5 tips for newbies to the surfing world
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e’ve all been to the beach and stood watching in awe as bronzed beauties glide effortlessly with the waves without even breaking a sweat, but can surfing really be as easy as it looks? Probably not, but there’s no harm in trying. If you’re about to cruise the coast and dabble in some surf sessions before your trip is over, then there’s a few things you need to know first.
Get the right gear
[dropcap]1[/dropcap]Obviously you’re going to want to look the part in front of the pro’s but a wetsuit is about more than just looking like a human sea lion. They keep your body at the ideal temperature (especially handy if you’re not heading anywhere too exotic) as well as protecting your skin from rashes and irritation surfboards can cause. An ill fitting wetsuit will benefit nobody so it’s important to spend some time getting one that fits perfectly and you feel comfortable in. For those of you lucky enough to be heading to warmer shores, a pair of board shorts (1) and a rash vest (2) will do just fine. The majority on the market include UV protection so you are kept safe from the Sun’s rays without having to abandon the sea to apply lotion every 5 minutes. Let’s not forget the all important board! Just like the wetsuit, it’s vital you choose the right size board, they are made to varying lengths and widths to suit the varying lengths and widths of the population. For beginners your best bet is to select a softboard which has a foam construction. These boards provide a little extra buoyancy and are perfect for just learning the ropes.
Practice on the sand
[dropcap]2[/dropcap]This may sound absurd, and you may think you’re going to look ridiculous, but practicing on the sand is honestly the best way to nail your technique. Being thrown in at the deep end might work for some instances, but in surfing this is rarely the case. Place your board on the sand and lay on top of it as though floating in the water. You now need to, in one swift move, get yourself from that horizontal position into that typical surfer stance with one foot in front of the other. Use the strength in your arm to push your body up and quickly swing your legs underneath. This may sound easy but don’t be fooled into not practicing beforehand.
Don’t ignore surfing rules
[dropcap]3[/dropcap]That’s right, surfers have a system. It’s a good idea to brush up on those unwritten rules (sometimes they are actually written and displayed) that tame the masses of boarders on the shore. When you’re all hankering for the same wave there’s one thing to remember, ‘the first surfer up and closest to the curl has right of way’. Also, don’t commit the ‘drop in’ crime. This is where you catch the wave whilst another surfer has already claimed it, often resulting in both of you losing out. The surf community absolutely hates this — don’t be that person.
Get stuck in with the pros
[dropcap]4[/dropcap]Okay, maybe not whilst actual surfing, but stick around on the beach or find the local hot spots where you’re likely to get chatting to the surfing elite. Apart from the obvious, that surfers are renowned for having more than a good time, they are also more than happy to help you out. Take advantage of them whilst they have a beer in hand to find out those secret tips to a successful surf session. You never know, you might be lucky enough to land yourself a free lesson for the following day.
Stick to it
[dropcap]5[/dropcap]This may seem like a no brainer but it’s the classic case of getting straight back on the horse (or the board in this case). You’re never going to land that first wave, and you probably won’t land the next ten after that, but it will happen! Persistence is the key when surfing. Take the time to figure out the technique that best suits you and just work on it. Nothing compares to the feeling of riding your very first wave, just remember that and you surely won’t give up.
Tell us: what are your top tips for newbies to the surfing world?