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Essential Safety and Skill Tips for Beginner Surfers

Essential Safety and Skill Tips for Beginner Surfers

Surfing is an exceptionally fun and rewarding sport or leisure activity for beach and water lovers. But it’s also exceptionally challenging, and like other sports, there are certain dangers to be aware of. To be safe and successful, you’ll need to make a serious effort to learn proper techniques and best practices, and you’ll have to commit to lots of patient, determined practice. And the below tips for beginner surfers are all important to be familiar with from the start.

Advice for Novice Surfers

  • Look into surfing locations and current surf conditions before heading out into the water; stick to beginner-friendly locales and conditions
  • Practice surfing where there are few other surfers around to have more space and access to waves (plus more crowded spots probably have more challenging surf conditions)
  • Go out with an experienced surfer whenever possible; never go out alone as a novice
  • You will get hit by your surfboard, and you’ll be spending a lot of time lying and sitting on it; start with a soft-top board
  • Start with a large surfboard, too; it’s much easier to get the hang of the mechanics on an ample board surface
  • Stretch before surfing
  • Warm up and become more accustomed to the motions of popping up on your surfboard by practicing it a few times on the beach before hitting the waves
  • Spend some time watching the surf conditions and what any other surfers are doing before hitting the water
  • Find the right spot to lie down and paddle from and mark it on your board; lots of beginners paddle too far back, causing the front of the board to rise out of the water, or they paddle too far forward and cause the front to dip into the water
  • Paddle out by passing perpendicularly through whitewash, with your body low to the board; otherwise, the tide works against you, pushing you back toward shore
  • Alternate arms when paddling; don’t paddle with both arms in sync
  • Focus on paddling with power, efficiency, and steady rhythm; it takes practice, and it can be tough if you’re not in good shape
  • Don’t pop up too high or to a straight standing position, or you’ll fall; think more along the lines of a sumo wrestling position
  • When you’re up on your feet, bend at the knees; never hunch your back
  • You’re going to fall—a lot—but fall flat onto your stomach; don’t try to jump or dive off the board, land in the water feet first, fall backwards, or fall onto your side
  • When you fall and when surfacing after, protect your head and face with your arms in case your board comes at you

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