Do you know how to surf? Guide for beginners
How to surf is something that we all want to learn, it is not easy, but all learning requires practice.
Surfing is a unique experience that makes you love it all your life. Surfing is considered more than a sport; it is more a way of life. It is the sensation of the foam on the face and the enthusiasm of the speed with which we slide through the waves.
As always, we will recommend that to learn the first thing you will need is to have contact with professional instructors. And veteran surfers are essential at the time of starting an excellent start to learn surfing.
- 1 How to surf: types of surf
- 2 Basic principles to learn how to surf
- 3 How to surf and paddle the waves
- 4 How to surf: what is the Diving Duck?
- 5 How to surf and take a sound wave
- 6 How to surf and stand up while on the wave
- 7 How to surf: Materials needed to surf
- 8 How to Surf: Parts of a Surfboard
- 9 How to surf and care for your surfboard
- 10 How to surf alone: Surf maneuvers
- 11 Conclusion
How to surf: types of surf
About the size of the waves, we can talk about surfing large waves, from 2 meters high. If we talk about the size of the surfboard we can differentiate between:
Shortboard surf, between 1.50 and 2.10 meters, the narrower and thinner the boards, the better maneuverability they bring but less speed.
Longboard or Board
Longboard or plank is the classic style of surfing. They are boards of 2.75 meters and up and are broader and thicker than shortboards. The maneuvers are softer than a traditional board. Moreover, it is best to use if you want to know how to surf, but they are faster boards.
But if you want to learn how to surf you must also know some subtypes:
Funboard stable or Mini Malibú
It has an intermediate size, and that allows you to perform risky maneuvers. Fish Thruster of 1.90 meters and that is valid for big and small waves.
Ideal foam board for learning young children.
This table is a smaller and more manageable table than a Mini Malibu. Its measurements range between 2.18 and 2.10 meters.
It is a Thruster, but longer and sharper, ideal if you want to know how to surf in big, hollow waves.
Thruster or Surfboard
A board with three keels, which will give you better lateral resistance, more radical maneuvers, and more traction.
A particular model for children from 6 to 12 years old that wants to know how to surf. It has the round tip to avoid injuries and blows.
From these fundamental differences have emerged different modalities, each of them with its attractiveness, how are you:
Boogie Board or corchopán
With a very light and short foam board in which you surf with fins and lying down. It is a common model because of its low cost, it’s almost nil danger and why it is entertaining because it allows us to do many maneuvers.
Shortboard in which you surf on your knees and fins.
It goes standing up and helped by a shovel. It’s more for walking than for gliding through the waves.
A modality in which a jet ski drives one, normally to surf big waves. For safety, the jet ski is faster than the board with some straps so if you want to know how to surf we do not recommend this as the first table.
In this modality, you use the force of the wind to slide through the sea with the help of a sail.
It is a small board driven by a kite.
Basic principles to learn how to surf
Choosing the right spot to learn how to surf is one of the essential aspects since not all beaches or waves are the same. Therefore, to learn to surf, it is vital to hit the beach where we are going to start.
The way the waves break varies enormously, and if we try to learn surfing in a poorly chosen spot, this could slow down the learning process, and we can even endanger our integrity by unintentionally becoming a hindrance to the rest of the surfers who are in the Water.
You must avoid big breaks, coral barriers, and huge waves that break into very strong and hollow beaches. It is advisable to start learning to surf on a beach where the waves break smoothly and do not exceed one meter in height. Remember that you are beginning to learn how to surf and that it is only the first step.
The time will come for you to perform feats on high waves. If you choose a small space on a quiet beach, it will be much easier to learn surfing.
How to surf and paddle the waves
Once you have your board and have chosen the right spot, without crowds, the next step is to learn how to paddle. It is a significant point of departure, an essential element when it comes to surfing and that we have to master little by little, training our body for it.
The paddle should start in small waves and if possible paddle when the sea is calm, and there are no waves. It is best to walk with the board until the water reaches the waist, and then lean over the surfboard, posing the body on the deck.
In a shortboard, you should keep the weight centered in the middle of the table. The trick is to find the optimal adjustment position so that the board offers less resistance when rowing. Once you get the board to slide through the water with ease you will have found the ideal balance, so you will have to adapt to that position.
Start with freestyle, cupping hands to paddle, lifting the chest to reduce weight at the front of the board. Once you learn to balance both arms, head, and legs, you can now row towards the line in search of the first waves.
How to surf: what is the Diving Duck?
It is the technique that allows you to pass under the waves that are breaking, instead of receiving the blows of each wave and being dragged by them. It applies to short, small and light boards and does not apply to longboards.
