'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 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.
to learn to surf
The right waves for learning
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
Phuket beaches pages on this web site have detailed information
on the surf conditions in Phuket. For other locations go to
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.
Here are some tips
on reading the surf and rip currents
to catch and ride your first wave
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
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
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,
Read more about how
to paddle on a surfboard
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.
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?
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!
How to 'pop up' stand up on a surfboard
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.
to ride your first whitewater wave
to fall off your surfboard
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 really surfing!
to ride your first green wave
Now you're ready
to do some turns
Practice, watch others,
ask for advice, and check back here for more updates to
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
Read more about the
of surfing and surf etiquette
How to Duck Dive
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
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
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"
more about which
surfboard is suited for learning to surf
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
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
leashes-legropes-the parts and how to choose a surfboard
Surf Wax / Traction Pads / Deck Grips
Something to keep your feet on the
board once you learn to stand up.
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 Pads /
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
Read about Surfboard
Fin Selection Tips from FCS
Some other useful resources,
opinions and tips for the beginning surfer on how to surf
- questions and answers on learning to surf
turns and maneuvers
Learn to surf books and DVDs
How to ride a bodyboard
to surf with Merrick Davis in Noosa,
Fitness (great tips on keeping surf
learn to surf
surfing lessons in Phuket
to surf Forum
of the above content on this page is from
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