So you are learning to surf? Got your first surfboard and nobody to teach you, or your current instructor did not teach you correctly? Here are a few tips and techniques that will help you with this endeavor and challenge that you will face, being new to the sport that made Kelly Slater Famous.
First thing is in learning to surf you have to make sure your surfboard is waxed correctly if you have a board that needs waxing in order to ride it. If you have purchased a soft-board, wax may not be needed to maintain traction or grip (this helps you stay on the board). Learning to surf requires a lot of practice, so if you only get the beach on occasion it will take longer to become efficient at this sport.
One thing that is easily overlooked in learning to surf is the importance of hopping up, or popping up from lying down on the surfboard and jumping into the proper surfing stance. You will need to lay face down on the ground, then in one quick movement you’ll go from that position into the stance of a surfer, wake-boarder, snowboarder, and skateboarder. It is very important that you do not go to your knees when doing this practice (going to ones knees slows down the process to completing this 1st skill).
If you have experience in other related fields where the stance is relatively the same, it will help with defining your natural stance (regular or goofy foot). Make sure that you practice this technique until you have your feet placed properly. If you go to your knees, you will likely end up to close to the nose of your surfboard. This will lead the board’s nose to dig into the water and you will fly off the front of the board into the water. Once in the water the surfboard will recoil (remember if are not standing on the surfboard the wave and board play a game called “let’s hit the surfer in the head with the surfboard”).
Now since you mastered the pop up drill, you’ll need to get your surfboard into the water so you can practice learning to surf for real. Read the article on How to Paddle out for more useful hints. Now you are out into the small surf (I mean small surf). No new surfer should be out in surf that is beyond their abilities, and yes I know what all new surfers are like. You are in small surf and out into the lineup in a less crowded place to practice this sport. How you approach learning to surf will determine whether you have fun or bust your ass trying to get into the lineup.
You will paddle your surfboard directly in the direction of the beach. Try riding whitewater first to lessen the chances of being hit in the head by falling in front of the board (if you fall off the board, stay under water for 5 seconds and put your hand in front of your face and head to help in case the board is recoiling). If you surface to early, you may pay for your decision by drawing blood.
Once you feel the whitewater moving the board, you will jump into the proper surfing stance in one quick motion (I repeat, do not go to your knees!). Keep your head up, aim your shoulder to the nose of the board, do not look down at the board, and BEND YOUR KNEES!! If you do not bend your knees, and you will not keep your balance and you will fall into the water. Remember the game the wave and surfboard wants to play. “Let’s Hit the Surfer in the Head with the Surfboard”™
Now after you have mastered the pop up in the whitewater you now want to challenge what the ocean has to deal you. In small surf you paddle out into the lineup, in a less crowded spot for safety. You see the wave coming in before it breaks and you align your surfboard directly to the beach and begin paddling. You feel the board starting to move a little faster than your paddle speed, then you jump into the proper surfing stance before the board drops down the face of the wave. If you get up to late, the board will dig the nose under water and you will fly off the surfboard (remember to stay under water for safety). Try again until you can get the feel of the boards position into the wave. Rinse and repeat often until you get comfortable with this exercise. If you don’t get it, give us a call at 321-956-3268 for professional instruction where we will make a positive difference.