So you’ve been practicing in the water park wave pool, and you now think you have what it takes to head out to the ocean? Whether you want to work your way up to some gnarly waves, or you just want to have fun on a surf vacation with your friends, there are a few things that every new surfer should keep in mind before heading out for the first time. Keep reading to find out more.
It’s a Kick Ass Workout
If surfing were as easy as it looks, everyone would be doing it. And whilst the sport is a lot of fun, it’s also going to provide you with a totally kick ass workout. So, if you’re not currently very fit, you might want to do something about it before you hit the waves. From fast paddling, to the basic pop-up, you’ll need balance, co-ordination, and endurance to succeed in the sea. That said, once you have these three, the thrill of catching a wave just cannot be compared to anything else.
You’ll Need Some Gear
If you’re heading to a vacation spot where surfing is popular (think Kuta in Bali, or Cornwall in England), it’s likely that there will be a variety of surf shops in the region that are happy to rent gear to you. Most will offer wetsuits and boards at the very least. However, if this isn’t an option, you’ll need to invest. As a beginner, look to buy a board that is wider and thicker than the average – this will give you more stability on the waves. Remember too, that short boards are better for quick maneuvers, whilst long boards will make it easier for you to paddle and catch waves. Depending on the water temperature, you may also want to invest in a wetsuit.
Surfing in a wave park is totally different to surfing in the sea, so if you have the option to take a lesson or two, you’ll find it’s well worth the money. An instructor will teach you the fundamentals, and will help you to catch your first wave. A quality instructor will most likely start the lesson off on the sand before moving you to the sea.
It’s Important to Warm Up
Surfing is like any other form of exercise in that it’s important to perform a warm up before you get started. Start off with some dynamic stretching, and throw in some deep squats to get your knees warmed up and ready. Follow this with a 5-10 minute jog along the beach to get the rest of your body warmed up. You’ll also want to do a short cool down following your surf session, which again should consist of some stretches and a slow jog.
Whilst an encounter with Jaws is pretty unlikely, it’s still important to keep safety in mind when out in the sea. Pay attention to currents, weather conditions, and the geography of reefs or underwater wrecks. You also want to make sure you fully understand the main surfing maneuvers, and know how to surface safely after coming off your board. It’s always advisable to be a strong swimmer before heading out into the sea.
Surf etiquette is a real thing, and it’s something we have already covered on Extreme Sports X. Watch where you’re paddling, avoid dropping in, and don’t cut in front of any other surfers. The majority of surfing etiquette is common sense, but it’s important to keep in mind to avoid any falling’s out or bust ups that really could have been avoided.
Finally, try and keep a positive mind whilst out in the sea. Although surfing might look easy, it isn’t, and it will take a bit of practice before you catch your first wave. However once you do, you will experience the thrill that every surfer talks about, and you’ll instantly want to go back for more. With time, you will improve your upper body strength, and you will know how to time a wave. The more you practice, the better you’ll get, and the more fun you’ll have!
Creative Commons photo by Aaron Levisohn