How to start surfing – taking that first step

How to start surfing

Spring has finally arrived! With warm sunny days and lighter evenings on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to get out there and try something new. Like surfing. It’s one of those must-do items that loads of people have on their bucket lists!

Whether you’ve seen it in a movie and think it looks cool, or fallen in love with the laidback lifestyle, now’s the perfect time to stop dreaming and start doing. But you’re really not sure where to start. Or you really want to have a go, but don’t want to look like a total numpty.

Surfing isn’t as easy as it looks – we’d be lying if we said it is! It’s not a case of jumping straight in the sea with a board and landing an air (we wish!). But you’ll never forget your first wave. And with time, effort, patience and heaps of fun, you’ll be hooked. That bucket list item suddenly became a lifelong passion!

Follow our tips on how to start surfing and you’ll be shredding in no time!

Have a lesson

Whilst it’s tempting to just hire a surfboard and wetsuit and have a go yourself, don’t. Especially if you have no knowledge or experience in the sea. You could put yourself in serious danger.

A surf lesson will teach you the safety principles as well as showing you the correct techniques like how to ‘pop-up’. It’s far better than struggling on your own. Plus you’ll be with others who’ve never tried surfing before either so it’ll feel way less intimidating.

Don’t surf alone

Without sounding like one of those Government safety TV commercials from the 70s, we’re serious about this. With no-one to watch out for you, you could get stuck in a rip and without proper coaching you won’t know what to do.

Besides, surfing is way better with friends…preferably those who are already experienced when you’re just starting out!

Ride the right board

Beginner surfers start off on big foam boards for a reason. They’re super floaty and will help you get to your feet. That means you’ll catch more waves and have heaps more fun.

Don’t be tempted to start off on a shortboard. You won’t catch any waves, you’ll get frustrated and it could put a very quick end to your surfing career!

Be prepared…physically

Unless you’re a super fit triathlete, nothing will prepare you for the muscle ache after your first ever surf. Your body will hurt all over and you’ll probably walk like John Wayne for a few days (sitting on a surfboard is not as easy as it looks!)!

If you’re already a gym goer, good on you! You might want to ramp it up a bit ahead of your first surf lesson and train the muscles you need for surfing (think upper body, core and legs). If exercise isn’t your thing, don’t say we didn’t warn you!

The muscle fatigue, tiredness and blissed out feeling you get afterwards is like nothing you’ve ever experienced. They say only a surfer knows the feeling and it’s absolutely worth it!

Find a beginner friendly spot

Beach breaks are best for beginners. Sand based sea beds are way more forgiving than navigating rocky beds or reefs which are best left to the experts.

Learn to surf on a beach where the waves are mellow – slow breaking and small which peel rather than close out (or ‘break’ very suddenly). They’ll give you more time to get to your feet and the best chance of catching the wave.

Invest in a good wetsuit

If you’re having a surf lesson, a good surf school will have the best quality wetsuits. Wetsuit hire is included in your lesson fee so for no additional cost, you should have a good quality suit to keep you warm in the water. If you’re cold after 10 minutes thanks to a cheap flimsy wetsuit, it’s not exactly going to set your surfing world on fire!

If you’re one of those who likes to rush out and buy all the gear straight away, do it properly. Go to a shop and get fitted for a wetsuit because trust us, it’s not like clothes shopping and your regular clothes size doesn’t mean anything! Find the best manufacturer for your size and chose something that fits snug that won’t let any water in.

Have fun

Because this is one of the reasons why you wanted to start surfing, right?

There is a known saying out there, ‘The best surfer is the one that’s having the most fun.’ It may sound cheesy but it’s absolutely true. Don’t take it too seriously, turn it into a competition with your mates or have a tantrum when you can’t stand on your surfboard. You’ll lose sight of what it’s all about and will make for bad memories on your bucket list entry!

So enjoy it, have fun and welcome to the club. As Kelly Slater once said about surfing, “It’s like the mafia. Once you’re in – you’re in. There’s no getting out!”


Image credit: Mr Mao pics via Flickr

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