Have you started surfing? Then you will have probably noticed that it is not as easy as you first thought… These advices will help you capitalize your hours on the waves, and if your read them carefully you will have learned the theory when you get to the beach.
1. Learn with professionals
You will improve your technique rapidly if you attend some classes: professional teachers will correct your errors and tell you which board to choose, what places are the best to start and the right way to crawl and stand up.
2. Choose the suit
Though it might seem unimportant, the clothes you wear when surfing are basic to keep your body temperature stable and avoid rashes. If you surf in warm waters it could be enough to wear a pair of body shorts and a rash guard – these will prevent irritation from the sun and wax. If the water temperatures change with the seasons, get different garments: a vest, a long-sleeved jacket and a head-to-toe wetsuit, all of them made of neoprene. The thickness will depend on the average water temperature – ask the store manager.
3. Go for the surfboard
When talking of surfboards, the two factors that most effect handling and durability are size and construction. Size is the most important one, in fact. The surfer’s height must be directly related with the surfboard size: the higher the surfer, the bigger the board. Beginners will best go for longboards, more stable than the short ones. About the construction, softboards (made of polyurethane foam) are usually the first choice when learning to surf. But if you are a fast learner, maybe you could go with an epoxy board made of a foam core encased in epoxy resin. You can find them in surfing and sport stores.
4. Applying the wax
Surf wax is most important if you want to keep your balance when standing on the board. The kind of wax you use depends mostly on water temperatures: it can be cool or warm. When applying the wax, the board must be perfectly clean. Rub the wax bar on the topside of the board (never under it) making circular movements. Finish the process ‘combing’ the wax with a special tool to improve the grip.
5. Keep fit
Though you are surely craving for riding the waves right away, keep in mind that your body must be fit in order to deal with all the features that surf is going to demand from you. It is highly advisable to attend a gym or do some home training so your arms and legs get strong. Sit-ups, push-ups and squat thrusts are all good choices, and so are arm exercises with hand weights. Don’t forget to train your balance – for instance, you can ‘walk the plank’. Use a gym bench or a piece of lumber 6 in/15 cm high (put it on some bricks). When you can walk it easily, go for a narrower piece or even a broomstick. And if you are not a fan of indoor training, try snowboard or skateboard.