Where to Learn Surfing
The right waves for learning to surf
In general, a beginner wants to find a break with waves that look crumbly and slow. Try to find small waves and a sandy beach, it means that you'll be walking around a lot, but that's OK.
Don't paddle out into big waves, find those small waves that you can walk out to with not a lot of effort. If the waves are pushing you around and are crashing down a bit further off the beach, they are too big. Essentially you want manageable white water waves (waves already broken) rolling into the beach.
Don't paddle into a crowded break, as you'll most likely be a hazard to other surfers.
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 buying something.
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.
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 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 surfingTo find the right break for you to learn on. This web site has detailed information on the surf conditions in Phuket. For other locations go to Websites like Global surfers which 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
Read about how to catch and ride your first wave