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Phuket Surf School


 

A quick learn to surf guide
for newcomers to the sport/lifestyle/obsession of surfing




'It's like the mafia. Once you're in - you're in. There's no getting out.'
- Kelly Slater



Learn to Surf Instructions- The Art of Surf Boarding

Surfing

women's guide to surfing
Sister Surfer : A Woman's Guide to Surfing with Bliss and Courage
“SISTER SURFER does a great job of both explaining how to surf board and breaking down the barriers that prevent women from experiencing the sport. A great read that will surely empower and motivate surfers of every level and ability.”

Surfing like many action sports is addictive, once you get the feeling of being in the ocean and it is you and nature playing together...You are hooked!

Excitement, fear, relaxation, meditation, being one with nature, pure fun are all part of the addiction to surfing.

Surfing is a lifestyle of being one with nature and the ocean. After 35 years paddling out, I still am never bored and am still learning. It's difficult to explain here how surfing makes you feel, a surf term that is used all the time is 'stoke' when you are hooked, you dream, and in waking hours, daydream about the stoke of surfing.

Really though the secret to learning to surf is feel and flow and to never hesitate, once you are in the water, don't think too much, enjoy the amazing environment you are in and go for it. Hesitating can also lead to serious errors and injuries. But we will talk more about that later.


Where to learn to surf

The right waves for learning to surf

In general, a surf boarding beginner wants to find a break with waves that look crumbly and slow. Try to find small waves and a sandy beach; you'll be walking around a lot. Don't paddle into a crowded break; you'll likely be a hazard.

Don't surf alone either; there will be nobody to help if you're in trouble. Surf where there are people present but not right on top of them where you'll be in the way.

Ask around for good beginner surf breaks when you're shopping around for your surfing equipment. Most shop proprietors will be happy to assist, especially if you're making a purchase.

You could also look for surf schools giving surfing lessons. Where they are teaching others is probably a place that has good beginner waves. Or get your first lesson with a surf school and they will teach you what are good waves for learning and many other important tips that will take you a long time to learn by trial and error.

To find the right break for you to learn on. Phuket has become known as a place with gentle and easy waves, which are ideal for learning to surf. Learn to surf in Phuket

The Surfing Phuket beaches pages on this web site have detailed information on the surf conditions in Phuket. For other locations go to surfing in Thailand.

Websites like Global surfers also have plenty of information for surfing destinations all over the world. You could also check out some of the beach cams in your area to see if the waves are suitable for surfing beginners.

beginner surf break

Here are some tips on reading the surf and rip currents

Read about how to catch and ride your first wave


guide to learning to surf
The Complete Guide to Surfing

learn to surf books

Pre-Surf Preparation

It's always a bad idea to just paddle out into the waves without first getting a good idea of what the conditions are like.

In December, 1978, a young surfer did just that at The Farm in Australia, paddling out into what he thought was head-high surf when it was twice that size and getting bigger, an hour of being thrashed around paddling aimlessly into oncoming walls of whitewater the surfer was exhausted and lay on the beach for another hour just getting his breath back.

Oh yeah....that young surfer was me.......I quickly learnt my lesson though, and these days I always sit watching the surf, channels and rips to work out where the best spot is to surf and paddle out.

Watch the waves for at least twice as many minutes as the waves are high on the face in feet. On a waist high day, that means watching for about 5 or 6 minutes. On a double-overhead day, that means watching for about 20 minutes. You should watch long enough to see at least 2 lots of set waves roll in.

Get a feel for where everyone is sitting in the water, where the waves are breaking, and where they're not breaking. Look for rip currents, rocks and hazards. Watch a few larger set waves roll through. Think about where you can paddle out into the surf, and where you can swim in if you get into trouble.

Also, take some time while watching the waves to stretch. Focus on your neck, shoulders, triceps, back, and legs. Swing your arms and get your pulse going. Get into a calm state of mind.

Put some sunscreen on your face and some wax on your board and get out there!

 

Here are some tips on Stretching exercises before you go surfing


Paddling and Laying on Your Surfboard

Paddling a surfboard is one of the most essential skills for surfing. It is what you will be doing most of the time in the water. It is what gives you your fitness and what makes you tired. Paddling correctly will help you catch waves and progress in surfing better, quicker.

Read more about how to paddle on a surfboard


Goofy or Natural Foot?

Before you get on your surfboard, or put on your surf leash you need to know whether you are Goofy or Natural foot. This means which foot you put at the front of your surfboard.

Simply put
Goofy footed- right foot at the front
Natural footed- left foot at the front

Here are some tests:

The linoleum slide test -- wear socks and run and slide across the kitchen floor. Which foot is first? Plant it front on your board.

The push test -- have someone push you (gently) from behind. Which foot goes forward. That is your front foot.

The stair test -- which foot leads on stairs, down? Front foot.

Bike test -- When you ride a bike and coast, which foot leads on fast downhills? Front foot on board.

The best way to figure this out is to try riding a skateboard; your back leg while skateboarding is the same as while surfing.

Really the tests above are for people who really can't work out which foot to put forward. Most people when practicing to stand up on a surfboard, just do it. I will say once again, if you think too much you will fall, just do it!

