I’ll be the first to say that surfing is hard. It can be scary and intimidating so it’s not for everyone, you’ve got to be brave and willing to work hard to learn it. But at the same time it’s sport that can be fun and accessible to almost anyone as long as you follow a few guidelines and tips.
1. Find the Right Type of Beach
The most important thing to remember if you want to learn to surf is to paddle out in the right conditions.
If you are just starting out, find a beach that is sheltered with a sandy bottom. A sheltered beach typically has less wind and less swell coming through. If you are just learning, you are going to fall and you don’t want to be falling on rocks or reef.
2. Find the Right Size Wave
The second rule, and probably the most important rule, is to paddle out on a very small day.
I know a lot of people who start surfing and then get one scare on too big of a day and they are done with the sport. That’s one of the great parts of rock climbing is that almost all routes are rated so you know the level of each climb. Surfing is a little more dynamic and unpredictable than rock climbing, though.
Surfline and Magic Seaweed (we personally like MSW better when we are outside of North America) do a great job predicting and reporting current conditions, but it’s still the ocean and you never know what surprises Poseidon will stir up.
3. Be a Strong Swimmer
Another important rule when learning is to develop your paddling skills first.
Just like how losing weight is more about developing good habits of juicing and eating well-sourced meat before limiting grains and dairy, surfing is first about developing comfort in the water and becoming a strong swimmer before actually standing on a wave.
The stoke of surfing is not instantaneous. It takes some beatings from the ocean but eventually with enough persistence and determination, that stoke WILL come.
And trust me, once you catch the surfing bug, you’re hooked. It takes hold of you and there’s no other option than to give your soul over to it all and enjoy the ride.