HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO LEARN TO SURF?
While surfing won't push your body to its limits like some other sports, it's not something that can be picked up on day one either. If you do want to surf, there are some things you should keep in mind before you jump in without any preparation.
You can't go surfing every day because the weather will prevent you some days. But if you happen to have a vacation near the beach for a couple of weeks during the summer, that is not the time to pick up surfboarding either.
Just like other sports that you learn, surfing is no different. This could be a dangerous activity if you aren't prepared properly. So if you are planning to rent or buy a board and you have never surfed before, then you may want to do a little more research on surfing.
You want to improve your chances of doing well and then you need the right equipment. Beginners are recommended to start with a foam surfboard instead of a polyurethane surfboard. You have less chance of your foam surfboard turning vertical and going down while you are on it.
You also need a wetsuit that fits perfectly because there are potential hazards wearing ones that are too big and too small. You will become heavier with excessive water if your wetsuit is too big. If your wetsuit is too small then it might be hard to move as much as you need to whether it's while you paddle or going from a sitting position to a standing position.
As with any sport or hobby, you will need to commit yourself and try repeatedly to improve. If you continue to try and ride waves then you will eventually get better. The more time you spend on waves, the more quickly you will discover what to do and get better.
One advantage that most people have if they want to pick up surfing is it will be easy to get started and learn the fundamentals. When you understand what will happen when your surfboard meets the waves and you realize you will be standing on top of that board then you will be ready to start surfing.
Once you have started and you gain experience and have spent time riding small waves then you will be ready to take on bigger waves while learning to become better and understanding the right thing to do when you encounter a big wave but that is another conversation for a different time.
How Long Does It Take to Learn to Surf?
You can't get better without experience. How long will you have to commit before you can experience the fun of surfing?
As with other sports and activities that require participants to learn a skill, some people will learn faster than others. Some people have picked up the basics after a couple of hours. Some people will need to practice for about 30 days before they can surf. If you still have problems after trying for more than 60 days then you might need to learn from somebody who knows how to surf. Otherwise surfing might not be for you.
So where do you start? First, you have to be comfortable standing and laying on your stomach on the surfboard. While it sounds like an easy thing to learn, it could take a few hours for people to be able to do both and feel comfortable doing so.
Once you are comfortable standing and laying on the surfboard then you have to paddle into a wave. This will take longer for people who aren't in shape. Even if you aren't in shape though, it shouldn't take longer than a couple of hours to learn how to paddle.
The last part is the hardest. That is when you go from laying down or sitting down to standing up on the surfboard. You will fall into the water and you will get hit by waves while you are in the water. It will happen many times but this is the hardest part to learn how to do successfully. So don't give up after the first few times because it could take many attempts to do correctly.
If you can do it successfully, it will become second nature. The best advice that can be given is don't give up too quickly if surfing is something you want to do with most of your free time.
You could pay for professional lessons but you won't learn as fast as you would if you went to the beach every day where you had a bunch of free time.
The factor that will decide how quick you are surfing well depends on the time you are willing to practice, your level of natural talent when it comes to water-based athletics, and your conditioning.
One thing that will not play a part in how slow or fast you learn is your age. Someone who is in good shape but approaching senior citizen age will be able to do it sooner than an overweight teenager.
How long does it take to learn to surf? There is no universal answer because while almost anyone could eventually learn, many people are going to have different amounts of time needed to practice before they are surfing well. Usually, in most cases, people learn after practicing somewhere between 5-20 hours.
If you are practicing, you will get better because you will be honing your skills. When you are surfing with other surfers, you will see what works for them and see if those same techniques work for you. It will come down to how bad you want to learn to surf.
One mistake most surfers make in the beginning is where their feet are on the board. Many people stand too far to the back of the board instead of the center.
Just as important as your physical conditioning is how mentally tough you are. So if you want to be surfing the same waves that you hear about from other surfers, you are going to have to consider the toll it will have on your body and mind.
Factors & Traits That Affect Your Learning
The factors that will affect your ability to learn are the size of the waves, the consistency of your training, your ability to swim, what you understand about surfing, and if you have the right gear.
While those factors mentioned above will decide how long you need to practice before you can surf, there are specific traits you need to have if you want to do well:
Power, Strength, and Endurance
When you paddle out onto the water on your surfboard, you need to have your balance at all times if you don't want to wipe out so you will be focusing on different physical activities at the same time.
Some people who don't have experience surfing underestimate how much you will have to paddle. That is what you'll be doing when you are coming down from a wave and if you are riding waves, you aren't going to catch many if you're on the shoreline. You will have to go deep if you want to ride waves. You also will paddle when you are trying to straighten out yourself after a wave.
You will need stamina especially if you spend over an hour in the water without taking a break. You can't rest in the water because you don't know when a wave might suddenly show up.
There will be some discomfort when you surf like getting knocked off your board and you'll need to be strong to recover.
Flexibility and Agility
It's been mentioned a few times that surfing will require a lot of effort and conditioning.
Since you can't always predict how calm or rough the waves will be, you need to be ready the whole time you are in the water. You will be trying to keep your balance on a board that will be going up and down walls of water and the last thing you want to do is be knocked off your board when you are in deep water.
Speed will also play a part because when a wave comes, you're going to have to transition from a sitting position to a standing position if you want to experience the full thrill of riding waves.
In addition to changing from sitting to standing when waves get rough, you also need to make sure your board is straight as much as possible and you may have to correct your board when a big wave is followed by a smaller wave.
If you want to be safe then you should not try surfing until you are completely sure of your abilities to handle anything that comes your way.
If you aren't willing to learn or you're scared of possibly getting knocked off your board then you should not take up surfing. How can you handle a big wave if you don't even like smaller ones? If you don't like getting caught up in waves of any size, you are not going to be successful at surfing.
Is surfing the hardest sport to learn? No, because other sports are tougher to master. But if somebody asks: How long does it take to learn to surf? There is no universal answer and some people will be able to learn, some people won't be able to learn. It all depends on the person and how badly the person wants to surf.
Also of Interest:
- Surfing Wetsuits: A Buyers Guide
- Why Wear a Wetsuit While Surfing?
- Top 10 Surf Tips for Girls and Women
- Differences between Scuba Wetsuits and Surf Suits