Read about How to 'pop up' stand up on a surfboard


Your First Surf Boarding Waves - Whitewater Waves

By now you have found a good place to learn to surf and have gotten used to paddling around on the board without falling off. The next step is to catch and ride your first surfing waves.

Read about how to ride your first whitewater wave

Read About how to fall off your surfboard


Surfing Real Waves - Green Waves

Now that you've mastered the whitewater foamies and are well-versed in the rules of surfing, you're ready to catch some real waves.

The idea is similar to catching the whitewater. Start paddling early as the wave approaches. You should be reaching full speed as the wave comes underneath you and lifts you up, this is the time to give those last few power strokes. The time to stand is when the board starts to plane on the surface of the water, as you are sliding down the face of the wave.

There is a moment where there is the feeling of weightlessness as the board starts to drop down the face, this is the time to stand up.

Standing to early, you probably will fade off the back of the wave, standing to late you run the risk of pearling/nose diving or if you do get up the momentum you had going down the face has gone and the wave will probably outrun you.

now you're surfing
Now you're really surfing!

Read about how to ride your first green wave

Now you're ready to do some turns and maneuvers

 

Practice, watch others, ask for advice, and check back here for more updates to the page.


The Rules of Surfing

Become familiar with these rules of surfing behavior in the lineup before heading outside of the whitewater.

These are well- established rules throughout the world and bring order to what would otherwise be a nightmarish and chaotic sport, with everyone running each other over, lots of dinged-up boards, and lots of waves going by unridden because everyone is getting thrashed in the soup.

Read more about the rules of surfing and surf etiquette


How to Duck Dive

Duck diving

correctly is an essential techniquie for surfing. Duck diving allows you to get through/under the waves with the least amount of energy and also gets you out the back of the waves quickly.

Learning to duck dive takes a lot of practice it is not as easy as it looks. If you don't duck dive correctly the wave will push you back and you will probably lose your board. The worst scenario, on bigger waves, is that the wave will pick you up and suck you over the falls inside the wave! This is not a pleasant experience! But we've all been there!

 

Read more about the steps on how to do a duck dive and a turtle roll



Your First Surfboard

When you learn to surf there are many different types of surfboards to choose from, and for a beginner the features and characteristics can seem confusing.

The best surfboard for a beginner is a funboard or an egg, which is a fairly wide and thick board from 7' to 8' in length, typically having a blunt or rounded nose. A good rule of thumb is to get something 14" longer than you are tall, and at least 20" wide.

read more about which surfboard is suited for learning to surf


Your First Wetsuit

Far and away the single most important thing to look for when purchasing a new wetsuit is how it fits.

Shop around as much as you can. Make sure the suit has a comfortable feel. All suits will be tight by design but it shouldn't be totally restrictive of motion.

 

Read more about choosing a wetsuit or a lycra rash vest


Other Accessories

Surfboard Leashes

The leash is a cord of polyurethane that straps around the ankle of a surfer and is attached to the surfboard. Attach it to your back leg. Never tug on the leash when your board is being held under as the board can come snapping back at you. Practice removing it quickly in case it gets caught on a rock or pier piling.

Most leashes have a quick release tab, a large piece of webbibing that is easy to grab onto and pull. Treat your surfboard as if it was not attached, doing conservative exits and hanging onto it at all times.

 

Read more about surf leashes-legropes-the parts and how to choose a surfboard leash



Surf Wax / Traction Pads / Deck Grips

Something to keep your feet on the board once you learn to stand up.

Surfboard Wax

Wax goes on the deck (top) of the board. Usually comes in two coats, a base coat which goes directly onto the deck in a thin layer and is quite hard, and then a sticky coat over that which beads up to provide traction.

Traction Pads / Deck Grips

These are expensive traction pads that provide some extra grip as well as padding for the deck of the board. They can limit the movement of the feet and can result in discomfort to the chest and stomach while paddling.

Tail patches are grip specially designed for the rear of the board, and provide good traction for the rear foot needed in most turns on a shortboard.

 

Read more about how to use and apply surfboard wax and traction pads


Surfboard Fins

Read about Surfboard Fin Selection Tips from FCS


Other Resources

Some other useful resources, opinions and tips for the beginning surfer on how to surf board.

 Forum - questions and answers on learning to surf

Surfing turns and maneuvers

Learn to surf books and DVDs


How to ride a bodyboard


Learn to surf with Merrick Davis in Noosa, Australia

Surf Fitness (great tips on keeping surf fit)

learn to surf surfing lessons in Phuket

RSS Feed
Learn to surf Forum


Some of the above content on this page is from
Santa Barbara Surfing, an open content site.
Created by Tim Maddux, courtesy of UCSB, CoE, ME, and CS.
and has been updated and in many parts re-written by Saltwater Dreaming.

Other FAQs

How to fix your surfboard

How to spray paint your surfboard

 

How to forecast the surf

How to ride a body board

 


Where can I find Learn to Surf Books & DVDs?

 

 

All About Surfing::Saltwater Dreaming::

mailing/postal address

Saltwater Dreaming
108/3 moo 3
Cheongthalay, Thalang
Phuket 83110
Tel: +66 76 271050
Fax: +66 76 325629
URL: www.saltwater-dreaming.com

Surf Shop (location map)
Surin Beach, Phuket, Thailand


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