11 Tips for Beginner Surfers
Surfing is the ultimate summer activity. Picture your bikini-clad self slowly cruising into the sunny beach on a clean, glassy wave. In the UK, the reality is often more prosaic: grey skies, cold water and a lack of coordination that defies any attempt at grace. But, that doesn’t matter. Surfing is great exercise, it gets you outside and more importantly, it’s fun. We’d recommend having a few lessons from an accredited surf school, but if you find that surfing is for you, you’ll want to be able to go whenever it suits you.
Check out these top tips for getting started as an independent surfer:
- Get the right wetsuit – a good quality suit that is the right thickness for the season (2-3mm for British summer, 3-5mm for winter) will keep you toasty and comfortable.
- Get the right board – a bigger board will make it easier to catch waves and will feel more stable. Depending on your size, something around 8 or 9ft is ideal.
- Toes on the tail – when you’re lying on your board you want your toes to be right at the tail (the back) and your board to lie flat along the water.
- Arch your back – when you’re paddling, keep your chin and chest lifted off the board to get more power in each stroke. Imagine the cobra posture from yoga, and don’t worry, it can take a while for those back muscles to develop!
- Catch the broken waves – if you’re new to surfing, try and catch the waves just after they ‘break’ – the crumbly white water is easier to catch but will still have power.
- Keep paddling… hard! It often takes a few more paddle strokes than you think to get onto a wave so really go for it!
- Get to your feet – once you’ve caught the wave, jump up. You want to get your feet shoulder width apart with your weight centred around the middle of your board. Use your knees if you need to and keep practising.
- Stay low – keep your weight forward and your knees bent – this one is important!
- Look where you want to go – once you’re on your feet, keep your head up and focus on a point straight ahead of you, a point on the cliffs or a building on the shore is perfect. Having a focal point will help keep you balanced on the wave.
- Watch other people – who is getting lots of waves? Where are they placing themselves to catch them? Watching more experienced surfers can be a really great way to pick up tips.
Respect the ocean – she’s powerful. If you think the conditions are too much for you, ask the lifeguards for advice or sit that session out – there is always another day.