A Beginners Guide to Surfing

Whether you just moved to the coast or visit frequently, you may want to learn to surf. Now you don’t have to ride huge waves for miles at a time to enjoy surfing. You can enjoy surfing at just about any skill level, and get the most out of your visit to the beach.

Surf Lesson

Not Your Brother’s Boogie Board

Those boogie boards are great for helping to support your weight as you explore the surf, but to truly learn to ride waves, you need a surf board. Sorry, there aren’t any surf boards with training wheels, but there are plenty of different styles to choose from to help you learn to balance and steer.

Performance Boards

Performance boards are actually designed for the more advanced surfer. They are designed to make quick turns and do tricks in the water. They usually are not as stable as the wider beginner boards. If you tried surfing on a friend’s board, and had no success, you may have been on a performance board. Instead, try again with a fun shapes board.

Fun Shapes Board

This isn’t the funny little boogie boards with pictures of Spongebob. A Fun Shape board looks like a regular surfboard. But there are some significant differences between the Fun Shapes and a performance board.
Fun shapes are usually shorter, at 7’2” to 7’10”. They are also narrow enough for you to lie on and still reach the water so you can paddle out into the waves comfortable, but they’re wide enough to be easy to balance on. Usually, you’ll find them to be a little over 21” wide. Generally, a longer board will be more stable.

Long Boards

You can, however, get a board that is too long. Sure, long boards are stable, but they are usually really hard to turn. Some intermediate or advanced surfers may like long boards because they’re great for riding really big waves, but for the beginner, they’re more like driving an old truck with standard transmission and no power steering. These are usually about 8’ or more in length.

Short Boards

Short boards are the Ferraris of surfing. They turn easily and quickly, and can be very fast. This makes them hard to learn on, because they quickly will scoot out from under you.

Build Skills

Beginning surfers have a lot to learn besides balance. It takes a lot of physical strength and endurance to be a surfer. If you’ll start with a fun shapes board, you have a stable board that you can steer. It will develop all of your skills, where if you learn on a long board, you won’t learn to steer as quickly. If you learn on a short board, you may get too tired and can’t keep going. Endurance is a big thing for surfers. Once you build up your strength, you can move to a long board for those big waves, and you can enjoy popping around in the surf on a short board.

Ed Brooke enjoys his watersports, when he isn’t riding the waves or traveling you can usually find him working for his local surf shop.

Citations: Image by Mike Baird

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