Surfing Starter Tips
Taking surfing sort of seriously at 25 year old has had its pros and cons.
Pros: I am finally incorporating this sport into my lifestyle.
Cons: Attempting to catch up with everyone else can be tough at times.
Here are a few tips that I would recommend to new surfers, or people who are interested in picking up surfing as a dedicated hobby:
Seek out a surf instructor or someone to lead you the way — Researching your first surfing learning experience is key. If you are not open to learning by yourself, you need to respect your instructor and be willing to always take their advice. Asking around your community, and letting people know that you’re interested in surfing is always helpful. If you want to learn about the day that I got hooked on surfing, check out my previous blog: Living in Color.
Be carefree — Yoga and Surfing usually go hand in hand for many reasons. These two activities are focused around taking a break from the outside world, relaxing, and becoming judgement free. These are also additional reasons why surfers and yogis form such a tight and welcoming community.
Learn the etiquette — “These rules are not so much “rules” as they are a proper code of conduct designed to keep everyone in the water safe. People who repeatedly break these rules are often given the stink-eye, a stern talking to, yelled at with obscenities, or just flat out beat up.…”. Wahine Kai couldn’t have said it any better! Being knowledgable of surf etiquette is probably the most important thing to learn if you want to dedicate some serious time to this sport. From dropping in on someone else’s wave, to leaving thrash behind—you want to make sure you’re being respectful of everyone’s time in the water, and not be thinking about yourself the entire time. The beach was made for EVERYONE to share!
Find a surfing friend — If you live near a surf town, there’s an 80% chance that you’ll find someone who shares the same interests and hobbies as you. I decided to join an all women’s surf club, that way I am always guaranteed to have someone to surf with. I also made 3 friends in Encinitas who keep me accountable to surf every Sunday with them.
Trust your skill level — If you’re barely learning how to pop up on a Wavestorm, The Wedge should not be your beach of choice. Never compare your surfing skills to others because if you’re a perfectionist, it will take your mind away from the peaceful aspect of it… I’ve learned from my mistakes!
Find the perfect board for you — Don’t rush on transition to a shorter board until you’re fully comfortable with the basics! During my surf shop days, I saw many people purchase a board because of the design or the “cool” shape of it. If you’re using that board as an art piece, there’s nothing wrong with that. However, if you’re trying to use that “locally shaped 5’ board” to learn on… I would personally recommend reselling / returning it for one that fits your skill level more.
Learn how to surf solo — If you’re a local at a certain beach, don't be afraid of going for a solo surf! If there are other fellow surfers in the water or a lifeguard present, and if you understand the flow of the ocean at that beach; you should be okay by yourself!
Be patient — Admiring the more experienced surfers at the lineup and watching them do their thing is often frustrating, specially when you’re BARELY in the beginning stages. Don’t let that get to you! If you keep constantly practicing I am sure you’ll get to their level one day, or maybe even surpass them!
Research beginner welcoming beaches — Looking for your perfect beginner surf break could be a challenge when surrounded by advanced short board claimed beaches. Again, do your research and ask around!
Buy a plastic tub from a convenience store — This item might sound basic… but maaaaan, it comes in handy! A tub is the perfect place to store your wetsuit, half dried bikini, and recently used towel—if you don’t have enough room to air out your surf essentials near by, please do yourself a favor and place everything in a closed compartment or your car WILL smell like a wet dog. The plastic tub can also be reused as a washing bucket which is a major plus!
Build a surf kit — Putting together my own surf kit is probably one of my favorite parts of my journey. By surf kit I mean, a collection of items that will make your surfing experience better, and wrapping up your sessions way smoother.
Find your air freshener of choice — I have a very sensitive sense of smell which is why I always keep an air freshener in my car.
Here are some of my favorite ones:
Mr Zog’s Original Sex Wax — Their Coconut one is my go to, and probably the best air freshener of all time.
Sticky Bumps — Their Coconut or Blueberry, you see a pattern here?
It’s not an air freshener, but I love applying my Sun Bum sunscreen in my car as I wait for my friends to arrive to the beach. I prefer to apply it there vs the parking lot so the beachy tropical smell sticks around my car for a little while.
Reap the benefits — This lifestyle has endless benefits that I am still benefiting from 3 months later! From it being one of the best activities you could put your body through; surfing has gotten me on track to a healthier lifestyle, has encouraged me to travel, and most importantly, it controls my anxiety.