When taking up surfing, getting out on the waves seems like the most pressing thing to do. You want to feel the surf on your skin and the board beneath your feet, for how can you learn and improve your surfing skills without practice? You buy your first board and swim out with hopes and dreams of surfing with the best of them only to nosedive over and over.
Unsure why you failed, you leave the sea soaked to the bone and demoralised. You might even hang up your wetsuit because you obviously don’t have the skills to succeed, right? No, you’re just unprepared. Keep that board in hand and read on for 7 Mistakes Beginner Surfers Often Make and how to avoid them yourself:
#1: Board Size Matters
While you may have lofty aspirations, you need to make sure you choose a board suited to your skill level, not your ego. Boards too large for your abilities will be hard to balance and easily flip out. Get professional advice, to be sure your board is appropriate for your height, weight, skill and the waves you’re likely to experience, or you’ll just get washed up again.
#2: Going In Cold
Surfing is a sport and as such, throwing yourself into a round without warming up properly is an easy way to pull a muscle out on the waves. Not only is this painful, it’s dangerous and could be fatal. Take the time to stretch and warm up before going into the waves, even if they’re small. If you don’t, it could be your last dip for a while.
#3: Practice Makes Perfect
“Before taking on the waves, be sure to practice your pop-ups and balance on dry land. It’s easier to commit the motions to muscle memory and practice managing your weight and timing on solid ground over the unpredictable fluidity of waves,” explains Lora A. Spurgeon, a writer at Assignment Help and UK Top Writers. You’ll be thankful for developed reflexes in a pinch out on open water and are more likely to succeed with practice under your belt.
#4: Perfect Strokes
Something many beginner surfers forget is that they’ll be spending a lot of time in the water as well as on it. Making sure you’re a proficient, strong swimmer and practicing different strokes, breathing techniques and floating will always benefit a surfer.
#5: Improper Technique
Research and practice techniques you’ll need on the waves, in particular your pop up technique. Grabbing the sides of your board during pop up usually has shaky results and results in a whiteout, as does the mistake of falling to a knee. Instead, position your hands properly on the board and practice before going into the sea.
#6: Posture Problems
Once up and surfing, it’s always tempting to bend forward at the waist. “This is guaranteed to cause a whiteout because you’re misplacing your centre of gravity, changing the position of your stance and ultimately, tipping the board forward. Instead, remain straight and let your knees do the work, channeling any changes through your feet,” says Craig C. Reyes, a surfing blogger at State Of Writing and Ukservicesreviews.
#7: Look Toward Success
Our eyesight is our strongest sense when it comes to guiding our bodies. As such, if you want to surf down the length of a break rather than ride the crest until there’s nothing but seafoam left, you need to look where you want to go rather than straight ahead. This is known as “looking down the line” and guides your trajectory instinctively, once implemented.
Bonus: Effective Board Care Tips
On the ocean, your board is an extension of your body. Off the water, you need to treat it well to keep it that way. Keeping your board in good condition is another important part of success in surfing. Quick tips to remember when caring for your board include
- Wax your board properly and thoroughly. This will reduce drag experienced in the water. It also protects the board from water damage, and keeps the wood looking its best.
- Carry your board above sand rather than drag it through, as this can ruin your wax and damage parts of the board important for wave hydrodynamics and stability.
- Store your board properly to shelter it from the elements, maintain condition and prevent damage to the wood. You should always wax your board after use to assist this.