The technique consists in trying to gain all possible speed in the rowing when approaching the wave and when the foam of the wave approaches.
So, you need to grab the edges of the board halfway between the nose and the middle point of the board. And, to know how to surf you need to push with all the weight of the body on the hands and arms until you feel that the nose begins to pass underneath.
Just point your head down and let the body follow you. When the body is just below the surface, we will twist your leg to the front and use your knee to push the extremity under the wave.
That impulse must press below the wave that passes quickly, and it is only necessary to be underwater for a short time. As the stream passes, the board will return us to the surface.
How to surf and take a sound wave
It’s the best part, of course, what makes us want to learn surfing. But you have to know how to surf well, without disturbing other surfers. Firstly, it is better to catch some waves that break in shallower white waters instead of paddling towards the back on the top line.
In this stage, you need to control the adjustment and rowing position, and you cannot place the front, nor the back on the table. Before attempting to stand up, we must control that sliding sensation so that we know how the board behaves concerning the strength of the wave.
When you can capture waves in whitewater, the time has come to use those skills to grow and exit the line to catch the continuous waves. This moment is a great moment in surfing learning.
Once in the lineup, beyond where the waves break, we have to know how to stay seated on the board and concentrate on looking towards the sea until we can catch a wave.
Another thing that we must practice is to turn the tip of the board to the left or right so that we can quickly switch to catch a wave that approaches. It’s time to choose a wave and direct the board to the beach and start rowing.
When feeling the wave, we must row as hard as we can and tilt the body forward but raising the chest so that the weight is just above the center of the board.
The natural propensity is to slim back to avoid the noise from passing underwater, but that will only slow down the impulse that is not conducive to catching waves. The time has come to slide down into the wave and glide on it.
How to surf and stand up while on the wave
It is the critical maneuver of surfing. It may seem very easy, but to stand on the surfboard once it is in motion, sliding, and increasing speed by the water that drags it, is not easy.
You have to rise simultaneously from an upside-down position while the weight and discharge are unbalanced from left to right. This moment is when you discover the amount of practice necessary to get up. The starting point is to practice standing in the sand on the beach.
Firstly, you need to know how to surf and which foot will be the one that will go ahead if the left one or the one right if you are goofy or regular. You will know what your foot merely is by doing a simple test: you must stand with your feet together, and you’re back straight, close your eyes and ask a friend to push gently from behind.
The foot that goes forward to stabilize is the lead foot. That should be your position on the table. The movement to stand up is called “pop-up,” and it is merely a quick jump of the feet that we have to practice a lot in the sand before testing it in the water, always in calm waters with soft waves until we have mastered it.
The process is as follows; we paddle towards the wave and, when we feel the speed increasing, we jump with our hands holding each song firmly and push up quickly as we extend our arms and pull the knees towards the chest.
Make sure to keep the weight centered with a little tilt towards the front and put your feet firmly on the board, with one foot near the tail and one foot just above the midpoint of the board.
Do not get up completely; we must maintain a low center of gravity in squatting, bending the knees and centering the weight at the midpoint of the board. We have to keep our arms outstretched, and our eyes are looking forward to maintaining balance.
How to surf: Materials needed to surf
Here we show you what the essential materials you need to learn surfing are:
Choosing a suitable board is necessary to get off to a good start in surfing and learn how to surf. It is advisable if you are a beginner that you take a thick and longboard, with a round tip, that floats well, and that does not run too much, it will be easier for you to stand up.
As you gain more experience, you can think a better tip. You can also think of a polyvalent that is worth as much for small as medium waves.
The neoprene suit protects you from low temperatures in the sea and bumps and scratches. To choose your costume, you must take into account the temperature of the water on the beach that you are going to surf. In winter they better be long and thick, in short, and thinner summer.
Paraffin helps you to take care of your board and not to slip on it when you are in the water. There are several types of paraffin, and it is also chosen depending on the temperature of the water where you go surfing. The Grip complements it, a kind of rubber that sticks to the board.
There are many more accessories that you will discover little by little, but you already have the basic clues on how to surf.
How to Surf: Parts of a Surfboard
The surfboard is the basic element of this sport, and if you want to learn to surf and be a great surfer, you must know your board perfectly.
We want to show you what the different parts of a surfboard are, how we call them and the function they fulfill in the water.
It is the name that we use in the general form of the table.
It is the curved front part of the board, which has this shape to improve its maneuverability in the water. The curvature of the nose is the rocker, which the more pronounced will make the board more maneuverable but slower, while if it is flat, the board will be faster but less maneuverable.
