Surfing for Beginners - Tips and Tricks

Surfer holding surfboard in water at beach

Surfing is an amazing way to enjoy the beauty and energy of the ocean. While there is nothing quite like catching a wave, it can be a little intimidating first starting out. Here are 7 tips and tricks to help you have fun and stay safe.

1.) Pick the right surfboard.

Larger, soft-top or foam surfboards are an ideal choice for beginning surfers. Their soft deck, high buoyancy, and rounded rails make catching waves easier. You are also much less likely to injure yourself or those around you while learning. They are extremely durable and can handle the love and abuse of many hours practicing in the surf. 

2.) Surf a beginner beach.

Going to an appropriate beach for beginner surfers is important for your development and a great way to have more fun! Look for beginner-friendly beaches that are slightly off the beaten path with steady, consistent waves. Less crowded surf spots will allow you to take your time and catch more waves without the stress and worry of crashing into other surfers.

3.) Pre-surf warm-up.

Spend about 5 –10 minutes stretching your muscles and tendons before you hit the waves. Low-impact, stretch-focused warm-ups are an important part of a surfing routine. They will decrease the chances of muscle cramps and fatigue in the water. As well, warm-ups are a great way increase your agility and flexibility on your board.

4.) Practice on small waves.

For a beginner, there is no better place to learn than where you feel safe and comfortable. While it might be tempting to try and surf larger waves right away, take your time and focus on becoming proficient with smaller waves. The perfect size waves for beginners are usually between 1.5 – 3 feet. Surfing smaller
waves will increase your skills as well as your confidence in the water.

5.) Find your sweet spot.

While paddling, you want to make sure the tip of your surfboard isn't submerging under water or pointing to the sky. Your board should be parallel with the surface of the water. The “sweet spot” is where you are balanced on your board and you have the least amount of drag slowing you down. You can mark it with some wax and be sure to paddle in that position.

6.) Fall safely.

A lot of learning how to surf is inevitably falling off the board. The best way to stay safe while falling is to try and land on your side or back. Never dive headfirst or jump off your board. Always put your arms and hands in front of your face and over your head. This helps protect you from being struck by your surfboard or even someone else’s.

7.) Share the adventure.

Although surfing alone can be incredibly peaceful and rewarding, there is nothing quite like sharing new adventures with your friends! Making memories and learning together with your buddies can be one of the most enjoyable parts of the surfing experience. Likewise, especially when you are first learning, surfing with someone you know and trust is also much safer. There is a tremendous benefit of having a friend looking out for your safety in the water.