An Ultimate Guide for Beginner Surfers

February 25, 2021

Are you keen to learn surfing but you don’t exactly know where and how to start? Then, you are in the right place! This guide for beginner surfers will help you understand what to do at the very beginning of your surfing. 

Admit that you are a beginner

The first thing you have to do is to admit that you are a beginner. It is very important to be humble and know what level of surfing you are. If you have never tried surfing before, then the best thing you can do is to have surf lessons with an instructor first. It is for your safety and to learn some basics about the ocean and surfing. Many times there are beginner surfers who think they can just go to the ocean with a board and they will somehow learn by themselves, but most of the time, they just end up catching no wave and without a single stand up. Be patient and have a couple of lessons before practicing on your own.

Beginner’s board and beach

A very important thing is to choose the right board for a beginner. The best option of boards for beginners are Softboards, they are long and soft, so when they hit you, you won’t end up with injuries. Don’t be fooled by the length of these boards, as they may seem a bit longer for you than you would expect. It is for stability and with that length, there is a higher chance for you to catch a wave and even stand up at your first lesson. And that’s the kind of motivation you need to keep learning!

Also, it matters where you are learning to surf. You want a beach with small waves and not a beach with professionals surfing in the barrels. You can find many great spots for learning in Gran Canaria (link to an article with beginner surf spots). The important thing is to not be there completely alone but also not surrounded by many people. Pay attention to people and try to surf only when nobody is in front of you. 

surf beginners las palmas

Always be respectful

Respect the ocean and other surfers. We are guests in the ocean so act accordingly. Don’t go for the big waves, start with the foam of small waves near the shore. You are safe there and you can be improving your stand-ups. Once you have the technique, then you can move a little bit forward. But always be careful and patient with yourself. 

Learn the rules and surf ethics

Surfing has its etiquette on how to behave in the ocean when there are other surfers. The general rule is that only one person surfs one wave. If you don’t want to be the one everybody yells at, then check our ……. (link to an article with surf rules) to learn more about surf ethics. 

Hold your surfboard properly

It can be dangerous to not know how to hold your board while in the ocean. When you are entering the water, hold the board at one side of you, never in front of you, as the board can hit you easily with a coming wave. You can place the board on the water when it is deep enough for paddling. 

You probably also wonder how to get through the wave once you are on your board. One of the ways while on your softboard is to simply lift your chest when the wave is coming. There is no need to change body position. Hold the board with both hands on the edges and then straighten them to lift yourself up a little. The wave will go over your board but you will stay above the water. 

Almost there! Don’t forget about the warmup before surfing!

Warmup stretching is very important. It prevents you from the pain of unexpected movements in the water. If you have a class with an instructor, remember the stretching he shows you before surfing, so you can repeat that once you will be practicing on your own. 

Finally, let’s go surfing! How to catch a wave, stand up and ride it

Before even going to the water, practice on the beach! Lay down, start to paddle, then push your hands into the ground beneath your chest and try to jump to your feet at once. Figure out if you are more comfortable with the right or left foot in front. 

When you are ready, go to the water and start to watch the waves. When you have picked your wave, turn the nose of the board towards the beach/shore, lay down, and start to paddle. The nose of the board should be always above the water, so make sure you are in a good laying position.

Look forward and try to feel where the wave is. If you already feel a burst of speed underneath you, that’s the right moment to stand up! Take your time and if you manage to stand up, never look down. You will feel the urge to look at your feet if they are in a good position but don’t do that. You will just lose balance. Try to reposition yourself without looking at feet.

Bend your knees, hold your arms out to sides for a good balance, and tadaa! You are surfing! Enjoy this feeling!

beginner surfing

Don’t give up!

It’s very likely that your first lesson won’t be according to your expectations. But, don’t give up on yourself! It’s also very probable that the first one would be also the worst, so when the only thing you did was to survive, then congratulations! You are one step closer to learn how to surf! Be patient and don’t lose motivation. 

Practice, practice, practice

As in every sport, you need to practice to become better. Surfing is not an exception in this! Remember that it needs time and a lot of practice! 

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