If you have often felt amazed while admiring those who ride the waves practicing the wonderful sport of surf, stop dreaming: it is time to grab the board and start to learn. Mastering the surf technique will give you unknown freedom and pleasure, and will encourage you to enjoy a different way of travelling, while visiting far away beaches. Learning to surf is a great decision that will make you enjoy outdoors and get fit. So what are you waiting for?
Choosing the board
Probably the best advice for you to start is joining a surf academy or attending some classes. The experts correct your mistakes and give you the best training while you will enter the fascinating world of surf through the best professionals. But if you are a lone wolf, then note down these advice; they will be of a great help. Start choosing the right board; go to a specialized shop and tell the attendant that you intend to start surfing. He or she will be the best advisor. Do not choose the cheapest boards; you’d better learn on a good base (quite literally).
The best thing to do is learning on a longboard measuring 7,1-8 feet. The great buoyancy of these boards is great to learn how to stand on them rapidly and so enjoy from the first day. Their big size makes them easy to carry by the smallest waves so you’ll stand on the board for longer. Short boards need forceful waves or a better position technique; you’d better go for them later.
Now, let’s go to the beach! When learning to surf is best to go to quite beaches, with fewer surfers and easy waves (1-3 ft). If you look for a place with a longer breaking area (foam) you will stand on the board for longer and will improve your technique. Concentrate in a short and quite section and forget the rest: though you might not be feeling like the ones in ‘Big Wednesday’, this will be the starting point of your glory days. Once at the seashore, the following step is learning to row on your board. This technique will let you reach the waves you want to catch. Put the board under your arm and enter the sea; when the water reaches your waistline, lean on the table so half your body is in contact with the board and search for the right balance. When you feel that the board offers little resistance against the water you will have found the right place. Move your body so you adapt to your rowing movements: push through the water with crawl strokes, hands cupping.
When you master the rowing technique it will still be a bit early to stand up and surf like the best. In fact, you will catch your first waves leaning on your board. Go to a place of white waters (waves in shallow waters, so called because of the white foam they create when breaking) and try to be ‘caught’ by the waves and carried to the shore. When you accomplish this you will already be surfing! This is the first step for your riding the waves. You will have to spend hours getting used to this technique, so be patient. When you master it, start rowing (as you have been taught) and look for non-stopping waves. There you will train the astride position on your board, near the desired moment of standing up… Position in front of the wave and when it comes to you, turn the board’s nose backwards to get in the wave’s way and let it carry you.
The following step when learning to surf is standing up. It is better to train at the beach, on the sand, where you will decide which foot will go forwards in the crucial moment. The movement to stand up is a quick jump: lying on the board, grab it with your hands, bend your knees and pull. This movement is called ‘pop-up’ and requires hours of training on the sand before going for the waves.
These are roughly the basic principles when learning to surf. If you like it and have enough time, you will progress rapidly and fall in love with this amazing sport. Be careful: surf is addictive and will have you hooked… You will long for the waves 24 hours a day!