Leash or invention
It is an elastic rope that holds you together with the board. It is hooked on a plug that goes on the back of the board.
They are the pieces that give stability to the board, the rudders that allow you to make turns. They can be fixed or removable.
It is the back of the board, which is narrower than the nose or front if it is wide is for smooth waves and if it is narrow, for larger waves. If it is rounded the board slides better and if more straight is better to make more extreme maneuvers.
Edge or Rail
Its shape also determines the properties of the table and help you how to surf. For example, if you round the edges, the table will be more stable, and if they are curved, it will be more maneuverable.
Bottom or Bottom
It is at the bottom of the table. The normal thing is that it is concave to facilitate the slide and it is a factor that will determine many times if a board is really good for surfing.
How to surf and care for your surfboard
Your surfboard is your best companion, and as such, you should take care of it so that it is in perfect condition when you go to the sea to catch waves. Despite what may seem surfboards are fragile and therefore require that we treat them delicately.
In this way, we can enjoy it for a long time. For that, we want to give you a series of tips so that your board is always in optimal conditions for surfing:
- When you do not use the board, try to have it inside a sheath that is an element that protects you from the friction and small blows that will inevitably take to move it.
- When you get out of the water, it is advisable that you remove the salt from the seawater with a soak of freshwater.
- You have to carry the table properly. If you are driving, take it firmly tied in the correct position and preferably on the roof of the vehicle.
- Do not carry it inside without ensuring, since a sudden braking or an unexpected circumstance on the road can cause you an upset.
- Do not leave your board out in the open or inside your car in full sun for a long time. If you have to do it, always use a cover or just cover it with towels.
- The boards are very sensitive to sunlight: it can affect its resistance. Lose its color and even melt certain parts of the board with a very long heat.
- You must store your table horizontally. Preferably on a suitable shelf and in a cool, dry place in your house or garage. If you do not want to buy a commercial shelf, on the internet, you will find tutorials to make your shelf to leave your table safely.
- Never leave it upright against a wall, as the boards are unstable and any blow can be fatal.
- Clean the board with a commercial cleaner and a suitable brush. In this way, you will find your table in perfect condition when you decide to use it again.
- Check your table to locate small fissures or streaks of some importance. If you see any damage, take it to be repaired by a professional. Even if the stroke is minimal, your board may suffer long-term consequences. As the inside of the board is delicate and may be affected by humidity, and prevention is better than cure.
- You do not want to save a few euros by repairing it yourself if you do not know how to do it well.
How to surf alone: Surf maneuvers
We always talk about how to surf maneuvers like wipe-outs or bottom-turns. And I’m sure there are those who do not master this terminology. Well to solve this we wanted to collect and explain a little the most common term. When we talk about surfing maneuvers so you can learn surfing only:
In itself, it is not a maneuver, but a fall. It is when you lose control of the table, and you cannot avoid falling. Eye with the bottom, that if it’s rocky, you can do a lot of damage.
This is the basic movement and consists in stopping rowing and standing on the board. Just when you feel that the wave is already pushing you how to surf.
It is the first turn that takes place after the takeoff. And serves to surf the wall of the wave and make the most of it without the impulse taking us to the shore.
There are two ways to do it: forehand bottom turn and backhand bottom turn. The difference is that the backhand is back to the wave.
A cut back is a surfing maneuver that consists in making a 180º turn after having escaped from the surf. To come back to it.
It is floating above the lip of the wave or on the foam of a wave that has just broken.
It is to travel inside a wave when it is breaking into a tube. It is possibly the best-known of how to surf maneuver and also the most photographed due to its spectacular nature.
Another spectacular maneuver that consists of taking advantage of the speed. To slide through the wall of the wave and jump over it, as if it were a skate ramp. It helps you how to surf.
Off the lip
In this maneuver, we face the wall of the wave that is about to break. We bounce against it and take part of the board out of the wave.
Also called Hang Ten. It is a maneuver inherited from the longboard. And you can do it, placing yourself on the front of the board with your toes out of the board.
It is a very difficult maneuver, which consists of getting the board one turn laterally under your feet while jumping.
It was like the cutback but executed more abruptly and with a smaller radius in turn.
It is to slide the tail of the surfboard over the top of the wave.
As we established at the very first moment, it is always advisable to start the experience of how to surf with surf lessons in a surf camp.
It is the way to start on the right foot, and jump steps towards the domain of the waves helped by the expert hands of professional monitors. Who will advise you at every step you take, and that will solve all your doubts.