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January 03, 2021 7 min read

Surfing is performed in an unpredictable environment and the surfing conditions are challenging. It takes really long to master the skills and even after 10 years into surfing, you may need to keep learning. It's a vigorous sport that challenges your strength and stamina at many levels. One of these could be getting caught under huge waves. If you are not thoroughly trained for the situation, it can leave you traumatized. But that's where the fun and excitement lie. In this post, we will discuss whether surfing is hard and how to surf. 


Is Surfing Hard?

Surfing is a special sport that's not exactly hard but difficult to master. As a beginner and intermediate-level surfing enthusiast, you may come to the point of thinking to quit it. But perseverance and persistence pay off as you start to find a way with the water and your surfing board.


Once you have started practicing surfing, you experience a kind of pure joy and freedom that's unique to this sport. Here, you are pushing yourself to learn how to ride the ocean's waves. It has got to be an experience of a kind.


In this post, we will discuss how to learn surfing. But before we do that, let's be sure about one thing: it's not an easy sport to learn and master. You will need years' of sustained practice and hard work to stay afloat and ride the high tides of the oceans on your surfing board.


That said, we must also tell you that with practice and hard work, you can do it: You can surf the ocean waves like a pro. Anyone can do it.


How to Get Started

You need so many instructions as a beginner surfer that you can't get started all by yourself. You will need an instructor or guide to give you the basic set of instructions and all the useful tips for getting started. However, in the post, we will deal with all the important issues that can make an impact on your learning and surfing experience. 


Size of the Board

To start surfing as a beginner, you need a bigger size surfing board. At this stage, you will require a board that has more length and volume to catch and keep contact with the waves. It's absolutely cool to start on a nine-foot longboard that is easy and stable to paddle and ride. When you start with a longboard, you can have better practice trying to ride the wave and pop up. When you have gained some skill, you can progress to having a more serious board.




The different board options are as following:


Shortboard: This is the shortest possible surfing board. You can use this when your surfing skills are highly reliable. It's designed for larger waves with high speed and faster turns.


Mini Tanker: These boards can be 5 to 8 feet long. They are easy to paddle and maneuver. 

Gun: These are 7 feet or longer and can be used for big-wave surfing.


Longboards: These boards are nine feet or even longer. These can be used for learning, classic style surfing, and even high-performance longboarding.


All these boards can have single or multiple fins that determine the maneuverability.


Other Gear
Surfing does not require too many gears. Apart from the boards, you need just a few more things. Here is what else you need:

Swimsuit: You will need a swimsuit to keep you protected from sunburns, and also a wetsuit to offer your protection in cold climates.


Leash: You need a leash the size of your board. It should put it on the back ankle. 


Wax: You will need it to prevent you from slipping. You should apply it to the area where you are going to stand while riding.


Physical Strength Matters

Surfing is a demanding sport and you need to be in good physical shape to be able to paddle to the wave, surf, and swim when thrown off the board. You are exposed to an open sea when waves are high. Popping up on the surfboard and keeping your balance during surfing requires a great deal of physical strength and effort.


How to Paddle?

Paddling is an important aspect of surfing. It enables you to get to the waves before you try to pop up and get along with the wave. For being able to paddle, you need to lie down on the surfboard. You need to maintain balance to be able to do so. Chances are that you may put too much weight on the nose or the tail. In either case, the board will go below the water level. It will take practice for some time before you could distribute your weight evenly on the board and be ready to peddle.


Once you are able to lie down on the board and keep balance, you should move a little downward to let the tip of the surfboard rise a little. Keep your chest up, and elbow at a 90-degree angle with the surfboard. Keep your legs and feet together and stay centered on the board. Now, let one hand paddle at a time and complete the round taking the hand back as far as it can go.


How to Learn Surfing: Prerequisites

Mental Coordination

To be a good surfer, more than anything else you need to train your mind to coordinate the different raw elements of nature - oceans, waves, and winds, to be precise. Over time, you develop a mental balance that runs through your body with amazing spontaneity. That's an incredibly rewarding experience. But before you get there, there are a great many challenges and complexities to overcome.


Have Patience

This is not a sport that you can master in a few classes or sessions at the ocean. It can take from weeks to years depending on the kind of proficiency and expertise you are aiming to attain. Surfing conditions are always unique as they involve the wild side of the oceanic environment. You need a lot of the first-hand experience to be able to catch a good wave. It would involve learning how to read the waves.


As a surfer, you are going to encounter unique sizes and styles of waves every time you hit the beaches with your surfing-board. You don't always find the right time to surf and you must be adept at identifying the time when it is. Surfing is a sport that requires you to dedicate time in good measure.


Be Ready to Face Wipeouts

In surfing lingo, wipeout means being thrown off the surfing board by the waves. As a beginner and intermediate-level surfer, you should be ready to face wipeouts. It happens in snowboarding as well but soon you get the hang of it and you are good to go, never to fall on your butt again. But it is not so surfing. You are going to fall and encounter wipeouts frequently as you try to surf as a beginner.


Instead of taking this as your failure and trying hard not to fall, you should be ready to give time to the sport and be patient with your learning. Take it as part of the learning and let wipeouts happen until you slowly learn how to adapt to the surfing environment. It should not surprise you that even advanced-level surfers encounter wipeouts frequently. The surfer in you should be able to accept this as you are trying to ride the mighty ocean waves.


Wipeouts can keep you underwater for a considerable period of time, and it can be scary and traumatic for a beginner. You need to learn to keep your composure and regain your relaxed breathing after a wipeout.


To this end, here are a few tips for you: 

  • Let your butt fall first
  • Don't struggle hard for the surface
  • Try to understand the underwater environment
  • Cover your face and head
  • Stay calm and do meditative breathing
  • Take control of your board once you are on the surface


For a beginner, it's natural to have fear and a sense of helplessness. But by learning how to control your mind, you can keep the stress under control and conserve the oxygen for a longer period.  


Surf in Your Comfort Zone

As a surfer, you need to learn to identify the right kind of waves and other circumstances for you to go out on the water. You also need to assess your current abilities before you head into the water. Make sure the surfing conditions are safe for you and your team.


Trying to catch waves that do not come in your skill range can end up in fiascos such as running into another person or a broken board. Before venturing into the water, spend some time reading the overall conditions including the waves. 


As a beginner, you should choose the beaches where the waves are smaller and less crowded.


Final Thoughts

To answer "how to surf?", we must say that you would need an instructor or a guide to give a full set of instructions and tips to get started and practice safely. That said you would need to spend a good deal of time on the water. To be able to practice freely, you should choose a beach that's not overcrowded and also where the waves are not too huge. Good health and a high degree of physical fitness are also necessary for being successful at surfing. Is surfing hard? It is but it can be learned and mastered with practice.


Also of Interest: 



Liz H.
Liz H.

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