea of whether or not that beach sees more advanced surfers than beginners. Also, you want to pick an area with no tricky tides or rocky floors.
The teachers at this school should be accredited by the International Surfing Association. These instructors are trained professionally and are the most reliable.
It is also important to check if lessons hold more than eight people. If so, it is probably not a good environment to learn in because the instructors will have a hard time giving each individual advice.
Finally, you should confirm with your surf school that all the equipment is included with the lessons. This prevents you from spending more on rented out boards and wetsuits.
You can teach yourself to surf with online videos and tutorials. There are a countless amount of videos on the internet that break down basic movements like taking off, paddling, and standing up. Although you can teach yourself the basics, you should always practice them in the water with another person who is preferably more experienced than you are. This will prevent you from getting injuries, and the other person can correct you on mistakes that you might not be able to see. If you are having trouble with learning the basics by yourself, do not feel embarrassed to enroll in some lessons at a local surf school. Learning from experts is the best way to soak up the basics, and learn how to surf.
The time it takes to learn how to surf all depends on how committed an individual is to the sport. For some, it takes two hours for them to stand up on their board, but for others it could take months. The key to learning how to surf is to stay patient with the process and check off boxes every time you practice. Here are some of those boxes you want to check off:
This is the most demanding aspect of the sport. If done improperly, it can waste your energy and prevent you from even catching a wave. It is essential to build up your paddling endurance and strength in order to have more control over your board.
When you are out waiting for waves, you should sit on your board so your back muscles do not get tired from constantly lifting your chest up while paddling. This takes practice, and you may find it hard to balance and fall as a result, but keep repositioning yourself until you find your sweet spot.
Many think that standing up on your board has to be practiced in the water, but this is far from the truth. You can practice on land so you get your technique sharp. To do this, you will have to unscrew the fins off your board and place it on a flat surface: either on the grass at a park or even your bedroom floor. From here, practice the different phases of standing up.
The difficulty of surfing depends on the person, but generally the hardest part is getting the basics down in order to stand up on the board. One thing that can help you when starting out is buying or renting out longboards. These boards are much larger than your standard shortboard, so it can help you out with finding your balance when first starting out.
The sport is physically demanding, so it is valuable to stay in good physical condition so you will not get tired easily. This endurance also comes with being a good swimmer, which is also an essential skill to harness. Being a strong swimmer will help you paddle in and out of the ocean, and even to your board if you were to lose it.
The difficulty of the sport also reduces when you participate in surfing lessons instead of trying to learn by yourself. Learning from trained professionals is the quickest and easiest way to learn how to surf.
To start surfing, you will need a board, some fins (if they do not come with the board), a leash, a wetsuit, and wax. For beginners, the best board to buy is a longboard. Although they are heavier and harder to paddle, they will give you more stability when trying to pop up on the board. On a shortboard, you are able to move faster and have sharper maneuvers, but they are harder to balance on. The fins on the board help with your steering. They usually come with the board when you buy it. Leashes attach to your ankle and prevent your board from getting lost after you wipe out.
Wetsuits are also very necessary. These are suits that keep you warm when the water is too cold to surf in just swimming trunks. Unless you are in Hawaii, where the water is generally pretty warm, a wetsuit is almost mandatory so you do not get frigid while trying to catch waves.
Wax is only needed if you have a plexiglass surfboard. Most beginner surfboards are usually soft, with the top layer made from foam. This keeps you safe just in case you get hit by your board. If you have a plexiglass board, the wax gives it a better grip.
If you are learning how to surf through lessons, that will cost you about $25-100 per session depending on the popularity of the school. That price may or may not include the surfing equipment itself.
If you are learning with a friend or by yourself, you will need to buy some equipment. Boards can cost anywhere from $180-1000 depending on the size and brand of the board, and wetsuits range from $125-360. Leashes can be $15-35, and fins are between $15-55. Finally, wax can go up to $15.