How Long Does It Take to Learn to Surf? A Comprehensive Guide

Surfing is no different from acquiring other new skills in that there is a learning curve. Understanding the process and phases of learning to surf may be useful whether you're a total beginner or an ambitious surfer trying to further your abilities. The various levels of surfing skills and the variables affecting how long it takes to perfect the sport are discussed in this article.

Our Definition of "Learning to Surf"

How Long Does It Take to Learn to Surf

Let's define what we mean by "learning to surf" before we get any farther into the chronology. The process of progressing from a beginner's level to ultimately riding unbroken waves is referred to, which entails standing up on a surfboard and navigating over the wave face. From complete novices to people who have never surfed before, this path covers a range of ability levels.

The Beginner Stage

The starter stage of your surfing experience comes with its own set of difficulties. Balance is a vital skill that novice surfers must develop since surfing actions are different. In these early stages:

Practice Your Pop Up

Enhancing your pop-up's smoothness is crucial. You may improve this action and hasten the development of your ability to stand up on actual waves by even practicing at home.

Paddling a Surfboard

Although it's better to practice paddling in the water, knowing the right paddling techniques—like cupped hands, stretched arms, and deep strokes—will improve your surfing.


While surfing the wave, maintaining equilibrium is essential. Including balance board exercises in your routine will greatly speed up your improvement, especially if you have never participated in an activity that requires balance.

The Intermediate Stage

By the time you reach the intermediate stage, you'll have mastered the fundamental turns and movements. In this stage, you'll sharpen your present abilities and explore more challenging surfing techniques:

Riding Down the Line

A major accomplishment is figuring out how to spin on your surfboard and follow the continuous surge of a wave. Longer and more thrilling rides are made possible by doing this, which entails paddling your board left or right, depending on the direction the wave breaks.

Surfing Large Waves

The ambition of riding bigger waves develops as your confidence grows. It becomes increasingly important to control steeper waves with appropriate technique, which enables you to execute previously difficult stunts and maneuvers.

Advanced Surfing

The advanced stage invites surfers who aspire to be the best. Advanced surfers can experiment with sophisticated maneuvers, ride bigger waves, and even think about competing, however not everyone may achieve this level:

Mastering the Right Waves

To reach expert-level surfing, regular exposure to larger and more challenging waves is essential. This lays the foundation for executing advanced tricks and techniques.

Utilizing Advanced Surf Gear

To do expert-level maneuvers and successfully handle bigger waves, the proper gear, such as shortboards, high-quality fins, and traction-enhancing gear, becomes essential.

6 Factors That Influence Learning Time

How Long Does It Take to Learn to Surf

Several factors affect the time it takes to learn surfing:

1. Fitness

Physical fitness can expedite learning, as surfing demands upper-body strength and endurance.

2. Prior Experience

Background in sports like skateboarding or snowboarding can accelerate learning due to balance and coordination skills.

3. Wave Quality

Access to consistent waves for practice contributes to faster progress.

4. Equipment

Properly fitting boards and gear aid learning, making the process less challenging.

5. Opportunity

Frequent surfing opportunities enable quicker skill development.

6. Commitment

Dedication to regular practice and improvement is a significant determinant.

How Long It Takes to Learn Surfing

Although the precise amount of time needed to master surfing varies, a rough estimate for beginners is between five and twenty hours. This window enables various learning preferences and degrees of dedication. Tenacity, perseverance, and the will to ride the waves are hallmarks of the journey.

Surfing is ultimately more about enjoying the rhythm of the sea, perfecting your abilities, and creating your own unique style than it is about just managing the waves. So keep in mind that every wave you catch, whether you're aiming for an exciting aerial or a sentimental trip to the shore, brings you closer to the soul of surfing. 

Surfing Essentials

Surfing is much more than simply a simple summertime activity; it is a complex endeavor. It necessitates meticulousness, technical proficiency, and familiarity with the necessary tools. This is not a pastime to be taken lightly; it is a demanding one that demands respect for the power of the water as well as an openness to learning new things.

How Long Does it Take to Get Good at Surfing?

Personal ambitions and unwavering dedication have a significant influence on the years-long process of becoming an expert surfer. Gaining expertise requires achieving significant milestones, such as conquering challenging bends and deftly navigating larger waves. People interpret "good" in the context of surfing differently depending on their goals and desires within the sport.

Consistent practice, a readiness to take on obstacles, and a drive to continually improve one's skills are necessary for climbing the rankings. Whether your goal is to master complex maneuvers or surf bigger waves, getting there requires perseverance and dedication. The time it takes to become "good" at surfing ultimately reflects the effort made, the lessons discovered, and the profound connection made with the dynamic energy of the ocean.


Learning to surf is a dynamic process that involves different phases and ability levels. Each level advances a surfer's ability, from the beginning stages of keeping balance and mastering the pop-up to the more advanced ones of riding bigger waves and doing complex maneuvers. The learning curve is influenced by a number of variables, including physical condition, past knowledge, wave quality, equipment, dedication, and opportunity. Whatever route is chosen, perseverance and constant practice are still essential for success in surfing.

As you embark on this exhilarating journey, remember that becoming proficient in surfing requires patience, persistence, and a deep connection with the ocean. Whether you're chasing the thrill of riding a perfectly formed wave or aiming to perform advanced tricks, each moment spent on the water brings you closer to the heart of the surfing experience. 

Oliver Jones

Written by Oliver Jones

I'm a dedicated surfer and writer, and my heart truly belongs to the ocean. Surfing is not just a sport but a way of life for me. I ride the waves in the water and on paper, pouring my passion into every word I write.

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