Learning to Surf? 5 Tips for Beginners

There aren’t many experiences as exhilarating as catching a wave. Equal parts sport and lifestyle, surfing is a great way to spend your day at the beach. You’ll enjoy yourself and you’ll get a workout in the process.

When you’re new at surfing, it can be a bit frustrating to learn the ropes. Experienced surfers make it look easy, all while you’re just trying to pop up without immediately tipping over. Here are five tips to help you out when you’re learning to surf.

1. Find an Area Without Too Many Other Surfers Around

It’s good to have some space from other surfers when you’re a beginner. You don’t want to be too close to the experienced surfers, because they’ll probably be looking for waves that are a bit much for you at this stage. You don’t want to get in their way if you aren’t sure what you’re doing yet. There’s also a greater chance for an injury when you’re around other surfers because you may not be able to control yourself well enough yet to avoid a collision.

Look for your own area with waves that aren’t too high. You’ll be able to focus entirely on getting better, not dodging other people.

2. Practice Popping Up While You’re on the Sand

Laying your surfboard on the sand to practice your pop up won’t be the most exciting part of the lesson, but you need to get a feel for the basics. Any good surfer needs to be able to pop up in one smooth motion. The only way you’ll get the technique down is by starting on the sand, where you don’t need to worry about catching a wave or staying balanced.

3. Choose the Right Surfboard

When it comes to a good beginner’s surfboard, you want one that’s big and has a soft top. It’s tempting to get one of those shorter boards that can knife through the water, but these are much more difficult to use. With a big board, you’ll learn the fundamentals. You’ll also have an easier time catching waves, which will help you stay motivated.

A soft-top surfboard works well when you’re a beginner because it’s not a matter of if, but when your board is going to hit you. At least with a soft top, you won’t be left nursing your wounds.

4. Watch Your Posture When You Catch a Wave

Posture is important in just about any sport, and this is definitely true in surfing, where your posture will make the difference between riding a wave and immediately falling on your face.

When you stand up on your board, you should have your knees bent and your back should be straight. Many beginners do the opposite, which leads to poor balance and a sore back. It’s a good idea to watch your posture while you’re practicing your pop up on the beach. When you practice everything correctly, you’re more likely to do it correctly out on the water.

5. Get Used to Falling and Enjoy Yourself

Everyone falls, but your surfing experience will be much easier on your body if you fall correctly. The key is to fall flat and turn enough that you land on your back or side. You don’t want to go headfirst into the water. Make sure you stick your hands out over your head as you fall, just in case your board is coming around and about to hit you.

And of course, the most important thing you can do is have a good time as you learn to surf. Don’t worry about how fast you’re progressing, just enjoy the experience.

These tips won’t make you an expert surfer overnight, but they will put you on the right track. Make sure you also have an experienced coach to help you learn. Although you could learn to surf alone, it will happen much faster if you have the right person to guide you along the way. Ask people you know or look up surfing coaches online.