9 Things You Should Know Before Learning How to Surf

Watching surfers riding huge waves certainly inspires us to learn the sport as quickly as possible to impress others, just as we were fascinated. It’s a sport like no other, and the best part is that it gives us a chance to master the ocean, which scares even the best of us. However, remember that surfing can be tricky, especially if you don’t have the stamina for it.

Here are 9 things that you should keep in mind if you want to reach new surfing heights and tackle those big waves with grace:

1. Surfing isn’t easy

Surfing is hard, and not only need to be physically fit to be a good surfer, but you also need to perfect certain skills and techniques that will give you an edge while in the midst of waves. Out of all these techniques, learning how to hold your breath for more than 30 seconds is the most important.

Believe it or not, waves push hard, especially when you are underwater and right below one. If you panic at that moment, you’ll be out of breath quicker.

There are certain breath-holding exercises that can equip you for a perfect surf session. And, of course, this is a no-brainer, but if you don’t know how to swim, you should stay at the shoreline. 

2. You’re going to need professional help to get started

If you’ve never surfed before, there is a huge chance that you’re going to need a pro to help you learn important maneuvers so that you’re comfortable out there. Many beginners might even find it hard to maintain balance on their surfboard while on level water.

It’s important that you seek qualified guidance so that you can make the right decisions, such as whether to duck dive, bail out, or turtle roll when you see a huge wave coming at you. 

3. Understand the physics behind wave movement 

There are certain wave patterns that, if understood, will help you to navigate the waters better. For instance, if you bail out right when a wave is about to hit you and you’re underwater, you’ll notice pockets of spaces where the wave isn’t pushing down. If you get to this space, you’ll be able to swim up faster. 

Timing waves is also important because it helps you decide whether you want to duck dive or just bail. For instance, duck diving will be a bad strategy if the lip falls directly on you because your board can break due to all the force. 

4. Be respectful of nature

Water pollution is a huge NO if you are thinking about being an ethical surfer. If you have rubbish on you that you’d like to get rid of, be sure to dispose of it in a trash can before hitting the water. Remember that the ocean is an entire ecosystem where life flourishes. Polluting means risking the well-being of these species.  

5. Learn on a full stomach

Surfing is an intense, calorie-consuming sport. If you attempt it on an empty stomach, you’ll risk feeling drained and weak by the end of it. Eating a hearty meal before a surf session is important so that you can get all the essential nutrients for your body to function normally.

6. Never bail if there are other surfers in your vicinity

Bailing is dangerous because, with all that wave pressure, your leash can break. With a broken leash, your board is free to move around with the wave. And considering how strong wave pressure can be, it can hit someone forcefully, causing serious injuries, even to the point of a skull injury leading to unconsciousness.

Remember that you need to act responsibly if you don’t want to harm anyone else. At the same time, you need to be careful if someone else in your vicinity bails. If this happens, you’ll have no other choice but to bail as well if you want to avoid getting hit by their board.

7. Know how much you can handle

Don’t assume that everything will be easy once you’re out there. You should know your skills and judge if the conditions out there are too rough. You don’t need to master everything instantly because remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day!

Pace yourself at a rhythm that’s most comfortable for you, and you’ll notice yourself getting better with each passing day.  Call it a day when you feel you’ve exerted yourself enough for that surf session.

8. Don’t get demotivated

Learning any sport or skill takes time, and there are sadly no shortcuts. However, even if there are days when you feel like you aren’t making any progress, remind yourself that this is, in fact, a false impression because progress is small, daily, and sometimes unnoticeable changes that cumulate to give successful results down the line.

9. Know ocean safety rules

If you are just starting out, here are a few ocean rules to keep in mind so that you’re safe in the ocean.

  1. Never learn at crowded spots. You’ll be more at ease and will be able to hit waves more frequently if you don’t have to share them with others. Crowded spots also increase the chances of collisions.
  2. Make sure that your leash is securely on you.
  3. Keep yourself away from your board during a wipeout so that you’re not injured by it.
  4. Keeping calm is the number 1 strategy to avoid being rag-dolled. You can also lose your breath faster underwater if you become anxious. If you are naturally anxious or fear the ocean, you might want to overcome this by practicing holding your breath and meditating. 

Wrapping up

Now that you have the basics up your sleeve, you’re ready to move on to the next stage, i.e., putting your wetsuit on and learning how to surf. 

James Davis

Written by James Davis

I'm a true California local, and I've spent my life riding the waves along our stunning coastline. Surfing has always been my greatest love, and in my writing, I try to capture its genuine essence. My words aim to transport you into the heart of the surf culture, where the ocean and surfers come together in perfect harmony.

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