Introduction To Surfing: 101 – Learn How To Surf
Article by Brian Plainview
Surfing is a sport which has a certain mystique around it. It’s arguably the most environment dependent sport ever. Surfing is at the same time the least competitive and most competitive sport there is. A wave is a highly coveted item. So many factors play into surfing; tide, swell, wind, ocean bed, etc. But any surfer can tell you that it’s all worth it. There is no better feeling than catching a wave, doesn’t matter what kind of board your riding, or even necessarily how big the wave is.
With this article, I would like to do something I have not done before. I’ve been surfing for 11 years now, so I’ll have 11 notes to talk about.
1. Always Catch One More Wave:This one is pretty self-explanatory. Sometimes if you want to end your session, it’s tempting to just paddle in (side-note: sometimes no matter what, you’ll have to paddle in, but try to avoid it if possible) but what I’ve found happening various times, I decided I would stay out and ride one in, or tell myself, “one more wave” and on quite a few occasions that last one ended up being my best wave of the session.
2. Know Your Limits:If you’ve only surfed chest high waves, and then a massive double overhead swell comes in it might be best to find a spot that is smaller. It might be tempting to surf a big swell, but it’s not worth the risk until your skill level is up there. Alternatively my suggestion is to invest in a pair of fins and a bodyboard. It’s much easier getting into waves, and you don’t have to take ‘the drop’.
3. Protect Yourself:Always wear sunscreen on any exposed skin, and re-apply as needed.
4. The Best Way To Learn Is To Do:If you want to improve your surfing, the best thing you can do is to actually surf. The more you surf, the better you get. Sometimes progression can be slow, but it will happen.
5. Stay Out As Long As You Can:Surf as long as you can, a lot of people limit themselves to 2-3 hour sessions or so. Obviously, sometimes that’s all you can squeeze in because the sun is setting, or the conditions went to junk. But my view on this one is, as long as it’s good, you don’t have other plans, and it’s not pitch black, stay out as long as you can.
6. Ride Waves In / Make The Section:Sometimes it can be tempting when we see a wave sectioning ahead of us to end the ride, but it’s sometimes best to just take the section on and see if we can make it. Sometimes you don’t, but sometimes you do and you get an extra 20 second or even more to ride the wave.
7. Commit:It can be sometimes difficult to take a steep drop or just a drop on a larger wave. Just focus on paddling hard, and pushing your board hard down the face of the wave. Even if you wipe-out, you’ll realize it wasn’t so bad, and eventually you wont be so concerned and it’ll become easy to take bigger drops.
8. Bring Gear:Always bring some food / lots of water / wax / sunscreen to the beach. Surfing isn’t fun if you are hungry / thirsty, and it def. isn’t fun if you are dehydrated and starving. Bring some backup wax, and always sunscreen to re-apply.
9. Longboarding:It’s my opinion that every shortboarder should own a longboard. I always ride my shortboard on bigger days, but sometimes the waves are still GOOD but too small to shortboard (some might argue if it’s too small to not shortboard it isn’t good – but I wholeheartedly disagree). A longboard is an integral part of any surfers quiver. Longboards are ideal on smaller days.
10. Surf Once A Week:My suggestion is to try to surf at least once a week. This will ensure that you keep your paddling muscles, anything longer than a week and you will wonder why your arms are tired after 20 paddles when you haven’t surfed in 2-3+ weeks. Doesn’t matter if it’s flat or 1-2 feet knee-slappers. Just get out there and paddle around for a while.
11. Have Fun:Bottom line is – have fun. If you aren’t enjoying yourself there is no point. Surfing is supposed to be enjoyable, and it is. If something is bumming you out, try to change that. You’re the one that’s in control.
About the Author
Competitive Surfer & Music Appreciater & Writer
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